Indoor cycling studio owners know: It’s all about striking the right balance. For your brand, for your clients … and for yourself.
Ninette Wassef founded Chrome Cycle on that same belief. Today, her Los Angeles studio is thriving, and so is she. Ninette spoke with SD Voyager, relating the full story of her journey from the legal field to the boutique fitness space.
We’re re-sharing that interview on the zingfit blog as part of our Studio Stories to Inspire series:
Q: So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
A: I never intended to make a career out of my love for indoor cycling, but I am so glad I did. I am the founder of Chrome Cycle Studio, the first and only boutique spin studio in the Westwood neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA.
I opened Chrome Cycle in April of 2017 after a long road of creating, planning, and building – and a decision to leave my career as a practicing trial attorney. The choice to transition away from my legal profession and position with a lucrative firm came after some deep soul searching for what I needed to be my next step, and an unquieting desire for balance in my own life.
My passion for indoor cycling – and later, fitness as a whole – would shift from being a passive background activity in my life, to becoming the purpose and mission of my second career.
Without looking back, I worked to develop a brand and environment that not only I believed in, but that my team of instructors, employees, and customers would feel equally motivated to support and promote.
The need for balance in my life became something bigger than myself; it became a goal to provide the outlet for work-life balance and a sanctuary for fitness to those around me with my favorite workout.
While other neighborhoods have great studios, the west side of LA has been in need of a community boutique studio dedicated to athletic indoor cycling for a long time.
As someone who worked extremely long hours and who constantly felt the pressure of a high-stress work environment, the one thing that kept me sane over my many years as a lawyer (besides a nice glass of wine) was my weekly spin classes. I used to hustle out of work and spend time in traffic to get to a gym or studio with a good cycle class.
Often unable to leave early enough from work, I’d be frustrated when I would have to miss class because I didn’t have enough time to get there. Chrome’s location and class schedule has eliminated the need to get across town, making it easier for those with late working hours to get to their workout.
Starting a business and a brand from scratch has been extremely rewarding. Doing it on my own (not to discount the hundreds of helping hands along the way) has been a dream of empowerment.
Over the past year and a half, I’ve watched our classes slowly grow from a handful of people each to a bustling group of sweaty and happy riders. I’ve watched our brand make its presence and truly become the neighborhood studio I dreamed of.
Building a community of riders who genuinely care about each other, our neighborhood, our causes, and the growth of Chrome Cycle Studio has been the most fulfilling part of this entire process.
Q: Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
A: While we enjoy a great reputation and our trajectory for growth continues to climb upward, it certainly has not been a smooth road to get to a year and a half with our doors open.
The first major hurdle we faced was some permitting setback from the City of LA as we built out the studio space, which took half a year longer than expected or budgeted. Starting later than planned and behind schedule, the studio took some time to truly build its presence in the community.
Unforeseen costs are also challenging, and marketing efforts and customer outreach are constant hustles. My amazing instructors have taught me to think and act positively in the face of negativity or adversity, and project positivity to attract it. While daily struggles and challenges will always emerge, Chrome’s growth and our happy customers who have found their home for fitness outshine those challenges.
Q: Please tell us about Chrome Cycle Studio.
A: I am proud to call Chrome Cycle Westwood’s first indoor cycle studio. We have worked hard to create an athletic, HIIT ride that provides a full-body workout, complimented by a crystal clear sound system and enhanced lighting.
Chrome’s carefully crafted signature rides are challenging and exhilarating while being welcoming to riders of all levels. Each 50-minute class features safe indoor cycling techniques, combined with upper body exercises and hand weights in a unique two-part format. Riding to the rhythm of the instructor’s hand-picked playlist, these intense workouts fly by!
Whether you’re new to cycling or an expert rider, Chrome ensures that you will feel stronger, physically and mentally, with every session. Founded on the core principles of hard work, respect, and genuine compassion, we recognize that fitness is not “one size fits all” and we strive to inspire the athlete in every rider with high cardio, endurance building rides.
Slow and thoughtful in the making, the Chrome brand has been carefully executed to draw on only the most positive aspects of indoor cycling, creating a fresh approach to boutique fitness. #bestridewestside
— Ninette Wassef, Chrome Cycle