SoulCycle: A Rock Star Ride for Your Body and Soul



SoulCycle is a uniquely themed spin studio initially started in New York City and now available in more than 25 sites across America.  Achieving upwards of more than 20,000 rides a week across all of the locations SoulCycle is hitting the mark with its target fitness market.


What is SoulCycle?

SoulCycle is an indoor spin studio.  It’s a work out on stationary bikes within a spin studio.  Much like yoga or Pilate’s studios this is a fitness studio specifically for exercising on a stationary bike.  There are a number of classes including soulcycle, soul survivor, soul bands, community ride, soul challenge, soul warrior and soul teen.  All classes are set to music and may include hand weights, core work out, and bands hanging from the ceiling.  Classes range from45 minutes to 90 minutes.  As you can see from the name soul teen they also cater for teens who are 4’11” and 12 years or older.


Why is it so appealing?

The marketing and branding of SoulCycle is very strong.  They have worked hard to achieve the same look and feel of clean lines, white, black, grey and pops of yellow.  This colour theme goes across their studios, to the yellow bikes to the rock star clothes the instructors wear.  It’s almost as if they are providing an experience and not a work out.  For example they go to the level of detail you would expect to find in a nightclub – even offering a work out with subtle candlelight in the spin studio.


Online Booking and Payment Convenience

If you want to experience SoulCycle you need to purchase a class online.  Prices range from 1 class for $34 to packs of 5 classes for $165, 10 classes for $320, 20 classes for $600, 30 classes for $850 and 50 classes for $3,500.  So it’s not a cheap work out experience but I don’t think that matters to the soulcyclers because they aren’t just going for the workout they are going for the whole experience.  After you purchase class credits online you can then go and book yourself into a class which means even choosing the exact bike you will use.


Rock Star Marketing and Merchandising

The studios and website doesn’t just have a rock star look and feel they also use rock star promotions and merchandising techniques.  For example when new classes are opened they are promoted like rock concerts.  Interest is created within the community and classes sell out within minutes, like tickets to a Beyoncé concert.  Another element of the marketing that aligns to music concerts is the merchandising.  The instructors wear the latest SoulCycle gear like t-shirts, pants, shoes, head bands and more.  For the SoulCycler who wants that rock star look themselves they can buy the gear in the online store.  You can even purchase kids clothes too for the littlest rock star in your life.


As if 20,000 riders a week across the 25 different sites weren’t enough to tell you they are doing something right, they have recently received a big tick from the big O.  Oprah Winfrey recently took her closest friends to a SoulCycle session to celebrate her 60th birthday.  So now Oprah is into it too it will undoubtedly continue to grow.


Where is Australia’s SoulCycle?

Is there room in Australia for spin studios like SoulCycle?  My opinion is YES.  I really hope more fitness entrepreneurs open these types of studios.  For example Peloton is a Sydney based spin studio offering fitness classes on stationary bikes.  They have been opened for only 8 months and have recently received recognition in the form of a business award.  However it’s important to note that SoulCycle is successful not just because they offer spin classes within a small studio.  It is successful because they have created such a strong brand through clever marketing, and they have differentiated themselves using that brand to appeal to a very specific segment of all people who like to do spin classes.  They are making money by keeping costs down using a low cost and convenient sales channel (online sales and online bookings of classes) and they are using rock star merchandising and promotional techniques to increase overall sales per attendee.  Where is Australia’s SoulCycle?

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