A brand that channels your inner cheerleader

Posted: April 26, 2013

L AUREN BOGGI Goldenberg, 35, of Center City, is founder and CEO of Lithe Method, a "cardio-cheer-sculpting" fitness regimen that has evolved into a full-fledged Lithestyle brand with food, "studio-to-street" activewear and a blog, fithiphealthy.com.

Q: How did you come up with the idea for Lithe Method?

A: I was a cheerleader and hurt my shoulder and eventually started teaching Pilates but got bored. I missed my cheerleader routine and started doing my own thing.

Q: What's behind the name?

A: I went to the ballet when I was a young girl and the man sitting next to me said, referring to the ballerinas, "Aren't they lithe?" Lithe is what I wanted to be.

Q: Let's talk about how the business model has evolved. You started as a fitness studio in Northern Liberties in 2005?

A: I started out with nine clients and a beginner's course in 2005, and within a year I had 75 clients. It just grew and grew. So we opened up a shop in Rittenhouse in 2007, and then Old City in 2010, and soon we hope to open a studio in Manhattan.

Q: So how did you get the money to start up and then expand?

A: I borrowed $20,000 from my mother that was supposed to be my wedding money. I didn't have a boyfriend at the time, so I decided to use it to open a studio.

Q: How big a business is this?

A: $3 million to $5 million a year.

Q: What's the biggest challenge you've faced growing the biz?

A: This business has become bigger than me. I don't know if I want to franchise, to keep it brick-and-mortar, or go e-commerce and sell, sell, sell.

Q: Sounds like you've come to a fork in the road.

A: I know I need a business partner, somebody who has knowledge in the fitness world. I need somebody who knows how to access capital and has real business acumen. I'm a creative head and I'm looking for a partner who can do the other things I don't want to spend time on.

Q: Who's the typical customer?

A: It's a woman, Type A, definitely working professional, maybe even a mom, between 22 and 45, with disposable income.

Q: What do workouts cost?

A: Single classes are $22. Some people do plans for five, 10, 20 or 30 classes and pay less per class. I'd say 85 percent of our clients pay a monthly rate of $225.

Q: What separates Lithe from others in the fitness space?

A: It's the workout - cardio-cheer-sculpting. You can max out on every aspect within an hour and achieve amazing results. And it's dance-y and fun. People tell me all the time: "I hated working out and then I found Lithe."

Q: How many employees?

A: We have six full time and 32 instructors are paid per class. Our base pay is $35, and the more-senior instructors are paid $50. If we add in kitchen staff, we've got 50 to 55 people working for us.

On Twitter: @MHinkelman

Online: ph.ly/YourBusiness

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