Flywheel Sports seeks to change our perception of getting fit

As Flywheel Sports prepares to open its third indoor cycling and barre studio in the Bay Area this fall, Tamara Odinec is finding it hard to contain her excitement about the New York-based company’s growth potential.

“The sky is the limit for us,” says Odinec, the company’s chief marketing officer. “Our revenue is up 50 percent year over year, our customer base is up 75 percent. We are growing rapidly as our concept has really resonated. There is a lot of opportunity out there both in our existing markets as well as new markets.”

Flywheel launched in New York in 2010 and recently opened its 35th studio in Woodland Hills, California. Plans are in the works to open at One Market Street in downtown San Francisco this fall and additional studios are planned in other parts of the country for the 1,100-employee company.

“Our cycling stadium is somewhere between 65 and 70 bikes,” Odinec says. “There are generally three tiers of bikes. The instructors teach to a custom playlist and we have proprietary in-stadium technology where riders can view their performance on the bikes.”

TorqBoards provide an opportunity for riders to see how fast they are going and the resistance they are encountering on their ride, as well as a total power score.

“If riders want to, they can opt in and participate on the board and compete with others in the room to see how they stack up and push themselves for a more challenging workout,” Odinec says.

If you prefer to just focus on your own personal growth and not think about what others are doing, you can do that too.

“We have a broad spectrum of riders from all different backgrounds and ages,” Odinec says. “Boutique fitness is on the rise. People are leaving their gyms looking for a more high-touch experience that is customized to what they want. That’s where we have really found success.”

Attention to detail
Success at each new studio requires a disciplined approach to finding instructors who believe in the Flywheel philosophy, says Odinec.

“We’re looking for people who believe in our brand and in our mission,” she says. “We are all about empowering people and helping them achieve their goals. We’re on a mission to improve peoples’ lives and we look for instructors who are genuine and believe in that mission and want to connect with customers.”

If you want your business to provide a high level of customer service and attention to detail, you need to find people who are leaders with the discipline to learn what they need to know to provide that service and then be able to inspire others to work with them to make it happen.

“It’s really just having the right experienced professionals assessing the talent and when you get people who are used to managing and recruiting to drive that process, you can really be effective,” Odinec says. “We’re able to use our existing network of instructors to help us recruit and train, which is a huge asset. You have best-of-class instructors who take a lot of pride in being able to do that. They help make sure that everyone understands that the customer experience is a centerpiece for us.”

Find ways to connect
Technology is another key to what Flywheel Sports is all about. It helps make check-in for riders a seamless process so that they come in and get to their workout as quickly as possible.

“We’re always looking for new ways to connect with our customers to make sure the experience is personalized and customized,” she says. “We’re thinking about the end-to-end customer experience from when they walk in the door to when they leave and how we can make that journey as streamlined as possible.”

Flywheel has an app that allows riders to access their data and dashboard information at any time and Odinec says new innovations are always being sought. But that doesn’t mean cost is irrelevant.

“Just because you’re providing a great customer experience in studio and being customer-minded does not mean that you can’t do things in a cost-effective fashion,” she says. “We have check-in computers or tablets at the front desk. It doesn’t cost that much and it’s super-efficient for our customers. We have chalkboards that engage customers from a marketing standpoint so they can see what the schedule is. That customer service is where we focus our energy.”

In the end, the goal is to help customers get to where they want to be.

“The idea of being differentiated is critical,” Odinec says. “Not just being able to state your difference, but truly being different.”