In conversation with BOOM! Cycle Managing Director Hilary Gilbert

Kentucky-raised Hilary has lived in New York, Los Angeles, London, and Paris, and has been modelling since 2002. Now she is launching a new trendy workout space BOOM! Cycle – an indoor cycling studio in Shoreditch, where she acts as its Managing Director.

G: Tell us about your startup, BOOM! Cycle

H: BOOM! Cycle’s first location is a 2,500 square foot , purpose built, indoor cycling studio on Scrutton Street in Shoreditch. I started BOOM! because:

  • I was sick of working out in cold, boring spaces.  A lot of the indoor cycling classes offered in the gyms I went to were of poor quality.
  • I was so over planning my day around the one or maybe two (if I was lucky) time slots for indoor cycling offered at my gym.

BOOM! is unique because of our instruction, style/décor, the bells and whistles in our studio that help give the full experience (stadium rows in the studio, shoes, lighting, etc.), and the fact that we are the only studio in central London to have the Schwinn AC sport bikes/mpower consoles. As well, our pay by class pricing system sets us apart from gyms giving our patrons more control over their money.  We have partnered up with Henry B of the Outside Collective who painted the murals in our reception area. The Collective will use BOOM! as an exhibition space for their work from time to time.

With respect to the local community, BOOM! will offer an extremely effective and fun work out at convenient times throughout the day.  BOOM! is also active in supporting charity. We just entered two teams in the London Duathlon a few weeks ago and raised money for
MacMillan Cancer Support.

G: What were the biggest obstacles in launching your company, and how did you overcome them?

H: There were many big obstacles from the arduous adventure of planning permission/change of use to keeping control of budgets to finding investment to having to learn about things I would never imagine would be relevant to my business. Everything was overcome with patience and tenacity, but mostly the latter as I am still learning about how to be patient.  I decided when starting the project that I wasn’t going to stop no matter what until it was done. Period.

G: What would you say has been your most memorable moment since launching BOOM! Cycle?

H: My most memorable experiences were:

  • The excitement of how much interest we got whilst looking for investment and having the opportunity to go into business with some talented and wonderfully helpful people
  • Learning to lay bricks and learning to use a needle gun
  • Our first press night when our first ‘class’ took place. That’s when the studio officially became a studio.
  • Building something of such huge stature with my partner, Robert Rowland. (MOST memorable)

G: Can you give us a few ‘Do’s and Dont’s’ for setting up a new company?

  • Do realize that no matter how prepared you are things will come up that you could have never been prepared for. Your biggest strength is being able to adapt and move forward with whatever comes your way.  There is always a solution – you just have to find it.
  • Don’t be discouraged – it is always going to be a challenge. If it was easy, everyone would do it.
  • Don’t pay asking price for most things off the bat-there is almost always room for a little negotiation

G: Why did you choose Shoreditch in launching your startup?

H: We chose Shoreditch because we lived here. When we first started the business we lived in E2 and although we now live near London Fields, we don’t want to be too far from Shoreditch. Shoreditch has such a special vibe of creativity, and the perfect balance of understatement of the right things and over statement of the right things. Our location near Old street tube is also right in the hub of the London cycle community and there is a lot of foot traffic in the neighbourhood.

G: What does the ‘Silicon Roundabout’ have to do to compete with Silicon Valley?

H: First of all, Shoreditch will never be silicon valley and shouldn’t ever try to be. The charm and therefore marketability of Shoreditch lies in its obtuseness and the crazy and wonderful harmony of all its members’ vast uniquenesess. I love the street art painted on the north side of Great Eastern Street that reads,.’Lets Adore and Endure each other’. This statement, to me, is Shoreditch.

G: Who/what are your favourite entrepreneurs/startups in Shoreditch?

H: I love Brick Lane Coffee – come happy /leave edgy-genius, makes me chuckle; Callooh Callay; Casita; Chico Bandito – don’t let the slight identity crisis between Cuban and Mexican fool you – they have amazing food and margaritas, and Taylor Street Baristas.

G: What does the future have in store for Shoreditch?

H: The future of Shoreditch has more to do with the ‘saturation’ of art and the continued development of all the entrepreneurial dreams here in our great neighbourhood.  This will earn Shoreditch a bigger mark on the map, and help achieve recognition for original perspectives in every facet of business.