With Alicia Keys, Jennifer Aniston, Gwyneth Paltrow and Emma Stone among its fans, fitness guru Taryn Toomey’s mindfulness-oriented workout brand The Class has found a home in L.A.
Opening in Santa Monica on September 15, The Class’s chic new physical location is the second after NYC. It joins Toomey’s online workout program that launched just prior to the pandemic, and indicates confidence in consumers’ return to IRL workouts.
Cult workout craze The Class was first launched by Toomey in 2013 and started with its studio in New York, where Toomey is based. But with buzz boosted by a devoted celebrity following, her teachers would hold sold-out classes at various locations around L.A. In the summer, it held Santa Monica Pier classes across three weekends, selling out in under an hour each time. The Class also attracts attendees to its various retreats held at upscale resorts in locales such as Mexico and upstate New York.
The workout is especially known for being “NYC’s most emotional workout,” encouraging participants to scream at the top of their lungs while working out, which Gwyneth Paltrow called an “illuminating” and “incredible” experience during an In Goop Health talk with Toomey.
Wellness influences can be found in the new space, including crystals and design elements focusing on the phases of the moon. The Class is a favorite among the celebrity set for combining the calming aspects of an upscale yoga studio with the body-sculpting intensity of a Barry’s workout, featuring both burpees and meditation.
Toomey also had the foresight to develop The Class’s online workout program, launching it in January 2020, just three months before the pandemic drove consumers to online workout programs during the lockdown.
According to McKinsey, spending on fitness apps increased 10% during the pandemic after downloads of health and fitness apps increased by 27% in the first four weeks of the pandemic.
“If that digital platform was not created, I don’t think we would have a business right now,” said Toomey.
Now, she said her clients’ preferences are an “interesting combo,” with use of online and attendance to in-person classes “half and half now.”
“Some days, they want to stay home and they just want to drop down for 45 minutes in their pajamas pre-work or after work, [while] sometimes they feel the energy of the group is the support that they need in that moment,” she said.
She said the online classes have also helped attract people in-studio, with attendees from “all over the world” showing up to New York classes.
“They say, ‘I came here to take the class after doing it digitally for X amount of years, and I just wanted to experience it in person,’” she said.
The design concept of the new studio is “a visual experience of moving from dark to light,” said Toomey. “The ways we bring the lights up and down very much mimic that inner journey we’re creating.” She described the journey as a sense of being in a “womb.”
For its investment in IRL initiatives, the brand is also “scaling up” its retreats and events. Toomey said there aren’t any additional location plans, for the time being. “It’s a lot to build a physical structure,” she said. “We can reach so many more people through the digital platform, and then from there, build out what the brick-and-mortar and physical touchpoints are.”