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Bougeotte & Placotine: Establishing a brand and a concept

Entrepreneur’s corner | May 25 2021

Bougeotte & Placotine has been operating in Québec since 2012, and established a presence in Montréal in 2019 to fill the void that existed in the area of perinatal physical fitness services. The first franchisee in the City, Marie-Soleil Durand, explains the company’s mission and tells us how she got started.

Considering how much is changing in their lives, fitness training is not something we usually associate with soon-to-be mothers or women who have recently given birth. Fitness centres don’t always have health professionals who focus on this clientele, and the available services are not always adapted to their needs.

Recognizing this void led to the creation of the specialized Bougeotte & Placotine centres in Québec City at the beginning of the 2010s. The business offers thematic activities for new and future mothers: postnatal re-education and getting back in shape, abdominal stabilization, yoga for mothers, pushing your stroller, initiation/return to running, weight training and running for mothers, prenatal yoga, belly ball, mixed belly training, etc. All activities are led by kinesiologists and certified yoga instructors, and are specifically adapted to proper physical activity requirements during maternity.

A total of some forty semi-private group courses are held every week for women in every stage of pregnancy and for postnatal mothers. Bougeotte & Placotine also focuses on their mental and moral wellness by providing access to workshops on topics such as childbirth, breastfeeding, sleep, infant motor development, etc.

An instant success

Building on the popularity that the business enjoyed right from the opening of its first location in Québec City (Sillery), they opened two other locations in the region in 2015 and 2017, and later opened franchises outside of Québec City, including the Maisonneuve-Rosemont location in Montréal and another in Sherbrooke.

Bougeotte & Placotine Maisonneuve-Rosemont made its debut in the Angus district in January 2019. It appears to have been just what the doctor ordered, because after the very first year, the franchise was offering a full schedule of 43 courses per session, with an average of 250 memberships.

A pregnant woman who wants to remain active should be referred to kinesiologists that specialize in her condition.

Marie-Soleil Durand, Kinesiologist and Franchise Owner of the Maisonneuve-Rosemont location, was not surprised by this success. “When an active woman gets pregnant, the first questions she asks herself are: ‘What type of training can I do during my pregnancy?’, ‘When can I get back to physical activity after I give birth?’, ‘Where am I going to go to train now?’ and ‘Where can I stay active during my pregnancy and after giving birth?". However, if she doesn’t find the answers, she risks becoming demotivated and remaining sedentary during her pregnancy. On the other hand, it has been scientifically proven that a woman who is active during the first trimester of pregnancy minimizes the risk of gestational and foetal complications.”

Clinical expertise

Marie-Soleil mentions scientific documentation because her entire method is based on the evolution of medical knowledge surrounding activity and maternity. Moreover, she is also interested in clinical research within the context of her field of expertise, with a view to increasing the practice of physical activity among pregnant women in order to reduce the risk of complications during pregnancy.

This clinical expertise is at the very core of the approach adopted by Bougeotte & Placotine. “We are constantly monitoring the progress of the mother-to-be, because we don’t offer the same type of training to a woman who is just beginning her pregnancy as we do to a woman who is nearing her delivery date and is feeling pain everywhere.”

We personalize all of our interventions as much as possible, because no two pregnancies are identical.

Keeping up with scientific advances also increases Marie-Soleil Durand’s credibility when she meets with doctors and gynecologists with a view to Bougeotte & Placotine Maisonneuve-Rosemont becoming a potential reference in the Montréal region. “When a child is sick, the doctor recommends that the parents follow up at a specialized institution like Ste-Justine Hospital rather than a general hospital. By the same logic, a pregnant woman who wants to remain active should be referred to kinesiologists that specialize in her condition. We also work closely with medical specialists in a variety of fields in cases of incontinence, pelvic problems or other similar irritants.”

Overcoming idleness and isolation

Given the fact that isolation is a frequent phenomenon among mothers-to-be, the business also acquired a location for gatherings and socializing. The young entrepreneur explains: “The Bougeotte & Placotine experience also includes offering mothers a warm and friendly place. It is our hope that the women who come here would want to stay for a while after their course to have a smoothie and chat with other clients.”

Of course, the desire to provide a place for gathering and sharing was dealt a serious blow in March 2020, when social distancing and confinement measures were introduced. Despite the setback, Sarah Baribeau, Founder and Franchisee of Bougeotte & Placotine, went back to the drawing board with her team. The result was that there are now approximately twenty live and pre-recorded courses and workshops available via the Zoom platform.

“There is no question that Bougeotte & Placotine had to modify its original concept during the pandemic. On the other hand, we continue to help pregnant women and new mothers stay active remotely.”

How PME MTL made a difference for Bougeotte & Placotine

“I contacted PME MTL when I was developing my business plan. The assistance that I received from these remarkable individuals was invaluable. Ever since then, whenever I come across entrepreneurs, I urge them to contact PME MTL. One of their greatest assets is that they get us to constantly question everything, which helps to avoid complacency and looking at the world through rose-coloured glasses. In fact, their team got me into the habit of considering the worst case scenario, so that I would be able to deal with it if it happened. At the end of the day, the financial aspect has become the least important element in my relationship with PME MTL, because I have received so much support and coaching in terms of the advice they provide. My franchise had only been in operation for fifteen months when the pandemic hit, so I have called PME MTL many times to lower my stress level, make the necessary adjustments and ask about available assistance.”

Bougeotte & Placotine Maisonneuve-Rosemont is supported by PME MTL Centre-Est

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