Through the doors of SoulCycle’s Upper West Side studio in New York, past the rows of stationary bikes and sweat-beaded riders, a whiteboard decorated in graffiti serves as not only a beacon of inspiration, but also the epitome of what inspires the SoulCycle brand.
As Anthony DiMaggio explains, this whiteboard is referred to as that location’s “intentions wall,” where riders can use dry erase markers to let the world know what they hope to accomplish, whether in their fitness regimen, or in life.
“People have the ability to put their own intentions of what they want and what their goals are on that wall. It creates art,” says DiMaggio, vice president of development for SoulCycle.
The intentions wall is unique for SoulCycle’s Upper West Side studio, but the brand and feel that one would expect is universal throughout its 70-plus studios across North America. With a tangible spirit to make fitness joyful, DiMaggio says he wants that same excitement to be evident right when guests walk in the door and before they head to their stationary bike. “Many riders tell us that we are the best part of their day, and we aspire to provide that feeling across the board,” DiMaggio says.
Part of ensuring this is adhering to the culture and community that DiMaggio incorporates when a SoulCycle studio opens in a new city. When SoulCycle moved in to Frost Bank Tower in Austin last year, DiMaggio says it was a typical office building. But he and his team transformed the space into a unique outlet by adding intrigue to the building. After improving the façade with window box treatment, they also included neon art in the window designed by Gregory Siff.
“Gregory Siff is a pretty popular, famous artist, who has done a bunch of artwork for us in a lot of our studios,” DiMaggio says. “We took that and created this very cool neon and put it in the window. We basically wanted to make the space unique for the expectation of the SoulCycle experience there. You feel like you’ve been to SoulCycle before with the experience, but there are some little surprises and unique differences from studio to studio, and people appreciate that.”
SoulCycle’s Chelsea location in New York also incorporates Siff’s artwork, in addition to utilizing a unique architectural space. DiMaggio says the Manhattan location was also selected so the building could interact with the High Line, a 1.45-mile-long, linear park built on an elevated section of a disused New York Central Railroad.
“We kept and exposed all the structural steel beams that were part of the structure that supports the High Line, and then the building was created and constructed around the High Line structure,” DiMaggio explains.
While SoulCycle studios are located across the US, DiMaggio says there is much emphasis on how the company selects to pursue different markets. Countless hours of research are put into each studio, including speaking with as many people as possible, from local businesses and schools to parents, college students, and local community boards. DiMaggio says the company looks at the surrounding area, such as which locations are best suited for ease of parking and transportation, as well as which locations have an abundance of foot traffic and a large residential/office space population.
“We are really focused on where our riders want us to be,” DiMaggio says. “We try to listen to them and see where they live and work, and really focus on what’s the next market where we can bring SoulCycle that will influence as many peoples’ lives as possible.”
Beyond sharing in strong community values at each SoulCycle location, DiMaggio says it’s the brand itself that cultivates a joyful atmosphere. Whether in Manhattan or Philadelphia, each studio allows riders to disconnect for 45 minutes. The design lends itself to that experience.
“The design is about elevating that mind-set,” he says. “It’s white, clean, and modern, and it really elevates your spirits. There aren’t a lot of distractions, and we like to keep it pretty simple. We have music in the background, and our staff is very friendly. We want an experience where our riders can disconnect from the rest of the world and the mayhem.”
And that is consistent across all of SoulCycle’s locations. No matter where one goes, it’s an experience.
Part of the Community
SoulCycle not only sets up studios in cities across North America, but also works to connect with them.
“In an effort to connect with local communities, we have a program called SoulLocal, where we team up with local vendors and purveyors and offer their products to our riders,” says Anthony DiMaggio, vice president of development.
Below, DiMaggio lists some of SoulCycle’s most successful SoulLocal partnerships:
Bellevue, Washington: Partnered with Seattle-based Herbivore Botanicals to carry its non-toxic, all natural skincare products in women’s and men’s locker rooms
Austin, Texas: Features cold brew from local business Chameleon Cold-Brew in the studio. The studio also works with milk + honey, featuring its skincare products in the women’s and men’s locker rooms.
Seaport, Boston: Teamed up with Boston-based Fresh to have its skincare products in studios. SoulCycle also worked with Dunkin Donuts to make custom SoulCycle-branded Munchkins.