When Manish Vakil opened his own franchise of Tumbles kids’ gyms in 2005, he didn’t think he would go on to buy the entire organization nearly a decade later in 2014. Though he originally considered purchasing the brand of children’s gyms and STEAM education centers for the potential financial benefit that owning a series of franchises could bring, it was Tumbles’ mission — ending childhood obesity and fostering positive values in children — that ultimately convinced Vakil to purchase the organization.
Ending childhood obesity is indeed an ambitious mission, but a vital one, nonetheless. Vakil and his team of franchisees are proud to undertake this mission across their five current franchise locations, with no less than four more scheduled to open by the end of 2021.
200 Franchises by His 50th Birthday
But now, seven years after becoming Tumbles’s brand owner and CEO, the 44-year-old Vakil is ready to launch two even bigger undertakings to help the Tumbles community accomplish its audacious mission; to have 200 Tumbles franchises launched in six years’ time to coincide with his 50th birthday, and to launch a Tumbles non-profit organization — both to help tackle the Tumbles’ mission of ending childhood obesity by shaping the minds and bodies of the future.
“If our team really wants to make a difference in contributing to the end of child obesity,” Vakil says, “Tumbles will need more locations in order to reach more communities, especially in regions of the world where children need the most help.”
Those regions Vakil mentions are also some of the world’s most at-need communities in regards to childhood obesity and access to physical education. For instance, as of 2016, nearly 1 in 3 children in the Pacific regions that include the Cook Islands, American Samoa, and Palau are medically considered “obese.”
In areas of the Caribbean and the Middle East, over 1 in 5 children are medically considered obese, as well. These communities are ones that could prove to benefit the most from Vakil’s goal of opening a non-profit arm of the Tumbles organization because, in Vakil’s own words, “health and wellness should not be dictated by your wallet.”
Global Development During a Pandemic
While Vakil’s ambitious expansion goals for Tumbles may seem hectic to some given the worldwide-reaching impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Vakil and his team of franchisees have not only endured the impact but also have thrived amidst it, partnering with local networks of like-minded individuals in Qatar and Ghana to open Tumbles locations in both regions.
Because of Tumbles’s lean business model, Vakil’s current existing team is equipped to handle roughly 40 global franchise locations. His goal to expand the franchise to 200 units or more in six years means that Tumbles will have to grow their team four or five times over, with every new core hire and franchisee aligning their mindset to one of growth as well as the core values of the Tumbles mission.
“With every Tumbles partner, we need to be sure that they believe in our mission just as much as we do,” says Vakil, explaining that Tumbles looks for how every new potential partner or franchisee they interview has worked — or is currently working — to better their own local communities prior to joining the Tumbles family.
Vakil adds that, “Working with the people local to your community shows us that you have a vested interest,” and it is that vested interest that can help Vakil, Tumbles, and the company’s team not only launch a nonprofit arm of the organization, but continue growing its franchise locations around the world to meet Vakil’s goal of at least 200 locations by the end of 2027.
Not every franchisee or partner of Tumbles needs past experience working in the children’s space to join their team. In fact, Vakil will be the first to tell you that a majority of the company’s partners came on board with zero experience in the space at all. Instead, Vakil and his core team focus on the quality traits and values inherently possessed by new potential partners and franchisees — values which are transparently listed on their website, along with the seven key steps necessary to take in the path to becoming the owner of a Tumbles franchise.
Yes, a 10- or 20-fold increase in corporate growth in less than 10 years’ time is a daunting milestone for any business to achieve; however, between Vakil’s ambition, the like-minded mentality of his team and partners, and the transparency outlined in the process used by Tumbles in creating each new franchise location, Vakil’s goal to expand Tumbles to 200 locations by his 50th birthday may not truly be as daunting an undertaking as it seems.