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Julie Rice and Elizabeth Cutler on Creating a Business with Soul

SoulCycle cofounders share how their inspiration, passion, and personal aesthetic helped to shape their rapidly growing company.

Women to Watch is a Fast Company and NET-A-PORTER.COM collaboration highlighting innovative female entrepreneurs who have leveraged style and design to accelerate their success. Here Elizabeth Cutler and Julie Rice, cofounders of SoulCycle, share how their inspiration, passion, and personal aesthetic have helped to shape their rapidly growing company.


What motivated you to start SoulCycle?

ELIZABETH: We were looking for a challenging and inspiring workout—it did not exist so we created it!

How has the name of your company–specifically the emphasis on “soul”–helped shape, define, and drive your brand

JULIE: It is a cornerstone, and has been from inception. You come for the workout and stay for your head.

How would you describe your brand’s “personality”?

ELIZABETH: Optimistic, badass, inspired.


The SoulCycle voice and aesthetic is positive, bright, and empowering. How much did your personalities–and personal aesthetics–drive this?

JULIE: We get our inspiration on the bike–when we walk in the studio we always walk out our best selves.

SoulCycle helps clients feel confident, empowered, strong, and happy. What would you say is essential to feeling one’s best?

ELIZABETH: A healthy lifestyle–from there it is much easier to create the life you really want.

From opening your first NYC studio in 2006 to becoming a nationwide brand (and worldwide by 2015), what was the biggest challenge in scaling up so quickly?

JULIE: We love wrapping our arms around every detail. That’s hard with growth. We keep our offices next to a studio and we ride multiple times each week.


Why do you think SoulCycle-branded products have been so successful and where do you think there are additional opportunities for growth?

JULIE: There is a lot we can do–we will continue to explore apparel and look for ways to bring more soul to more people.

If you could share one piece of business advice with your younger self, what would it be?

ELIZABETH: Everything works out–just not the way you expect. That’s the fun part!

What’s next for SoulCycle?

ELIZABETH: More SOUL to more people. We are rolling out in D.C., Miami, Chicago, and, finally, London!



Where do you find inspiration?

ELIZABETH: On the bike, always! And from the extraordinary SOUL community.
JULIE: On the bike …I get my most creative ideas from riding.


How do you keep creative energy flowing at SoulCycle?

ELIZABETH: Our travel is very inspiring. It’s cool to see what’s happening in urban centers these days– it feels like a creative/digital renaissance.
JULIE: I am constantly looking for creative inspiration in everything I do–even when I am shopping for my kids, I will pick up retail inspiration for our newest collection. I keep my eyes and ears open all the time.

What is your go-to workout look or go-to meeting look?

ELIZABETH: Black tights and a loose SoulCycle tank.
JULIE: Black Malia Mills pants and a Givenchy T-shirt, Libertine jacket, and Adidas high-tops.

What style advice do you live by?

ELIZABETH: Minimalism with a dash of whimsy.
JULIE: You can’t go wrong with black.


How many SoulCycle classes do you take a week?

ELIZABETH: 4 to 5.
JULIE: 3 to 5.

For Elizabeth Cutler and Julie Rice, self-confidence and style are key to their professional and personal success. NET-A-PORTER invited the always-active entrepreneurs to select some of their favorite looks for fall. Check out Elizabeth Cutler and Julie Rice’s après-sport and lifestyle pieces.