Today we’d like to introduce you to Lena Rakijian.
Lena, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
I’m the Founder & CEO of VERVE Studios – a cycling studio and on demand fitness streaming experience located in Del Mar with a new San Diego location opening Spring 2021. I fell in love with indoor cycling over ten years ago when I took a spin class at a local gym in my hometown of Carlsbad, CA. My instructor had pink hair, shiny cycling shoes, and big energy. She partied on the bike to classic rock and created a space for us to show up, move our body, and be ourselves. I thought to myself, “I would love to teach this one day”. At the time, I was a NASM certified Personal Trainer and I was applying to graduate schools to become a Registered Dietitian. I was incredibly passionate about nutrition and exercise science and I knew I wanted to coach people to find joy, strength, and connection through movement and a healthy lifestyle. I moved to NYC for a graduate program in nutrition and public health at Columbia University. After arriving in NY a friend of mine took me to a SoulCycle class in the original upper west side studio. The moment I clipped in, heard the music and the voice of the instructor, my love for indoor cycling was reinvigorated. Right away, I got a job at the front desk of SoulCycle E 83rd St and began riding 6-7 classes per week. Riding a bike became my mental and physical release. I loved feeling so immersed in the music, movement, and motivation with every class. After completing graduate school, I moved to Boston and started my career as a Registered Dietitian at a Boston-based hospital.
I also landed my first instructor job at a local cycling studio and started teaching 7-10 cycling classes per week. Not too many instructors were teaching classes to the rhythm at the time and the boutique fitness scene was just getting started so as a new instructor, I was able to contribute immensely in a fast-growing fitness start-up environment. After a few months of teaching, I became Director of Talent for the company and started recruiting instructors and training them to lead classes at multiple studio locations. I trained 30+ instructors many of whom are instructors to this day at top studios all over the U.S. and UK. In 2016, I moved home to San Diego to be closer to my family and friends – I was ready for a new chapter in my life. I decided to open a cycling studio that instantly felt like your favorite place and community in the world the moment you walked in with the brilliant instructors and a staff that goes above and beyond for our people. After almost two years of dreaming and planning, VERVE Studios opened in January 2019. VERVE Studios is known for its exceptional and experienced instructors, an extraordinary level of customer care, and a community unlike anyplace else. We are a welcoming and inclusive space where we went every individual to feel seen, supported, celebrated, and connected.
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
The road has been far from smooth. After just one year in business, COVID-19 shutdown my business operations and I had to do everything in my power to keep leading my team and supporting our clients. We closed our doors in March 2020, rented out all our bikes and started streaming classes virtually from our living rooms and studio. In May 2020, we launched VERVE On Demand so our members could subscribe and gain access to our virtual classes anytime, anywhere. In July 2020, we moved our entire operation outdoors and launched VERVE On The Lot to create a safe space for people to workout and have human connections with others during the pandemic. We just celebrated our two years anniversary and I am so grateful for every mountain and hill climb because my team and community are stronger than ever now. If we can grow through this year, we can grow through anything!
Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
VERVE Studios is a cycling studio and on demand fitness experience founded in Del Mar, CA. We offer our signature VERVE CYCLE classes outdoors, branded apparel, at-home VERVE bike rentals and purchases, and our own VERVE On Demand streaming service. VERVE Studios is known for its exceptional and experienced instructors, an extraordinary level of customer care, and a community unlike anyplace else. We are a welcoming and inclusive space where we went every individual to feel seen, supported, celebrated, and connected. When people step into VERVE, they describe it like find their home, their safe space, and a place where everyone is genuinely welcoming and is excited to be a part of your journey.
Any big plans?
We’re opening a new location in Spring 2021 in North County San Diego.
- 1st Class $20
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: thevervestudios.com
- Instagram: instagram.com/thevervestudios
- Facebook: facebook.com/thevervestudios