With riders returning to its studios and others pedaling along virtually, SoulCycle is ramping up its apparel offerings.
Having first edged into in-house women’s performance-oriented clothing two years ago with its Soul by SoulCycle brand, the company is branching out with new options for women and an in-house label for men called Yellow. Chief executive officer Evelyn Webster said the women’s side of the business has continued to grow since its debut. The company is also looking into expanding distribution of some of its offerings with the right partners. In October, Soul by SoulCycle will be offered via Saks Fifth Avenue’s e-commerce site. Curated pop-ups in the Hamptons have been successful this summer, she said.
Today’s launch of SoulRise is the first major retail collaboration launch in more than 18 months. This exclusive 11-piece collection features a Year of Ours bra and legging set, a Les Girls Les Boys sweatsuit and a Lululemon yoga mat, among other limited-edition items. The sunny yellow that is used in SoulCycle’s branding is splashed on each product.
Last weekend, SoulCycle had a pre-launch ride at its Bridgehampton, N.Y., location, a site popular with highly engaged and loyal riders. Participants were able to shop the SoulRise collection. In addition, SoulCycle VIP riders were able to first check it out Tuesday night on the company’s e-commerce site via exclusive access. VIP criteria involves frequency of ridership, engagement with the brand and other services.
Other collaborations are being planned with brands that have similar values, understand its relationship with riders and can create something compelling with SoulCycle’s community, Webster said
Webster declined to comment on last year’s apparel sales or projections for 2021, noting the company does not share specific numbers. Throughout the pandemic, the retail business was “extremely resilient,” she said. “This speaks to the power of our brand that even when people couldn’t physically come together, they were still shopping and feeling connected through our retail.”
With 350 SoulCycle instructors, including many with devoted social media followings, the company has built-in branding opportunities. Executives declined to identify the three with the largest social media followings. “The instructors are a really important part of the marketing of the collection. They’re our biggest advocates. Almost always you see them wearing SoulCycle merchandise,” Webster said.
In the past three years, the company has partnered with 125 brands including Lululemon, which remains a key part of the apparel business. Soul by SoulCycle, however, is the leading label. The in-house men’s brand will be added to the portfolio next month. In the past, SoulCycle has worked with such brands as Nike, Lululemon and Ten Thousand to offer men’s apparel. The Yellow line will feature Fuze, chemical-free technology that helps prevent odorous bacteria and mold.
As reopenings continue, there are 70 SoulCycle outposts open with each selling a selection of apparel. As studios have welcomed back riders, retail sales have increased further, Webster said. Although the company declined to break out what the daily average is for the number of people who take an in-person class and its virtual ones, SoulCycle said “thousands” of classes have had wait lists, including some with more than 100 people per list. Demand is also strong for the brand’s at-home bike, which debuted in March. First-day preorders were taken for shoppers in 47 states and others in 11 countries inquired about when the bike would be available to them, according to Webster.