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|Melanie Whelan (CEO)|
Independent (2006-2011) |
Equinox Fitness (2011-present)
SoulCycle is a New York City-based fitness company with studios in 13 U.S. states and 3 studio locations in Canada. Founded in 2006, it offers indoor cycling (also known as "spinning") workout classes.
In 1996, Ruth Zukerman was introduced to spin classes and was drawn to physical and mental aspects of the exercise, which she credits in helping her through her divorce. When her instructor moved away she took up teaching at the Reebok gym, where she worked for six years. In 2006, one of her students, former football player Tiki Barber, proposed going into business together, creating a new studio based on Zukerman's teaching style and techniques. Although Barber withdrew from the business before opening for personal reasons, the idea led Zukerman to co-found SoulCycle with Elizabeth Cutler and Julie Rice.
Rice, a talent agent prior to the beginning of SoulCycle, obtained her fitness passion from her father who was a physical education teacher. Rice developed SoulCycle to change New York’s attitude towards exercise being more of a requirement, and less of a social experience like it is in L.A.
Rice’s husband is the Chief Marketing Officer and Cutler’s husband came up with the name.
Villency Design Group, founded by Eric Villency designed the signature SoulCycle stationary bicycle. Villency Design Group engineered the SoulCycle bike seat as a “split seat” to relieve pressure and discomfort found in conventional bike seats.
In 2009, Zukerman left SoulCycle to start Flywheel Sports with Jay Galuzzo and David Seldin. Flywheel opened in 2010 and offers indoor cycling as well as barre classes. The companies are now competitors, with different marketing strategies, styles, and use of technology.
As of 2016, SoulCycle has opened 85 locations in the United States. SoulCycle offers classes to all age groups with approximately 20,000 people riding at SoulCycle every week and about 440,000 active riders.
The company employs 1,500 people.
The company’s reported revenues in 2014 were $112 million, 50% greater from the previous year.
In a Los Angeles Times article James Fell wrote about SoulCycle. He approved of the company's approach to entertain and motivate its customers, saying he encourages, "the importance of finding an exercise you love and embracing it with fervor." Where they lose favor with Fell is their focus on upper body exercises while spinning on the bikes. He feels it is useless and unsafe, and quotes other experts who agree with his position. Fell is also concerned that the co-founders do not have certifications in any type of exercise. Business Insider calls Fell an expert and quotes his Times article saying, he gives SoulCycle a '"failing grade for exercise physiology and biomechanics"'.
In July, 2018, SoulCycle and Equinox announced a joint management agency.
Services and market
The firm operates on a pay-by-class model and does not offer memberships. The indoor cycling classes features spinning, as well as hand weights and choreography to create a full-body workout. They also sell SoulCycle exclusive apparel as well as an option to purchase their signature SoulCycle bike.
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- "About". Soul Cycle. Retrieved April 1, 2016.
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- Fell, James. "In-Your-Face Fitness: SoulCycle's mix of cycling and upper-body workouts raises concerns". Op-ed. The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 1 June 2016.
- Lutz, Ashley. "SoulCycle's founders have resigned". Business Insider. Business Insider Inc. Retrieved 1 June 2016.
- Rina Raphael, Fast Company. "Equinox and SoulCycle are launching a talent agency for fitness influencers<." Jul 19, 2018. Retrieved Sep 7, 2018.