Lessons from the Locals: Inner Cycle
(originally published to the Business Owner Tide Chart newsletter - December 2019)
It all started in 2011 with one studio in Beverly and now The Inner Cycle has expanded across the North Shore with five different locations, the newest in Gloucester. For best friends and co-owners Emily Skoniecki and Hillary Mandelbaum it’s a labor of love. And if you’ve ever been to a class at one of their studios, you can tell that love extends to their instructors, too.
Full disclosure, I take classes at Inner Cycle and I’m a huge fan. It’s a place where I can escape from the day to day routine, get lost in the ride, dance a little, and get a great work out. I’ve taken classes with at least eight different instructors. Each woman has her own style. But every ride exhibits the key traits of Inner Cycle: a welcoming environment, a place to escape the daily hustle, and a focus on you. Emily talked about these attributes when we met back in August. She shared that in the boutique fitness industry a connection with your customers is key. Unlike at a big box gym where it’s easy to keep your head down and never interact with a fitness instructor, Inner Cycle’s studios are intimate and welcoming. The vibe the instructor sets, their friendly smile at the door, sets the tone for your workout. Hiring men and women who can exhibit those traits is vital to Inner Cycle’s success. Emily makes sure this expectation is clear from the beginning. Starting in the interview process, Emily and Hillary share what they expect of their instructors. Yes, you have to be able to lead a killer workout. That’s the obvious qualification. What is less obvious is that character that sets Inner Cycle apart. It’s the feeling and emotion customers experience, it’s the reason they keep coming back. Employees are the ones who make this character a reality. If you want to hire the right people, you have to discuss this philosophy in an interview. Find out if the candidate is a good fit, do they align with your brand? For Emily and Hillary, their approach has worked well and over eight years in business they have filled their five studios with instructors who represent the Inner Cycle character, energy, and enthusiasum.
Every instructor at the Inner Cycle has their own vibe and routine. Each class is a little different. But what you will always get is a friendly face, a solid workout, and the opportunity to lose yourself in the ride.