Make: Welcome Keighty Gallagher, of Tight Club. Thanks for dropping by the studio. We are so stoked to see tightclubathletics.com in action. All of us have been so happy working on it. We got to flex our creative muscles, think outside the box–then jump outside the box, and lunge outside the box a little bit.
Tell us a bit about Tight Club Athletics for the unfortunate soul who doesn’t already know how awesome you are.
Keighty Gallagher: My name is Keighty Gallagher and I started Tight Club 3 years ago last month.
M: Wow! So it’s your 3 year anniversary?
KG: Yeah! And it started off so simply. It was just every Friday at noon at Andy Livingston park with some of the people I worked with at the Alibi Room. We would come together and work out and the whole deal was that I had to make it feel like it wasn’t a work out. So I had to make sure it was fun and balanced, and I had to make sure that I was keeping it safe because some people were active, but others hadn’t touched their running shoes in years. So that was my challenge. I just wanted to think outside the box and make fitness seem a little more fun.
M: Can you give us an example of the creative ways that you got people to exercise?
KG: Yeah (laughs) I remember one time I went out and bought 10-15 jugs of water and hauled them to the field one Friday morning and the theme of the workout was the “Drug Smuggler”! Everyone had a partner and you had to somehow get this jug around the field in several different scenarios–it was heavily narrated. Ha ha!
I put hours into my narration to make these training workouts to get you in a different mindset. We started from Canada then moved down to the US and Mexico, smuggling drugs and back. It was light-hearted. We weren’t smuggling bad drugs, just the good ones.
M: I also recall you mentioning a Zombie Apocalypse theme that you did. Can you tell us a little more about that?
KG: Yeah, the workout was a Zombie Apocalypse theme inspired by The Walking Dead. Each stage of the workout was built around the idea that the zombies were coming closer and we had to be more fit, and more fit. It actually worked out perfectly because at one o’clock, all of a sudden, two huge busses filled with kids came and it was right at the end of the workout when I was like, “Alright everybody, this is it, the zombies are coming they’re crawling over the fences!” and we actually looked, and there were about 200 kids jumping the fences to get on the field. It was pretty funny. I remember making up names for exercises: instead of the “bear crawl” it was the “zombie slide”. I was just trying to replace gym-words with fun-words.
M: Yeah, because working out doesn’t have to be singularly gym-focused.
KG: There were some pretty fun themes in the day (laughs).
M: So that was a nice little snapshot of the beginnings of Tight Club. Can you talk a little bit about where you are now? You’ve evolved so much over the past 3 years, in the number of classes that you offer and the collabs you’ve created in the community.
KG: I cannot believe that we are here. I remember that when we first started someone asked me, “Hey, do you want to open a studio?” and I said, “Hmmmmm, no I don’t think so. I think I want to work at the Ailbi for the rest of my life and maybe teach one class.”
And it’s been amazing, I can probably say that one of the kickstarts of getting where I am today was making friends with Jean Okada, the head designer from Lululemon lab. She saw a little sparkle in Tight Club and that was the beginning of the first major collaboration that we did. We launched a video and we had a big photoshoot and we designed a new clothing line, dedicated to and inspired-by Tight Club, and a killer launch party. I think that brought a lot of eyes to the brand, from an awareness perspective. We saw changes in measurable things like the Tight Club instagram, which grew by a couple thousand. It felt like this thing was happening.
After that, I’ve been extremely inspired by the Nike Training App–I feel like I’ve always been so connected to that brand and so I reached out and last year we established a relationship as “friends of Nike”. Ever since then, classes are filling up. I remember for the first time my class was FULL–that was pretty cool–and then there was a wait list. Last year I decided to invest in an online sign-up technology, mind-body, and that just made me feel so legit and so confident that I could play in same playing field as the major yoga studios, major gyms, and fitness organizations in the city. And every year, my goal is to be more legit and to play at that level while still maintaining that Tight Club vibe.
So we’re here today, and last month I launched a pop-up shop for 8 days at This Open Space, and got to practice what it’s like to be in a studio in Chinatown.
M: What was that experience like?
KG: It was rad working with This Open Space, which is a pop-up company. They help support and foster the growth of anyone who is renting their space. The pop-up was at 434 East Cordova in Chinatown, which worked perfectly because I liked the idea of keeping Tight Club close to home and it was a little bit bigger than the Coach House and we were able to offer more room for more people. I just invested in a bunch of new toys for people to play with so that was fun! We’ve got new Bosu balls for everyone, new slam balls for everyone…
M: Yeah, slam balls! I love me a good slam.
KG: Right?! Who doesn’t love a good slam. We built plyometric boxes that also served as benches and a storage area. And we just picked up our clothing line last month. . .
KG: It’s just printed clothing, but it’s still like, if you wanna wear something Tight Club, I’ve got something for you!
M: Sweet! I want a hoodie!
KG: We have the hoodies, and t-shirts, a long sleeve t-shirt which is dope, and tanks. Also, a really cool thing, we also just did a collab with the Juice Truck and Nice Night. So Nice Night, they are a creative events company and they have helped us produce the campaign around our Juice collaboration. So my partner Henry did the bottle design and Nice Night has produced a video, a photo shoot and are helping to put on the event on the night of. Juice Truck and I have created a pre- and post workout line. The pre-juice is called Zero to 100 and the post-recovery juice is called the Catch-up–and it’s a direct reference to a Drake song. They are still available at the Juice Truck shop and at Strike Mvmnt in gastown, for a limited time only. Laughs
M: Awesome! Now I want to chat with you about your new website, that has also launched at tightclubathletics.com
KG: Awww, so good!
M: Can you tell us what you’re most excited about with the new site?
KG: There is not one thing–there are at least 5 things. First off, being given the opportunity to work with a local design agency has been amazing. It started off with Sarah Tesla coming and participating in a Tight Life. It started from square one: Make knows Tight Club as well as anyone who has been with Tight Club forever. So I feel really connected to the company knowing that the website is a direct reference to what Tight Club is. They’ve lived it.
M: We’ve been doing the burpees.
KG: Exactly. That’s one thing I’m super proud of. And also, everyone featured on my website is a real human and is a member of Tight Club. There is no stock photography. Everyone is real. Everyone is a Tight Clubber. I love that! And I love being able to share that with people.
The artwork that Ali Bruce did are sooooo good. Just getting my people together in order to come up with this amazing website is what I’m stoked for.
Seamless integration to sign up for a class. If you saw my old website it was very clunky and that was one of the biggest technological advancements with this website is that it’s so easy to use, it’s so easy to understand. It’s clear and awesome.
M: It’s so clean and so functional I feel like there is some kind of grace. It’s like with your workouts. They are always so well thought-out, there is a natural flow and I think the website parallels that: there’s a cohesive theme going on. We were all so stoked to be working on this site and stoked to be working with you. So thank you for being a rad client.
So lots of thing to celebrate, the pop-up shop! Your 3 year anniversary, new website! It’s incredible. What you’ve accomplished and what you’ve created in 3 years in kind of exceptional.
KG: I’m so lucky to have a boyfriend who is very patient.
M: So props to Henry Barros.
KG: Yeah, Hen Doggy! Also, our next Tight Life Challenge is coming up starting February 14th – March 8th. Yeah!