Are fitness instructors becoming the new influencers?
Equinox and SoulCycle hope so.
Both lifestyle companies will develop a talent management agency exclusively representing their fitness talent. The management agency will launch with a network of employees from across the brands’ global portfolio of fitness clubs and studios. The range of activities will include social media development and follower growth to large-scale lifestyle sponsorship deals. The agency will be supported by WME, which will advise on overall talent management and representation.
“If I’ve learned one thing in our 27 years of innovation and leadership, it’s that our people define our experience — and our excellence,” said Harvey Spevak, executive chairman and managing partner of Equinox Group. “While we have always been recognized for the impact that our talent has on our community, our fitness experts will become exponentially more influential with the creation of our talent agency. We are now poised to offer our star employees an exclusive, monumental opportunity. With our support, guidance and representation, our top talent can meaningfully grow their personal brands, develop key partnerships and ultimately generate additional income.”
Melanie Whelan, chief executive officer of SoulCycle, said, “SoulCycle was founded on human connection, and community spirit is at the core of our experience and our brand. Our instructors are the heartbeat of our tribe. They act as motivational coaches, and the strong bonds they develop with our riders create transformational energy inside our studios. We look forward to supporting our world-class talent both personally and professionally with this new initiative.”
The agency will roll out in phases with a pilot that is under way. The plan is to provide group fitness, personal training instructors and other talent with tools, skills and training to cultivate their brands, accelerate digital exposure and secure meaningful partnership and sponsorship opportunities.
Both companies have been committed to developing career growth opportunities for their employees. Most recently, Equinox launched Project by Equinox, a talent incubator, which invited existing and newly identified fitness stars to launch their own concepts and build their own brands with the support of the Equinox ecosystem. SoulCycle last year launched SoulAnnex, which empowers current instructors to develop formats off the bike.
Equinox operates 93 upscale, full-service clubs in the U.S., as well as international ones in London, Toronto and Vancouver. SoulCycle, which is majority owned by Equinox, operates 88 studios across 15 North American markets.