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Irina Kragh

( Cozdatel two large networks of health clubs - World Class and `Planet Fitness'.)

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Biography Irina Kragh
photo Irina Kragh
Irina Kragh - man number one in Russia's fitness business. Her record includes the creation of Russian subsidiaries of two large networks of health clubs - World Class and the "Planet Fitness". In other fitness clubs in the top positions, you too will find its pupils.

Few in Moscow can boast such experience in business, as Irina Kragh. It manages partnerships formed with its participation, 24 years. Half the time she worked in Sweden.
. Irina - the living embodiment of truth, that if a person was born an entrepreneur, then no circumstances did not prevent him to be.
. She was born in Stalin's Moscow, in the famous hospital on the Arbat
. (Muscovites, who were born there, and then boast that all my life. Irina also spent all his childhood in the same house.) Received a liberal education (Romano-Germanic Philology Department of Moscow State University). What do you mean business ...

In 1974 Irina was married to director of the Swedish bank Sweuska Handelbanken clerk Bu gaiter. In 1975 the couple moved to Stockholm. Again, nothing and no one forced the young woman to take the first steps in business. She and so it was. Sweden - non-poor country, and the family budget Crago was a rather big even for there the standards. Besides son. To marry a European, become a housewife in the capital-rich country and have nothing else to do - it was a dream life of every second a contemporary Irina.

. Instead, in 1978 that started in Sweden and learned the language, she decided to open their own restaurant in Stockholm
. Pragmatic Boo is not an example of our current bankers, wives buying business with his own money, helped his wife only with a loan. The size of the loan in the translation from the Swedish money amounted to U.S. $ 1.5 thousand. "I really wanted to someday return to Russia, but not as a former emigrant, whose life was a failure," - explains its activity itself Irina Kragh.
. Irina Kragh argues that these fifteen hundred she had enough to start their own restaurant
. Most of the loans went to rent a small cellar in the old town. Having made the ferry trip to neighboring Poland, Irina acquired it cheaper for a Swedish housewares concepts. On the rest of the money was acquired coffee maker. Refrigerators new-found owner of this restaurant were leased, and the counter, tables and chairs bought on credit. Signs for establishments drew girlfriend Irina. So over the door of the renovated basement appeared hitherto unknown Swedes call Babushka. Irina Kragh combines the functions of the hostess, the director and the chef. In the state institutions were recruited two additional staff members with an equally complicated functions. This was the first Russian restaurant around Stockholm, and to prepare and create comfort for guests Russian woman Irina Kragh able. The institution quickly became popular.

In the course of an energetic hostess mastered the basics of business accounting. In the evenings, she always studied. First, it was necessary to pass a special course to obtain a license for liquor. Then, armed with financial knowledge. How she had time, torn between work and study, have a second son - is completely incomprehensible.

Popular institution became more profitable. In 1981 earned crown Irina opened a second restaurant, more. It was already a restaurant with European cuisine. "None of our friends did not understand why I am involved in all this - says Irina. - Why is the wife of a banker with two children goes to work in the kitchen? "

Businesswoman was seen national press. It turned out that it is not just a successful entrepreneur, but also one of the two throughout the country, chefs female. The Swedish authorities, tremulously relating to small business and sent it to three-month internship in Paris.

By 1985, the company Irina Kragh matured to the state in 26 people and annual turnover of almost $ 900 thousand. In her spare time she managed to communicate with their compatriots, were held in Stockholm on various cultural events.

. Once at the exhibition of Russian porcelain, where Irina agreed to work an interpreter (people who speak Russian, while in Sweden was not enough), she met with representatives of the Finnish company Thomesto Swenska, selling oil
. They suggested Irina Kragh work sales representative.

By adopting this proposal, Irina got to travel to travel to his native Moscow, where she has never visited since the departure. Moreover, seven years of a chef associated with permanent physical loads - this is very much. Catering - this is not something a woman can engage in lifelong. From an ongoing work in the kitchen hostess restaurants much added weight, and to combat this scourge, she had become a regular visitor at the fitness club.

Irina Kragh accepted the offer of Finns. Two restaurants were quickly sold for $ 800 thousand. Too cheap, if you take into account the annual turnover of business. Quite expensive, if we recall that seven years ago, it all started with a $ 1.5 thousand

Salaried employee of a foreign company she worked not very long. Apparently, the entrepreneurial spirit is too deeply sat in her soul.

In December 1986 Irina for the first time in ten years, arrived in Moscow. And the established Swedish habit went to look for a fitness club. Trade Representative of the Finnish company knew that the network of clubs World Class, the largest in Sweden, whose client was in Stockholm, is not represented in the USSR. But the fact that Moscow does not contain any health club, even at the embassies, it became for her a complete surprise.

The ordinary man, faced with the inability to get service or buy the necessary goods, distressed. A born entrepreneur is happy and begins to count prospects - a niche is empty! Upon his return to Stockholm, she went to the owner of World Class Ulf Bengsenu and invited him to partner services by opening the club in Russia. "I think he did not understand and said: Let's uncover. We can help, "- says Irina Kragh. She began to act.

The first step was to obtain the consent of the Soviet authorities. Without official sanction while foreign companies are not able to start business in Russia. Irina went to the reception to the leading specialist trade delegation of the USSR in Stockholm Oleg Gusarov. As normal Moscow official of that era, he had never heard the word "fitness". After the trade representative was arranged "kultpohod" in one of the clubs in World Class, he became, in the words of Irina Kragh, "best ally" in promoting the idea of initiation of the Soviet people to fitness.

. Soon Oleg Gusarov gave Irina Kragh 36 addresses the various instances in the major cities of the USSR with the relevant recommendations
. Receiving such letters, local officials have the right to begin negotiations with the World Class on the opening of the joint Soviet-Swedish business. By then Soviet law a foreign company could open in the country subsidiary of a company only in the form of joint ventures, finding a local co-sponsors. Sent 36 letters, Irina Kragh quickly received a response from one of the recipients - St. Petersburg trade association Lenfintorg ". On the same day she bought tickets to Leningrad.

In the office "Lenfintorga with interest the idea of creating the first Soviet fitness club. As co-founder Irina Kragh was proposed by Yevgeny Kulikov - Olympic champion in speed skating, who had had time to create their own cooperative. Kragh and Kulikov agreed that 51% of the joint company will belong to the Swedish side. Year went to the adjustment of formalities. "It was the first time, - says Irina Kragh. - Interesting, exciting, difficult.

Finally, the joint venture has received a flooded basement in Kamenoos Lane. Began repairing and import of equipment. World Class at that time produced its own simulators for clubs. In early 1989 the first World Class in the Soviet Union was opened. Position control has been entrusted to his well-known athlete Marianne Maslennikova. Since then she has one of the closest associates of Irina Kragh.

It turns out that this year Russia's fitness industry has celebrated its tenth anniversary. And it all started with the St. Petersburg flooded basement.

Opening the club on Stone Island, Irina Kragh was vice president of the company World Class. In addition to Russia's direction, she worked the clubs in Finland, Norway, Malta and Turkey.

Petersburg's club in the meantime has become a mecca of all local public. Wishing to become its permanent members, paying 300 rubles for the year, there were so many that the World Class just had to open new clubs - in hotel "Astoria" and "Europe". "With foreign owners of these hotels have been easier to negotiate than with any other partners in Leningrad", - says Irina Kragh.

In 1991, World Class opened in Ufa. The partners of the Swedish company has become the Ministry of Foreign Economic Relations of Bashkortostan, and the opening of the club came to the president of the republic Murtaza Rakhimov.

. And in 1993, Yevgeny Kulikov said Irene Kragh, that in Moscow there is a person who is interested in the fitness business
. Irina Kragh came to Moscow and met with this man. Vladimir Slutsker, deputy president of a small bank's capital, is already engaged in a club on Zhitnii Street. Kragh and Slutsker agreed to sign a licensing agreement and contract management. The Moscow company, bought out World Class right to use the mark. Official owner of the company was Olga Slutsker, wife of the banker. Irina Kragh was appointed CEO of the Swedish side. Now her job was in Moscow.

World Class Company in the capital Irina Kragh ruled four years. During this time, the network of clubs expanded. And in early 1997, Kragh, left the World Class. CEO of the company was itself Olga Slutsker. What happened between her and Olga Slutsker - unknown. The owner of World Class does not apply to this topic. Its former CEO said this evasively: "This period of our life has passed."

Irina Kragh very easy on the rise. Employed at their next job, she went to San Diego, where the headquarters of the largest U.S. network of fitness clubs Family Fitness/24 Hour Fitness. With the founders and owners of the network Leonard Schlemm and Mark Mastrofom she met in 1995. At this time Irina invited them to open a business in Russia. The argument in favor of, . that this matter can be trusted precisely Irina Kragh, . in addition to her many years of experience in the World Class was a marketing idea: all the fitness clubs in Russia dear, . as we enter the empty niche, . introduced the first network in the country for the middle class,
. The founders of the American company took the proposal to the Russian colleagues cheer. For example, last year appeared in Moscow and has since been continuously growing network of health-improving "Planet Fitness".

. Petersburg's club on a stone island came under the wing of the "Planet Fitness", becoming its subsidiaries.

. Instead of $ 2000, which pay for annual membership Clients World Class and similar clubs, Planet Fitness' suggested price of $ 365 - one dollar a day
. "I ask those who are paying $ 2000 a year:" For the money you are served champagne in the locker room? "- Ironically Irina Kragh. - Unfortunately, today I can not name a single club that provides a level of service, motivating the price of annual membership of $ 2000 and above ". Low price in the "Planet Fitness", according to director general, is created through a simple design, rational planning of premises, ease of management structure.
. Now the "Planet Fitness" four clubs in Moscow and two in St. Petersburg
. The following year, Irina Kragh plans to open two clubs in the capital. In its future plans - the construction of at least one club in each district of Moscow. She managed to improve relations with city authorities. This is one of the biggest clubs now being built on the territory of Moscow-City ". And one of the existing clubs, as well as office "Planet Fitness", located in the most expensive residential building of the capital - the "Golden Key". That Irina Kragh appointed executive director of the Ice House Irina Rodnina, which is now being built at Gateway waterfront.

Competitors "Planet Fitness" think about lowering prices and enticed by the company personnel. Gold Gym club manager Alex Kashirin once started Irina Kragh simple instructor in the pool. Two top manager Golg Gym - Irina Mikityuk and Angela Kuvshynnykova - pupils Marianne Maslennikova, a companion of Irene Kragh in "Planet Fitness".

"We do not work no one comes from another club. I take the raw human and cook it to work in this industry "- describes its personnel policy, Irina.

Her eldest son Stephen is now studying in the U.S. at the fitness club manager. Irina Kragh calm for the future of his business.

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  • Oksana for Irina Kragh
  • You yourself claim that one club elite and high prices in your low, . but when I opened the sessions in the halls and swimming pools (including pool work) at a lower price, you just prevented us so we have to have a competitor with a lower price, you have to say we have a bad instructor was a lie you're a big company wanted to eat a little this monopoly policy and that is bad for the economy - killer piece of my writings,
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