Rival indoor cycling company Flywheel, started by third Soul Cycle founder Ruth Zukerman in 2010, is also competing on the fashion front. The company has studios in Larchmont Village and West Hollywood and has hugely expanded its branded apparel line this year by teaming with 13 fashion and fitness labels to create exclusive merchandise. In the mix are local brands Lauren Moshi, Solow, Strut This, Rebel Yell, Nux, Dirtee Hollywood and Beyond Yoga, which all launched collaborative apparel for Flywheel this year; pieces by the last three brands just hit shelves this month. Exclusive Havaianas sandals and a Hanky Panky logo thong panty are due by Memorial Day, and tank tops designed by Los Angeles-based Junk Food Clothing Co. will land in Flywheel studios in August. The company also plans to launch e-commerce on its website, flywheelsports.com, later this year.
While Flywheel also offers merchandise from other companies, before this year's fast and furious expansion, the in-house product line consisted of a limited assortment of American Apparel T-shirts emblazoned with the company's logo and a "Never Coast" slogan, branded Sock Guy socks and a few non-branded hair accessories.
"There was a high demand for more fashion-forward apparel and many of our new items sold out the day that we got them in," says Natalie Cohen, Flywheel's newly appointed director of retail. She added that Flywheel plans to introduce a new retail collection every month that will include at least one brand collaboration.
The Sweat Shoppe
The Sweat Shoppe, a heated spinning studio in North Hollywood that opened in 2011, also offers its own branded apparel line. What started out as a few tops quickly morphed into an apparel line that includes tees, hoodies, sweat pants, leggings and even maxi dresses, priced from $30 to $75. There are 12 pieces in the new summer collection, and an e-commerce site is scheduled to launch June 15.
"We treat our line like any clothing retailer would," says Sweat Shoppe founder Mimi Benz. "We look at seasonal trends in colors, fabrics and styles and create merchandise that is fashionable. We use slogans that many of our riders use — for example, 'shut up and ride' and 'some like it hot.'
"[The line] took off immediately and riders constantly asked when we were going to be getting new items in," Benz says. "As a new business owner, I did not expect to have our branded merchandise become such a [large] part of our overall revenue … a reflection, in part, of the pride associated with being a part of our community."
Ballet-based Pure Barre, with studios in Beverly Hills, West Hollywood and Brentwood, has recently added some fashion-forward pieces to its mix of mostly logo-branded tops and accessories. A ballet-neck sweatshirt with striped detailing ($44) and a burnout baseball tee ($45) that launched last month make great weekend staples with jeans.
"We started carrying Pure Barre branded apparel soon after I launched the company 12 years ago," says founder Carrie Dorr. "We had some T-shirts created when we had about 10 loca-
tions, and we printed all the locations down the back, like a rock band tour. We had to stop be-
cause we couldn't keep the back of the tee updated, since we were adding locations all the time. It's amazing how far we've come with 127 locations across the country now."