SoulCycle Launches Site to Grow Retail

The boutique indoor cycling studio will today unveil a new Web site at soul-cycle.com.

A screenshot from SoulCycle's Web site.

NEW YORK — Boutique indoor cycling studio SoulCycle will today unveil a new Web site at soul-cycle.com — with an emphasis on its growing retail business.

This story first appeared in the January 22, 2014 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

In addition to serving as the online home for the spinning studio and platform for riders to book bikes, cofounders Julie Rice and Elizabeth Cutler hope that people who don’t live near a studio will engage with the brand.

“In the beginning, we started the retail business as a marketing tool,” Rice said. “We designed one T-shirt because we had $2,000 left after we built the first studio — and we decided the best marketing we can do is to get 150 cool people to wear our T-shirts.”

E-commerce was incorporated into the site in 2011 as the apparel selection grew, but it wasn’t until spring of last year that SoulCycle starting producing 12 collections per year with additional holiday and resort offerings. A monthly online magazine will also launch with the new site, showcasing the brand’s apparel collection, as well as multiple paths to purchase for the consumer.

There are now 25 SoulCycle studios nationwide — and 15 more will open this year in places such as Pasadena, Calif., Westport, Conn., Woodbury, N.Y., and Washington, D.C. The company will also be opening its first international studio in London. Since 2010, ridership has grown by 58 percent, revenue by 60 percent and profitability by 85 percent, according to Rice and Cutler.

In New York, the majority of riders in a class — which can accommodate up to 60 people — can be seen wearing gear with the word SoulCycle or the brand’s logo of a bike wheel affixed to it.

“We see it becoming pretty significant,” Rice said. “The retail world has responded to the SoulCycle brand and it seems like something people do want to wear. We’re making a major retail push.”

Another issue the site looks to tackle: the online booking process. Every Monday at noon, sign-ups for the following week begin and with about 50,000 logins. It’s often a rush for users to try and get into desired classes for the week. Now, the updated system allows for users to create a queue prior to sign-up time so they can bookmark the classes they wish to take.