Boutique cycling is about to get even more stylish. A handful of fashion industry executives—Lew Frankfort of Coach, Andrew Rosen of Theory, and Khajak Keledjian of Intermix—are now major investors in the indoor cycling juggernaut, Flywheel.
What might the fashion CEOs bring to the boutique cycling brand, known for its data tracking package, Torq board, and stadium-seating studio experience? (Cute sweatshirts?! Printed capris?!)
“The brand lessons learned in growing boutique fashion stores can be applied to boutique fitness studios,” says Flywheel creative director Ruth Zukerman. “They are icons in the retail business.”
Lew Frankfort, who’s credited with turning Coach from a $6 million brand into a $5 billion one, has been a Fly investor for two-plus years, not long after his Flywheel-loving daughter introduced him to the workout experience. And with this round of funding, Frankfort will play a more active role in the day-to-day running of the Flywheel brand and business, explains Flywheel CEO Jay Galluzzo.
“Lew, like Andrew and Khajak, know the compelling nature of the boutique environment, and creating a 360 brand experience. It’s what Ruth and I have tried to do. Flywheel doesn’t start with first song; it starts at booking your class on the app to the spaces for hanging out with your friends after a class—all the small things that add up to a unique experience. They’re going to help us take everything people love about Flywheel but make it even better.”
How is that going to impact your future sweat sessions? “Both the Chelsea and Lincoln Center studios will continue on track and share the new look of the Tribeca location,” Galluzzo says. The flagship Flatiron District studio will undergo a major renovation including new showers, and the East 67th Street location will become a tricked out uptown flagship with a full-fledged Flybarre studio. And he hints at “New York region” locations to come—plus second studios opening in key Flywheel cities like Chicago, Atlanta, and Miami within the next few months.
And while the company is using the new investment to grow and upgrade its locations, it seems likely, with this new access to such high-level fashion industry experience, that Flywheel will be very well positioned to become more of a lifestyle brand. (May we suggest an irresistible line of gym bags we can tote to work or dinner, please!)
With other boutique fitness brands creating fashion lines for sale in their studios and department stores, the opportunity to create more ways for more people to look chic on—and off—a bike—is one with some serious legs. —Melisse Gelula
For more information, visit www.flywheelsports.com