What drove you to create Spiked Spin?
I’d been taking spin classes for a long time and teaching for a few years. I realized that I was always the only one or one of few Black women in the room. The same held true among my friends and family. I was the only one working out. For a while, I just didn’t understand why, but then I decided that I needed to fill this void. There should be a space that is open and welcoming for minorities.
Once you decided you wanted to fill the gap, how did you take things from idea to reality?
When I first noticed the void in diversity, one of the first things that came to mind was the music. Music is the driving force behind almost everything we do, from which clubs or parties we choose to our brunch spots. We’re always looking for a certain vibe, which is very closely tied to the music. That is, in the simplest form, what I knew I wanted to create through cycling with Spiked Spin.
My friends had been asking to come to classes but I was teaching at private locations. I started hosting my own classes so they and others who wanted to experience hip-hop cycling could attend. I wasn’t trying to start a business initially. As I learned more about health and wellness in the minority community, I realized that the conversation is much more important and goes much further than a hip-hop cycling class. Spiked Spin evolved into a business from there.
What was the moment when it clicked that your idea was in fact a business? What adjustments did you have to make to execute on that?
I have to be honest. Spiked Spin is almost two years old and I didn’t start looking at it as a business until about a year and a half in. Because I’m so passionate about it and acknowledge that it’s necessary, I was operating out of a space of love and simply putting one foot in front of the other each day. The passion and love still remain, but I’m much more strategic and proactive about the way I do things. I had to adjust my mindset to think about the entirety of the service that I provide and brand I’ve created. That’s being considerate of the in-class experience, pricing and consistent branded messaging, aiming for cohesion across all elements to reach profitability in the long term.
As much as Spiked Spin is about fitness, there is a broader Spiked lifestyle. People who don’t take your classes rep Spiked in different ways. What was your strategy for expanding the brand beyond cycling while making sure that people understand what it is at its core?
I’m trying to change the mindset around what a lifestyle brand is. How does an entity consider itself a lifestyle brand and not incorporate health and wellness? To me, it’s such an essential part of a lifestyle that they are one in the same. That has helped me drive awareness that living a #SpikedLifestyle is beyond taking a class. Living a #SpikedLifestyle is being unique, authentic and genuine. It’s about giving 100% to whatever you’re doing. But I’m hoping that you’re also giving 100% to your health and wellness so you can operate at your maximum capacity.
I typically just use Spiked in messaging without the Spin. I want to define what the Spiked brand stands for, how it should make you feel. That helps people understand any extensions of it, whether a Spiked class, a Spiked brunch or even a Spiked seminar, are based on the same principle.
How does living a #SpikedLifestyle fit into the movement of self-love and self-care?
Working out is a very personal thing. It does not benefit anyone else. The endorphins that are released while working out bring joy and happiness to you only. It is a full commitment to yourself making the tie into self-love and self-care seamless. We’re willing to give ourselves and our time to so many other things, except this one that solely benefits you.
Everyone who knows you would say you have amazing energy and share it with those around how. How do you maintain such high positivity?
Two things. I’m very spiritual. I pray and talk to God second to second. It’s extremely important for me to remain in constant communication with my higher power. I believe in the strength of that connection. When I’m feeling down or have a bad day, I acknowledge that I’m blessed in so many ways and that to let any one situation take me to a negative place fully is almost an insult. It’s not that I don’t experience bad moments, but I’ve learned to see them as just that, moments in the grand scheme of a life that is really amazing when I take a step back. God has blessed me immensely and I know that I haven’t even scratched the surface of what He has for me. Staying in that place of gratitude helps me stay positive and honestly overwhelms me at times.
About three years ago I listened to an audiobook of The Secret which really spoke to my spirit, too. I’m a very self-empowered person and The Secret reminds you to take ownership of your feelings and energy. It put the onus on me to be responsible for the person that I am in the world. I want people to feel happy around me because I want to feel happy around people.
You’re preparing to cut back on teaching. What do you look forward to most about the transition?
I love teaching, so I will always do it. But I also acknowledge that I’m running a business and I need to step into that role fully. If I’m always in the studio, I can’t be in the places I need to be having the conversations I need to have. Hiring staff is a natural growth strategy. I want to empower more people to understand and share what this movement is about through their willingness to support their students. Also, no business can run with one person and scale. In order for me to grow Spiked Spin, I need to seek help. I consider it a beautiful thing that other people will be able to grow with us on this journey.
What elements of Spiked Spin must remain consistent as the class experience is led by someone else?
The number one thing I’m looking for when interviewing is authenticity, compassion and passion for the betterment of people. These are things you can’t fake and if you try, I spot it immediately. No matter if I’m the instructor or someone else is, when in a Spiked class, you will know that we care about you and are there to help you with your journey on and off the bike.
You’re living the 9-5 and 5-9 life at an intensified level because you have a standing commitment five days a week. How do you balance it all?
For a long time, I didn’t realize that I was doing anything exceptional. I was simply rolling with the punches. Being a self-motivated person is a huge asset, I’d even say necessity, for anyone who wants to build something. There are days when no one supports you, gets it or cares, but there has to be something inside of you to keep your drive.
Purpose also helps me keep my priorities in order. I know Spiked is much bigger than Briana. If I don’t feel like going to teach a class, there is someone I cannot let down. There is a race and generations to come who need this more than I need to go to happy hour.
Lastly, I’m very protective of my space. Everyone who I allow into my space and whose space I desire to be in is equally as positive and driven as me. We are all productive and supportive of one another.
What has been your proudest moment thus far on your Spiked journey?
I can’t point to one, but I’m proudest when genuine support flows to me. I can’t express how much it means to me that someone takes even one second to understand what I’m doing and then appreciate it and realize that it’s bigger than a cycling class.
I do remember doing a series of testimonial videos with people who come to my classes. One girl completely broke down and explained to me how Spiked Spin has really helped her beyond the bike by stretching her beyond anything she thought she was capable of. That was confirmation for me that this is resonating and necessary.
What are three of your favorite songs for a Spiked Spin class?
Recently, Pharrell & Rihanna “Lemon” and ASAP Ferg & Nicki Minaj “Plain Jane.” A Spiked Spin cult classic for people who have been riding since the beginning is O.T. Genasis “Push It”, but the remix with Remy Ma and Quavo. I used to play that all the time, now it’s pretty rare. I do special rides for it.
What is on the horizon for you in 2018?
I don’t like to make announcements until the ink is dry, so I’ll just say expansion and growth.
How do you remain motivated as your strive to achieve your goals?
I have always had very high standards placed on me from my family. My mom and dad demanded excellence and have been excellent to me. That fueled this internal drive within me. My current support system keeps it going. That includes my boyfriend, my best friend and my younger brothers who I want to set an example for. I’ve taken on the responsibility of being a reason why others have no excuses. I’ll take the heat and make the sacrifices so everyone, from the people I love to strangers, can see what is possible.