More often than not identified by her uber-fit celebrity clientele — Karlie Kloss, Kelly Ripa, Shakira and the like — Anna Kaiser will soon be reaching out to more of the masses through a new partnership with Target.
In time for all those New Years work-out-more-frequently resolutions, Target will roll out the C9 Champion limited edition by Anna Kaiser collection on Jan. 1. A brand in her own right, Kaiser opened her first AKT fitness studio on the Upper East Side in 2013 and now has four outposts, as well as an app, on-demand online workouts, fitness retreats and her own AKT clothing line. In tune with Kaiser’s influence on fitness and style, Target plans to offer complimentary workouts through the AKT app. Considering her company’s three-year rapid-fire growth, Kaiser said, “It’s been phenomenal. But you know, I am not a show pony. I am a workhorse. I am working 14 hours a day because I love it. I’m lucky to do something that gives back as well. It’s something I feel very passionately about.”
Just back from a babymoon in Hawaii with her surgeon husband Carlos Wesley, the couple was relishing their “last hurrah” of a vacation before their first child is due late next month. Still working 14-hour days, six days a week, Kaiser described being pregnant as “wonderful” without the slightest trace of sarcasm. Her upbeatness does extend though to her adrenaline-racing workouts, which require such moves as “The Grapevine” and “Turn and Party.”
AKT is now a 75-person company that recently wrapped up its Series A funding for an undisclosed sum, and its fifth fitness studio will bow in Los Angeles next year. For the Target launch next month, Kaiser will host her signature Happy Hour workouts for about 225 guests in New York, Los Angeles, Houston and Atlanta. Other fitness enthusiasts will be able to tune into one of the New York City classes through Facebook Live via Target’s Facebook page. They don’t know it yet, but Kaiser is hopeful that Kloss, Ripa and her all-star clientele will help spread the news about the C9 line. She said, “I hope so. We haven’t discussed it yet because it’s been very confidential.”
The 16-piece performance-oriented apparel and accessories include cut-off gloves, hats, asymmetric layering pieces and mantra-imprinted T-shirts. A dancer at heart (who appeared in Disney’s “Enchanted”) Kaiser is big on peeling off layers as workouts intensify. Her C9 line will retail from $12.99 to $41.99 and will be offered in XS to 3X. Every style is offered in plus-size “to champion the idea of every woman feeling strong in her own skin.” said Kaiser, who also mentioned there will be select maternity styles. Inclusiveness is a key element to her company.
Kaiser is familiar with another kind of label. “It is very easy, especially for the press to overgeneralize, because people understand what ‘celebrity trainer’ means. But most of my 14-hour day is spent running a business — finding my team, raising money, hiring, creating business plans, working on new projects, creating content, continuing education, running a studio, handling operations, partnering with brands and companies that I really believe in, as well as doing press, training clients and expanding AKT. There is so much going on with so many branches of our company — our app, our on-demand transformation program online, our retreats.”
Just as pain and boredom are the enemies of fitness, they can also impact ath-leisure. “You definitely want it to be comfortable and not pinching in the wrong places. You don’t always want to go do the same thing day-after-day because your body, as well as your mind, is not going to be as stimulated. You’re not going to want to work as hard or be as motivated,” Kaiser said. “It’s the same thing with fashion. You’re not going to want to go out to that party, to show up at the gym, meet up with your husband or wannabe if you don’t feel good about what you’re wearing. Or walk into that job interview with confidence or what you want or need. Fashion is really our armor in the world.”
The fact that she could offer Target more overall fitness and wellness knowledge than other ath-leisure designers made the deal more appealing. Kaiser’s fastrack suggestions to better health are simple enough — integrate at least one new food to your diet each week since most people stick with the same 40. And if you’re not getting cardio, strength and stretching in your current workout, add at least 10 minutes of whatever is lacking. “We tend to get into a program that is a habit that we feel comfortable with and it’s important to challenge ourselves to be well-rounded and stay interested. From a lifestyle standpoint, for every workout that you do, give yourself $5 to buy a piece of clothing to inspire your next workout,” she said.