Founder Focus: Hilary Rowland at Boom Cycle
LinkedIn is awash with ‘Golden Rules’ for starting a business but one that rears it’s head, again and again, is ‘DON’T GO INTO BUSINESS WITH FAMILY/YOUR PARTNER/A SIBLING’. Fortunately, Hilary, the Co-Founder of Boom Cycle, ignored that rule.
We caught up with Hilary to find out whether she has any regrets…
WHAT WAS YOUR EUREKA MOMENT?
When I moved from NYC to London in 2004 and realised the spin offering in London was seriously lacking. I couldn’t believe there was so little on offer in such a great city. I thought, “I want to create a ‘spin-gym’ – a place that offers great spin conveniently every day.” There was a gap in the market, but it was totally selfish because I wanted it to benefit myself.
HOW DID YOU KNOW BOOM CYCLE WOULD WORK?
I did some market research and spoke to a bunch of people about the idea. Then we tested the concept in our first location in Shoreditch in 2011. The studio was down a back street with cheap rent and we only spent £60K on the build. We closed it in the end because eventually it just wasn’t up to par with our newer locations. However, it proved the concept enough to get investment and got our foot in the door.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE SOMETHING THINKING OF STARTING THEIR OWN BUSINESS?
Get a partner! It will be long days and nights and you will need someone in the same boat as you to be able to ask if you have lost your mind or not. I believe myself and Robert (co- founder and also husband) were very smart doing this together as a couple. I cannot imagine how hard it would be for anyone not your partner in business to stick around while you put all your time, energy and money into a business. It has become our child. Boom Cycle comes first.
DID YOU HAVE A MENTOR?
I have had so many great influences in my life. So many strong people who have taught me so much. I believe I am mentored by all my amazing friends who I learn from and am in awe of every day. Also, my mother, Cool Jule – is the ultimate party host. She taught me a lot.
WHAT IS THE MOST WORTHWHILE INVESTMENT YOU’VE MADE?
My ‘Soul Education’ and Boom Cycle. I am so glad I travelled and saw the world while modeling. Moving around to different countries, making a fun life over and over again in different cities from scratch without knowing anyone, exploring new places and perspectives and types of people and finding independence at a young age are all lessons I believe serve me on the daily. I learned then how true it is that anything is possible and the world is as beautiful as it is scary.
And Boom Cycle, of course – it is something that teaches me continuously as it grows continuously. It gives more than it takes, but it presses me to stretch to new heights to uncomfortable levels more than I can convey. Every time I think I can’t do more, learn more, be more, it helps me find a way. The relationships I have built with people through Boom Cycle are deep and meaningful and so much fun.
WHAT ONE FAILURE ARE YOU GLAD YOU EXPERIENCED?
Back in 2009, I had a fall on a ski trip which resulted in me needing reconstruction surgery on my left knee. I had to take a few months off modeling and the owner of my agency suggested that I wait to have the surgery as it could negatively affect my career.
I went ahead and had the surgery and low and behold it was the start of the beginning of the end of my modeling career. Taking the time off for two two-month periods really slowed down the momentum.
In all honesty, I had no business being on a mountain with my feet attached slick slats of wood when I needed my body for work, but I’m glad I made the decision to have the surgery because it lead me to the place in my life where I was ready to start Boom Cycle. Who knows what would have happened if I had continued that career. I’m happy where I am now.
WHAT IS THE BOOK YOU RECOMMEND THAT EVERYONE READS?
The Red Tent by Anita Diamsnt is a book I enjoyed a lot. I could not put it down and it really took me to another place and time.
WHAT’S YOUR PLAN B?
I feel like for me, now, we would just be talking about ‘the next thing’ rather than ‘plan B’. I feel like Boom Cycle is officially a thing. It’s been 7 years. Even if we were to sell the company now, Boom Cycle still happened. We have still built something that matters to a lot of people and that is a serious achievement that cannot be taken back. What’s next? After a few more glorious years living the Boom? Who knows! I’ll wait to be dazzled when the time comes. I think first, whenever Boom Cycle and I part ways, I’ll need a long vacation which will include many new and exciting destinations.
WHAT COMMON INDUSTRY ADVICE DO YOU DISAGREE WITH?
I always hear ‘never go into business with a family member’ and that’s one thing I disagree with. Rob and I started Boom Cycle together and I wouldn’t change a thing, we love working together, building this awesome brand and its community!