Head of Brand Strategy and Business Development
Reebok's Katrin Ley, 36, developed a new trapeze-based fitness routine with Cirque du Soleil called Jukari Fit to Fly and launched it, along with two new related apparel lines, in 14 cities around the world this past spring.
"Women understand that exercise is crucial for their health, but most think of it as a boring chore, embodied by the 'dreadmill' and the 'stair monster.' We wanted to come up with a new, unconventional concept that made fitness fun again. Cirque du Soleil is known for entertainment that's very exhilarating, inspiring, athletic, and, above all, fun. We considered all sorts of things with them — body contortion, rhythmic gymnastics, trampolines. In the end, we focused on aerial performance, because it's the most unexpected and because the equipment translates easily to a gym and has longevity.
We created buzz by starting with a custom-built studio in Los Angeles and wooing celebrities such as Mischa Barton, Kim Kardashian, and Audrina Patridge to try it. In New York, we debuted at the high-profile Equinox gym. We have to make it work from a business-model perspective for the gyms, to motivate them to buy the sets and offer these classes. Feeding this industry's hunger for newness and stirring the public's curiosity lets gyms advertise something new, which helps them retain customers and acquire new ones."
A version of this article appeared in the October 2009 issue of Fast Company magazine.