Interview With Balance Festival Founder Ludovic Rossignol-Isanovic
If you’re a fan of everything wellness related, chances are you would have heard of Balance Festival. Founded in 2017 by Ludovic Rossignol-Isanovic, Balance brings the trailblazers in the health, fitness and wellness industries together for one fun-filled weekend in London. 2019 was Get A Drip’s first time at Balance and after experiencing the buzz of the festival first hand, we wanted to talk to Ludovic about the impact the festival has had on the wellness industry, the best business advice he’s ever received and how we can all live a more balanced life.
How has Balance festival grown and changed since the first festival back in 2017?
Balance Festival was born out of a dream to create an all-encompassing health and wellness festival focused on four pillars: food, fitness, wellness and travel. These elements, when balanced, represent our optimal version of achieving health and wellness. However, it’s only now that we’re truly starting to accomplish our vision. Year 1 was very much focused around fitness and food; now we’ve doubled exhibitor numbers, we’ve got a much more inclusive wellness programme and some really strong collaborations with travel brands.
It’s also become much more than just an event. Thanks to our Balance Journal, the Balance Edit and Balance TV, Balance Festival has become an authoritative voice in wellness industry with a highly engaged, organically grown audience.
What challenges did you experience when first trying to get exhibitors and brands on board?
It’s always a “chicken and egg” problem when you create a new event – you must build people’s trust, and while people tend to be willing to support great ideas, they don’t necessarily want to commit in the first year. It’s probably why so many small businesses fail in their first 12 months of trading. You’ve got to create a snowball effect first.
What impact do you think Balance Festival has on the wellness industry?
I believe we’ve made a positive impact on our community. We’ve been inspiring consumers to live healthily. Balance has been a catalyst for growth for the industry as a whole.
What sets Balance apart from other wellness festivals?
The fact that it’s built from a genuine commitment and desire to inspire people to live more healthily, and that this purpose statement continues to underpin the festival and everything we do as a team. I went through my own wellness revolution in 2012 after a sports injury and got hooked on fitness and wellness from there, so I designed an event that I would have wanted to attend myself.
The fact that Balance came in response a genuine problem is something you can feel when you attend the festival and when you talk to the people who come; afterwards, they tell us how much confidence the event gave them and how much it inspired them to embrace change. We get to see the positive impact that it has on people’s lives here in London, in the South East and nationwide.
What are the next steps for Balance? Where do you see the brand going within the next 5 years?
We’re always aiming to expand, to have more to offer and we’ve got big plans to take Balance Festival to new locations – I can’t say too much about that right now, but it’s a really exciting prospect.
In the meantime, we know that a big part of living a more fulfilling life comes from within, so we’ll be producing more content aimed at providing people with the right tools and knowledge to assist in their self-development – this covers everything from sleep to relationships, careers, mental health, fitness, wellness and travel.
We’re also really excited to launch our B2B arm, Futureminded. Our first event in October celebrates next generation brands pioneering a revolution within their own categories – wellness, food, fitness, travel, beauty and tech – like many of the brands that we have at Balance Festival. We’ll be holding masterclasses with some amazing individuals, including Ibrahim Ibrahim of Portland Design, Megan van Someren of Canteen Consulting and Communications Trainer Amy Tez.
We’ll also be releasing our latest research project, produced in partnership with Allegra Strategies, which looks at the megatrends shaping the future of the UK wellness industry.
Any major learning curves? What would you have done differently when you first started?
To be honest, everything we’ve done has been part of the process and any mistakes we’ve made have been part of that. We wouldn’t be where we are without them, but we’re still making baby steps and this is just the beginning of our journey.
However, I would say that Balance Festival was designed to help anyone start their wellness revolution, but in reality it’s attracted an already converted crowd and so we created a niche without intending to. Wellness is everywhere and definitely a megatrend, but as a whole the industry can still be quite exclusive and price sensitivity can be a barrier to entry.
As an industry, we need to make wellness more mainstream to be able to grow, without losing our authenticity and aspirational brand positioning. It’s a big challenge!
Best business advice you’ve ever received?
Dedicate your life to something you love and you’ll never work again in your life.
How can we all live a more Balanced life?
By remembering that we’re all individual and there’s no one size fits all, so your wellness journey needs to be about you. It might take a bit of trial and error to find out what works for you, but it all starts with stepping outside your comfort zone and overcoming that initial fear. This could be trying a new workout, picking a challenge to train for or attending a workshop about something you know nothing about. Ironically, you might need to unbalance your current routine to find your own balance!