Can you tell us how and why you started Spokehaüs?
How – well this is a loaded question, I was constantly travelling for and experiencing world class workouts abroad and after one trip, I came home and mentioned starting this space. Everyone I spoke to about it was 100% positive and really thought it was something I could do. I come from a marketing and branding background so I was 100% new to the Toronto fitness scene, but I wanted to come at it more from brand side anyways, and along the way have met amazing people that have the fitness part down pat. I didn’t let the fear of failure affect me – I stayed in my lane and moved forward a little bit each day. It took about a year from idea to opening. I got certified as a spin instructor and started teaching a team whom I thought could connect with each and every person that came through our door.
"I think the team we have is really the “how”,
because without my team, who have been with
us since day 1, our space would not exist."
Why - It really came out of something I wanted to do in our city and what I thought was missing. I needed a workout and a community that just didn’t exist when we opened. I used to traditionally spin and personally for me in that environment I just wasn’t pushing myself – but in a choreographed class it was non-stop and I would finish absolutely drenched. I wanted something that was sort of meditative as well and I find that in the dark room (no distractions!). It can be tough to meet people in Toronto, so we have built a place where you can hang out and meet like minded people in a safe and inclusive space. We have built amazing friendships, even relationships out of the studio that we are so proud of. I even had riders attend my wedding! I really wanted that place where you could, shut off and feel comfortable, one where you will never be judged, we have girls walking around proud in their sports bra and sweating 4-5 times per week – the addiction is real!
"Of course you need to “know your competition”,
but there is a big difference between knowing your
competition and changing your course because of it."
We love how you differentiate your studio by offering unique features, such as cold eucalyptus-infused towels at the end of class, or heated classrooms for higher intensity workouts. What advice would you give to business owners running a company to differentiate themselves in a saturated industry?
The biggest advice that I could give any entrepreneur in any industry is stay in your lane. It is something that I have said from day one and something I repeat to our team all the time. It is so easy to be distracted and to want to react with any competition, but to me, this is the surest way to fail. Of course you need to “know your competition” but there is a big difference between knowing your competition and changing your course because of it. Staying true to your brand and the reasons you opened it in the first place are key – we have from day one stayed 100% true to what we wanted to deliver and what we wanted to build and it hasn’t steered us wrong since, believe in the “WHY” and stay on your path – distractions will always be there, but I believe changing or copying will always leave you one step behind vs. where you need to be – as much as possible, one step ahead.
What does your typical day look like?
I am a total night hawk – I wish (and I have of course tried!) to be more of a morning person, in the fitness industry you don’t really have a choice but I would say when I am not in studio, my wakeup is around 8AM (I know, I know that is not early!). I walk my two dogs to grab a coffee or a smoothie from Crown Flora and do a minimum of 2-3 hrs of planning / strategizing/emails etc. I like to “time batch” so mornings are for that, early afternoons I usually have meetings with the team or potential partners and the evenings are spent in the studio. I find time batching SO productive, you can even do it by choosing certain days a week to do certain things. I usually get home around 8:30/9:00 PM and have a glass of red with my husband and dogs!
What morning routines or evening rituals do you have to help you stay balanced?
Definitely being with my dogs, I have two so there is no room for holding a phone or being distracted, it is all them. I find it extremely grounded to wake up and not immediately cling to the phone or social media. Our little routine definitely grounds me for the day. In the evening it is usually a face mask (obsessed with May Lindstrom) a glass of wine and my guilty pleasure…The Bachelor.