Editor's Note: This interview took place prior to the Coronavirus. Please still check out Julie's site and social media to purchase gift certificates, take online classes, and learn all about how to support local businesses right now!
If you've taken local spin classes in Hoboken, you've definitely been to Hoboken's first all-spin studio, Prime Cycle. And odds are, you've taken (or been waitlisted for!) one of Julie's classes. Fun fact, Prime Cycle was one of our VERY first LH Hook-Up vendors and still remain one of our most popular deals! Julie, not only teaches a super fun and challenging class, but she's the owner of the studio and a second business, plus a wife and mom of two teens! Learn all about the woman behind this local fave and be sure to give Prime Cycle an Instagram follow here.
Let’s start at the beginning, how did you get into spin and when did you decide that you wanted to own a spin studio?
My sister begged me to take a spin class for about 5 years and I was like, “hell no, why would I want to be in a dark, loud, crowded, hot room with a bunch of strangers on a bike that goes nowhere.” But then, on October 25, 2012, a few days after Hurricane Sandy, in order to help me get out of a funk, she dragged me to a Soul Cycle class (yes, Soul) and, literally, in that class I was like- “this is it- this is the one time in my life I am enjoying exercise.” After taking about 10 classes, I would ride thinking how much I wanted to lead a class. I wanted to curate music and show people that fitness can be more fun than they could ever imagine. After about 100 classes, I realized my calling was to instruct. We would need a chapter of a book to get to how I became an owner of Prime, but basically I was fortunate to be a part of a plan to bring a high end indoor cycling studio to our incredible square mile and I jumped on it. The past 5 years have been life changing for me.
Be honest, how often would you work out if you didn’t have Prime? Do you do other things to stay in such great shape besides spin?
It’s funny because I ask myself that same question almost every day! I didn’t find fitness until I was in my 40's, so there were three decades where I was kind of lazy. But I guess if I REALLY thought about it- maybe I would workout 2-3 times a week if I didn’t have Prime. I do NOT do any other exercise. I only exercise when I teach which is 5 times a week, (sometimes more, if subbing) but I do stick to a pretty healthy diet because of food allergies and sensitivities. It’s easier to do things when those things make you sick.
What is your funniest mom fail moment?
Probably need another chapter, but my funniest (though this might sound more like child abuse than funny) is giving my son (who recently discovered he has a massive gluten sensitivity) a GIANT bowl of totally gluten cereal. His doctor said to try and put more fiber in his diet, so I looked for cereals that were high in fiber but neglected to check if it actually had gluten. He’s ok, but wow, that's a story my family teases me about often…
You actually are an entrepreneur times two owning and running both Prime Cycle and also a large and successful media company. What drives you as an entrepreneur and what do you hope your children take away from watching mom work so hard?
Happiness drives me. I love both of my careers. Sure, there is stress in both, especially the media company, but I kind of thrive on the adrenaline of it all. But the happiness is the key. I spent 15 years not owning my own businesses and often felt betrayed by those I worked so hard for. I watched others have joy and success and freedom largely in part because of my hard work, and my countless hours being away from my children when they were young. So, one day I just decided I had had enough and knowing the risks can bring me happiness and freedom is all I needed. I am truly hoping Jacob (18) and Ella (14) are seeing how passion can drive success and happiness. There are days I say to them (or text them) that I feel like I am failing as a Mom and they always respond with love and laughs, so I am hoping all this hard work is inspiring them and also making them feel loved.
Speaking of your children, you have two teenagers. One who is off to college next year, and another who is outspoken about her own medical adversities and advocates for others with her same condition. As you watch them become independent young adults, what is your proudest mom takeaway?
I teared up just hearing this question. I said this in a post last week when Jacob turned 18... the fact that our children constantly tell us how lucky they feel, how grateful they are for their lives, and how loved they feel is truly what makes me feel like I raised them right. They are so special. My heart is aching about Jacob leaving for college. He is such a big bright light in our house. I cannot imagine him not here, but I know he is going to be ok. And Ella, well she just blows me away every second of her life. 8 hours of spinal surgery and she never skipped a beat. I’m just really proud of their strength, their capacity to love life and everyone in their lives, and their spirit to make the world a better place.
When you get a break from running two businesses, what are your favorite local date night spots to unwind at?
My husband and I do date night every Friday and we have been doing that since Jacob was born 18 years ago. We usually walk to the corner of 14th and Washington and stand there for 5 minutes debating where to have dinner. The favorites are Baja, Bin 14, The Cuban, Otto Strada or if we feel like getting in the car- we love Greek Taverna in Edgewater. We keep it local and kind of mellow but our lives are soooooo crazy that sometimes just sitting alone at dinner is exactly what we need/want.
We don’t want to pick at old wounds, but the closing of your uptown location was a difficult time for you. Now that you are far past it and your downtown location is thriving, what is the biggest business lesson you learned from that?
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right? Kind of became my default mantra. That situation was just horrible. My biggest lesson, honestly, is every business owner MUST have a good lawyer. There is so much liability in any business and having smart experienced lawyers on your team is vital.
What is your favorite thing about raising a family in Hoboken?
There is so much! But my favorite thing is the size of our town. When my kids were little, my nanny could walk them everywhere they needed to go or at that time take a quick $5 taxi (now $7-$8 uber!). Now that my kids are older, they can walk everywhere they need to go and I feel they are totally safe while doing it. Truly one of the best parts of our magical square mile.
Prime Cycle is one of our favorite classes in town. What do you think makes Prime different than others?
We want everyone who comes to Prime Cycle to feel like our friend...a true member of our community. I mean, our Instructors are top-notch, that’s for sure, but it is our goal to make each and every person who walks through that door know that there is zero judgement in our studio. We are all on a wellness journey and that journey is a hell of a lot more fun when you feel good about yourself in our classes.
A day in the life of Julie…Go!
5am-6am wake up with my mind racing. Check my email and send a few dozen based on what’s on mind. Check class attendance, Instagram, and Facebook in case I missed anything fun while I was sleeping, ha!
7am, I start arguing with Jacob to get up and out of bed. Then, I help Ella as she gets ready for school.
8am leave the house to walk Ella to school. Pick up egg white bites from Starbucks for a high protein breakfast. (but, only eat one)
8:15am drop off Ella, walk to Prime, call my Mom
9:15am teach a class
10am eat my other cold egg white bite, head home to shower, and get ready for work
11am take ferry to office
11:30 start meetings, countless emails, zillion texts, for both businesses
1pm eat lunch usually Dig Inn or a salad while in a meeting
More meetings, more emails, more calls, more texts, put out all sorts of work fires for both businesses
3pm FaceTime with Jacob and Ella so I know their afterschool plans
6pm order dinner via Seamless to be waiting at home for family
7pm head home while doing emails, texts, calls
7:30 family dinner (unless kids were too hungry and ate without me) Get the download on everyone’s days
8-10pm catch up on shows with Ella- we like to watch The Bachelor, This Is Us, and The Good Doctor
10pm Ella off to sleep… Jacob locked in his room (as most 18 year olds would be)
10-11pm- if I can stay awake, more emails, texts calls and catch up on social media until I fall asleep with my phone in my hand. But, try to say I love you to my husband, Seth, before that happens.
Wow, my life is boring!