Our next #SomeoneSocial is one of the great minds behind our favorite addiction: Cycle House. With her partners, Lara Gillman grew Cycle House from a boutique cycling studio in West Hollywood to a brand with national recognition, a cult following and a purpose to help those in need. We sat down with this soon-to-be mama & got the insight on what it takes to grow a company from the ground up & how to shift a brand as trends change.
Q: How did you manage to create a business with such a cult following?
Lara Gillman: I would say part hard work, part luck. I am from New York where everything happens extremely quickly, people jump in and out of their workout and are on to the next item on their to-do list. When coming up with the concept of Cycle House, it was as important to me to create a community as much as it was important to create the best possible workout. When you focus on the workout and the community together you set yourself up to cultivate a strong following of people who not only want to workout at your studio, but be an active part of your community. The luck comes from the riders and staff we have. They are our biggest advocates and brand ambassadors; together, they created the cult following we have.
Q: What’s it like running a business with your husband (and his best friend)?
LG: I am not going to lie and say it is easy- it is actually quite difficult. The hardest part is being able to criticize the other person’s business choices or practices and talk as partners about serious topics and not take it personally. It is the constant struggle between two relationships, that of husband and wife and that of business partners. We also have to work a littler harder to not talk business at the dinner table. You see very quickly how it can turn into only talking about work and that isn’t healthy. On the flip side, we get to create this really incredible experience together and Cycle House will always be our 2nd baby…after Eloise (our pup)!
Q: You got into the fitness world before it really exploded. How have you seen it change since & where do you see it heading in the future?
LG: I got into cycling because I was taking classes at the typical big box gym in New York every single day. Cycling became not only a workout obsession but a mental release for me as well. I loved what it did for me but I wanted that community feeling mentioned earlier. When the idea of CH was born, boutique studios were starting to flourish but definitely were nowhere near where they are today. Since we opened CH, almost 5 years ago, there are now boutique studios for each and every workout you can imagine. I love this because it has empowered people to follow their dreams and open their own businesses. It also speaks to the continued upward trend of healthy living. I think we are continuing to move out of the corporate gym era and into an expansive boutique/speciality studio generation!
Q: Giving back was built into the foundation of your brand and its values. How has this impacted your business and what advice would you give others who want to incorporate a pro-social element into their business plan?
LG: Since I was 5 years old, helping the homeless and hungry population has been a passion of mine. From the inception of Cycle House, we knew we wanted to include a pro-social element to the business plan and incorporate giving back into the core of our business.. It is the belief of myself and my business partners that for-profit companies must give back. From that belief, our Take 1 / Give 2 program was born; for every class 1 rider takes we donate 2 meals to a hungry American in need.