SoulCycle is an American indoor cycling company with studios across the United States and a cultish following of "spinners." Founded in 2006 with a single cycling studio on New York City's Upper West Side, SoulCycle's spin classes helped usher in a national craze of synchronized boutique group exercise. Having won over an elite customer base on the east and west coasts, SoulCycle is maintaining the lead on its ever-growing list of competitors by recruiting new devotees in unexpected markets. In 2015, it expanded its studio footprint from 37 to 55, including two in new cities: Miami and Chicago. But that's just a fraction of the 250 U.S. locations where SoulCycle sees a demand for its faux candle-lit cycling classes. Before opening doors in new cities, a team is dispatched to connect with locals to quickly establish a community. And the company maintains its integrity by prioritizing strong relationships between instructors and riders, who pedal through 45-minute classes together to the tune of carefully coordinated jams. In 2016, SoulCycle is expanding to Houston and Philadelphia. And the company has teamed up with Target for a cross-country tour, bringing free classes to 10 cities including Denver, Minneapolis, Nashville, and Atlanta. Next up: The company wants to go beyond the studio walls, potentially bringing the SoulCycle experience into spinners' homes, `a la competitor Peloton. With an IPO in the works, SoulCycle is clearly breaking away from the pack.
The company's competitive advantage in 2016:
Brand loyalty: They were the first, and they are rapidly growing while maintaining integrity of the brand.
The biggest challenges standing in this company's way in 2016:
Scaling while staying true to its hyper-successful class experience
What to look out for:
Expansion into new domestic markets like Houston and Philadelphia
Potential expansion beyond the studio to the "at home" customer
Top tip for getting a job at this company:
"We look for people who are passionate about the brand, and about helping people. And naturally positive people." --CEO Melanie Whelan
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