Dominik Desbois, the founder of Spin Society, first heard about the ‘boutique fitness movement’ from his wife in 2013. A civil engineer by trade, Dominik became interested in the concept of opening his own indoor cycling studio, and began researching to understand the community around it, and more importantly, why people are so enamoured with cycling in a dark room to upbeat music.
In 2014, Dominik and his wife, Negar, followed their instincts and decided to open Spin Society in Vancouver. Spin Society is a growing collection of boutique indoor cycling studios that focus on empowering and transforming local communities through sweat and endless support. They currently have three locations: Downtown Vancouver, North Vancouver, and their most recent studio in Mount Pleasant, Vancouver.
We had the chance to have a quick chat with Dominik to learn more about why he started the business, how he came across Lending Loop, and what was his funding experience with Lending Loop was like.
How has the boutique fitness industry changed?
When we started Spin Society, we were one of a handful of studios in the Vancouver area.. We had visions for expansion, but also wanted to focus our efforts on the customer experience and the customer journey. Our focus was on who our customers are, why they’re interested in indoor cycling, and how we can make it both fun and challenging for them.
How have you stayed competitive in this industry?
We have stayed competitive by growing organically. What sets us apart from our competitors, is our focus on customer experience. We try and never say no to our customers, regardless of how outrageous their demands may be. Everyone is welcome! We welcome them into our studio as if it’s their home. Our staff and instructors sometimes even welcome customers with a hug. It’s like hosting a party — we try to keep in mind what you should say and how you should act when your guests arrive.
So you currently have 3 locations. How did the expansion happen?
After we opened the first location, we started looking into pockets of smaller communities that are being underserved by large brands. We wanted to stay in the Vancouver area.. We noticed that North Vancouver is booming with newcomers and restaurants are beginning to make their way in. So that was our first expansion site. Similarly, Mount Pleasant is going through a lot of changes, and in 10 years or less we think it will become the neighbourhood for professionals.
For us, building a community is essential. There’s no secret sauce, it’s all about how you make people feel. You have your home, you have your work, and then you have your Spin Society.
How did you come across Lending Loop?
I was just searching online for alternative ways to get capital. Accessing capital to grow our business was one of our biggest challenges. We tried going through the route of traditional lending, but found out it was difficult to get the banks to hear our story and see our business’s potential. We’ve always believed that what we’re doing is exceptional. We’ve experienced 100% growth every year for four years straight, and I’m still at a point where I need to justify my next move to traditional lenders. The method that traditional lenders use is old school, and doesn’t allow small businesses like ours to access the capital we need to grow. At the end of the day, we’re a small business who was looking for someone to take a chance on us.
Has lending loop provided you access to flexible and fair capital?
Absolutely. It was a super easy process, really straightforward. We got access to what we needed without too many hoops to jump through. The customer experience was fantastic and the funding and repayment process went very smoothly. The online dashboard was also easy to use.
What’s next for your business?
Staying the course. For small businesses, accessing capital is hard, and finding the right people to build your business with is a challenge. On the legal side of things, as we grow, it becomes more and more expensive to make changes due to incorporation. So one tip for other small business owners out there is to have a good understanding of what they’re signing. We’re constantly trying to find new markets to expand into, and have a few ideas in mind. But we are also making sure our existing locations are all up-to-date— brand wise, equipment wise, etc.
If you had not come across Lending Loop, what would you have done?
I would have definitely found other alternative lenders. Either found it personally through equity partners or other lenders. I much prefer the term loans that Lending Loop provides because it affords me a good understanding of my business’s financial health, and what I’m expected to pay towards my loan.