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👩‍🔧 "Transforming The Studio Experience to At-Home"

The Consumer VC

Photo by Josh Calabrese / Unsplash

Host: Mike Gelb
Guest: Helaine Knapp | Founder & CEO | CITYROW
Category: Biz & Tech | 👩‍🔧 Founder Stories

Podcast’s Essential Bites:

[6:30] “Nothing appealed to me about rowing. […] But the more I read about it, the more I realized how good it was for you. […] It was low impact […], it was really compact, it was perfect for a HIIT workout, which is what I’ve always wanted as someone who wants to torch calories and lose weight. […] So it really wasn’t that I personally fell in love with sitting on a rowing machine. It was that I needed something that did not exist. I needed that high intensity workout and that group camaraderie that I was really falling in love with as a consumer, but I needed something that was a little bit more intelligently designed and was gonna keep my body safe, while I was gonna do all of these unbelievably fun workouts.”

[12:35] “We actually were strongly considering opening up locations in Boston and DC. […] But I could not get over one fact. And that was, how am I going to pay the general manager of a small boutique fitness studio […] enough to want to wake up at 4.30 in the morning […]? I knew our economics and we couldn’t pay someone that much money. So then I started exploring, […] how do you really incentivize someone? […] I just fell in love with the idea, when the company wins, we all win. So I […] explored other ways that grow the brand where we could really share the growth. […] I had […] 217 unresponded emails [about] franchising and people have written to me over the years [about] franchising the business […]. So I saw a really cool opportunity to let people be a part of CITYROW’s growth and build community.”

[19:24] “I didn’t start this company to just open brick and mortar studios. I started  CITYROW, because I knew there has to be a better and smarter way to work out. We’re not limited by one modality or one category. […] As a brand, it feels very important to meet the customers where they are. We are already meeting them in studios, which is great, but also can meet them at home. And we wanna be able to provide an opportunity to people that need a better and smarter way to work out to do so. […] We launched our MVP of the [CITYROW Go] app in April of 2018 and the first rower a few months later.”

[22:35] “If there is one thing that I am taking out of Covid, it’s that our society is pretty unhealthy and people need to actually focus a lot more on their health and wellness. So, I’m hopeful that we are gonna be welcoming in millions of people into the fitness world that have never been here before, both in studios and online. […] It’s been obviously very challenging for our studios nationwide this year […]. But I think that the spotlight that this has put on our society to be healthier is going to actually pay back in dividends over time.”

[25:24] “I moved really quickly on doing a bunch of convertible notes over the years. And that’s how I raised money for probably […] five years. A series of convertible notes. Super easy, friends and family, great Angels over the years. And I took a lot of money that way. That’s how we built the company […]. That and strategic partnerships with manufacturers.”

Rating: 🍎🍎🍎

🎙️ Full Episode: Apple | Spotify
🕰️ 34 min | 🗓️ 03/16/2021
✅ Time saved: 32 min