Interview with Melissa Schoffer Farber, SoulCycle’s Senior Director of Legal Affairs
To describe New York-based SoulCycle as a company offering indoor cycling classes is a serious understatement. While SoulCycle does tout 90 locations in the US and Canada, with a growing international presence, the business has morphed from an indoor cycling company into a powerhouse lifestyle brand. The brand focuses on redefining health and happiness through unique mind-body-soul experiences. A hefty portion of SoulCycle’s business is its retail offerings, and its loyal following avidly deck themselves in its stylish apparel. We sat down with Melissa Schoffer Farber, SoulCycle’s Senior Director of Legal Affairs, to learn more about the brand.
1. Melissa, can you tell us about SoulCycle?
SoulCycle has taken the fitness world by storm. What started as an indoor cycling class has grown into so much more! At its core, SoulCycle provides riders (this is how we refer to SoulCycle clients) with a candlelit sanctuary where they can emerge feeling better, stronger and inspired. Founded on the belief that fitness could be fun, while also offering the best in hospitality, SoulCycle has fostered an amazing community of loyal fans. Since 2006, SoulCycle has continuously grown and expanded its reach, evolving into a lifestyle brand. In terms of retail, SoulCycle was at the forefront of the athleisure market when it opened the first studio 12 years ago. From day one, fashion has been an integral part of the brand, selling apparel inside the studios before expanding into e-commerce in 2010. Currently, SoulCycle produces at least 12 retail collections each year.
2. Can you tell us about your role at the company and areas of focus?
I joined SoulCycle as their first in-house attorney in 2013. I’ve watched the company grow from 11 studios to 90! My role like the company itself has certainly evolved over the years. But, I now spend the majority of my time focused on protecting and developing the brand. This means working closely with the business teams on matters of intellectual property, advertising/marketing, and retail, among others.
3. You can’t walk down the streets of New York City without seeing people decked out in SoulCycle apparel. How did SoulCycle make the transition from an indoor cycling fitness company to a lifestyle brand?
I think this happened organically as riders fell in love with the brand. They were excited to wear clothing bearing the SoulCycle name and logos, and were eager to find ways to incorporate the energy of SoulCycle into their lives, inside and outside the studios.
4. We see that SoulCycle has collaborated with apparel and accessory designers as well as other brands. Can you tell us about a collaboration that you have worked on?
I’d love to! One of the first collaborations I worked on with SoulCycle, was with Shopbop, in 2014. It was a big moment for the brand as it was a retail offering outside the studios. It was exciting to work together as a collaborative team to bring this opportunity to life, and looking back, I see how that teamwork and camaraderie set the stage for future work – creating a strong and cohesive relationship between Legal and Retail, important for any company.
5. What is the most exciting part of working at SoulCycle?
That energy I spoke about earlier which comes out of those magical studios – inspiring you to be the best version of yourself. I’m fortunate to work somewhere where I can disappear into that candlelit sanctuary (during a work-day!) and I do not take it for granted. It’s exciting to work for a company that is focused on making people feel their best, physically and emotionally, on and off the bike!