This is How Steve Mululu Plans to Build SA’s Next Fitness Empire

Updated on 19 August 2016

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This is how Steve Mululu plans to build SA's next fitness empireDream Body Fitness (DBF) founder Steve Mululu is working to build a local fitness empire, this is as South Africa’s fitness industry and culture continues to go from strength to strength.

In 2015 South Africa’s health and fitness industry had a revenue of $931 33 million, according to Statistics Portal, the highest in Africa.

Kenyan-born Mululu who has over 16 years of experience in the fitness industry is taking advantage of an eager market and the timing couldn’t be better.

With 3 500 registered members since it launched in 2012, DBF which is located in the Johannesburg suburb of Sunninghill, is looking to grab a sizeable share of the market by offering innovative services and products, and are creating a strong brand that goes beyond just a gym in the process.

Currently DBF’s gym membership is growing at a rate of 25% monthly, says Mululu.


Top: The DBF gym. Below: (left) The DBF nutrition range and
branded clothing range.

Strategic growth

Mululu describes DBF as a high performance centre. Aside from traditional gym equipment they also offer karate, swimming, a boxing club, yoga and Pilates.

DBF is also well-known for its strict 12 week nutrition programme that all new members undergo.

Mululu says they distinguish themselves by offering services that clients won’t get anywhere else, this includes personalised training and support and a focus on both fitness and nutrition.

This is how they have successfully secured their client base, Mululu says. This strategy has seen the gym grow. From a team of five employees including MululuDBF now has over 50 employees.

Taking advantage of new markets

DBF’s success required a holistic approach, says Mululu, that involves among other strategies: aggressive marketing and creatively pursuing new markets to expand their reach beyond the training facility.

An example of this is their venture into corporate and children wellness.

Their corporate programme focuses on increasing employee productivity – especially as workers are exposed to increasingly stressful work places and longer hours. The programme teaches the importance of physical strength and wellness as a competitive advantage that increases productivity, says Mululu.

Similarly, DBF has plans to soon introduce a children’s gym programme. This is an effort to help fight childhood obesity – as much as 80% of overweight children become overweight adults, says Mululu.

DBF is also looking to attract clients who wouldn’t otherwise consider joining a gym.

“People look at gym from a weight loss point of view” says Mululu. “When somebody is thin automatically they have no need to look for gym,” says Mululu.

To change this perception, Mululu and his team have designed exercise programmes that focus on health and fitness rather than weight loss – this emphasis on wellness rather than weight loss has also allowed them to attract a wider market.

Crafting a strong brand

DBF is also putting it’s stamp on everything from their branded merchandise and supplements and even a restaurant.

The Dream Body Cafe located inside the gym serves clients health focused foods from sit down meals, frozen meals and on-the-go snacks.

Last year they also introduced a range of protein shakes, Dream Body Nutrition, which Mululu says serves to supplement their clients’ diet.

They also have a range of branded merchandise that includes hoodies, caps, t-shirts and sweat pants.

An African brand by Africans

While these efforts work towards building a really strong African fitness brand, especially in a market saturated by foreign fitness brands, according to Mululu the ultimate goal is to contribute to a healthier society.

The next big goal for DBF is to help South Africans lose one million kilograms of fat in the next two years, with Mululu also setting his sights on growing DBF to become a nationwide brand in the next 10 years.

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