Jared Kaplan, Founder & CEO of Arrive

Feb 21, 2024

Meet Jared Kaplan, Founder and CEO of Arrive, the flagship studio space and platform for fitness and wellness professionals and their clients located at 129 West 29th Street in NoMad.

1. Tell us about Arrive and the backstory behind the name.

We created our new flagship location on 29th Street to address what we’d identified as four key illnesses that plague the wellness industry: 1) Health outcomes suffer when the professionals who provide services are not supported or on the edge of burnout. 2) Clients benefit immensely — literally heal faster and reach their fitness goals — when they get a high-quality focused session: no distractions, foul odors, or crowds, and when they can receive multiple service types. 3) Space designs for typical fitness and wellness brands tend to merely blast brand identity and overstimulate clients, which most New Yorkers don’t need more of! 4) Most independent trainers and therapists are either tired of working in isolation from their living room or choking underneath the corporate identity of their employer.

So, we put all four together: designed spaces for body and mind, a business incubator so that professionals can thrive with their private practice, and a multidisciplinary space for communities to come together in a space where clients feel good. We’re excited to see trainers and therapists make more money, clients feel like they’ve arrived at wellness, and our inclusive and welcoming space continues to expand as a local hub for wellness in our neighborhood.

The naming process to create Arrive was a fun experience! The old studio name [Studio 26] had been around for 10+ years and didn’t fully nail the vision. It was time for a refresh. At the height of my pandemic couch-hanging, I created an extensive spreadsheet with endless breakdowns of physical, kinetic-sounding words, participles, synonyms, other languages, etc. We hired a marketing team to run our rebrand as I looked at over 40 potential spaces for our new flagship location. I shared with the marketing team everything I wanted the name to represent and inspire, and I knew in my heart that if the name Arrive appeared on their shortlist, we’d be done! Sure enough, it was.

Arrive describes the present moment in a journey. You bring everything from your past into the present, with a vision for where you want to go in the future. The word arrive can encompass multitudes: whether you’re recovering from an injury, getting back to feeling yourself, transforming your body with a trainer, Pilates, or yoga teacher to become the best version of yourself, or creating a business you can be proud of. Aligning your body, mind, and spirit, Arrive is all about that moment of presence and is reflected in the physical design of our space too, thanks, in part, to the incredible work of architect Justin Adamson. As you enter our physical space, your stressful NYC day begins to dissipate as you arrive to work on yourself with expert guidance for what’s next. Clients often say, “It feels like wellness here!” Trainers have a private pro lounge where they can get a break, eat a meal, chat with friends, refresh for their next session, or build their business. Pros feel like they are #MakingMoves and have made it — or arrived — as independent professionals who provide elevated experiences with like-minded peers. The word itself also has an active, light, refreshing, modern feel that is welcoming to all and friendly — just like us! You can arrive to yourself, arrive in your body, arrive at a business you’ve dreamed of, arrive at a community gathering, arrive at a goal, a destination…the possibilities are endless. In a city like NYC, we want everyone to feel as if they’ve arrived!

2. Describe your role as CEO and what do you love most about your job?

In a small business, the role of a CEO is unique and ever-changing. It can shift like a kaleidoscope and demands that I adapt, rigorously apply focus, set priorities, and allocate resources to nurture the needs of the business as we grow. As a fitness and wellness co-working space that cares deeply about our trainers and therapists, my primary role is to steer the vision, support our pros as they run their businesses, and forge the path ahead. Since designing and building our new location, my priorities have specifically focused on sales and marketing with an emphasis on long-term sustainable growth, partnerships, and community connections. As we maximize usage of this location, my energy will shift to strategic growth and expansion. For the day-to-day, I truly love getting to engage our customers. I’ve been called ‘the mayor’ because I joke with them before their session, hear what’s going on in their lives, and trade tips for the best spots in the neighborhood — some of my favorite meals have come from local customer recommendations! Let’s face it, if you dare to run a brick-and-mortar small business in NYC, you better love the characters you get to work with, because you will have stories to share!

3. What sets your brand apart from other studios within the community?

Two things: We are one of a few, if any, truly multidisciplinary spaces with both movement and therapy. Our practitioners range from experts in Pilates to personal training, physical therapy to massage, and everything in between (yoga, craniosacral therapy, sound healing, neurofeedback, fascial stretching, and more). Our wellness spaces for rent are our basic product, and we also make primary our efforts to support the business of our pros, providing them with tools to get more clients, develop their brand, improve time management, enhance self-care, build community, and more. Some people think we’re just a pretty space with a striking plant wall, but I’m proud that there’s a lot more going on here for people to benefit from. We have truly good people here who care about what they do and need support to keep doing it. I just teared up writing that — I love what I do! That energy — the sincere, genuine support of trainers and therapists expressed through thoughtfulness, details, and the crafting of an experience — is hopefully felt throughout the DNA of Arrive when people experience it for themselves. We know what it’s like to be a trainer or therapist trying to make it in the city, so we constantly seek ways to meet our Pros not only where they’re at but also where they want to be.

4. In addition to being a native New Yorker and business owner, you’re also an accomplished dancer and movement specialist with a background in Pilates and personal training. What inspired you to choose this career path?

It found me! I had three major crossroads that got me to where I am. There’s a fierce independence in most queer people, and I think that plays a role in all three of these crossroads. I stumbled into dance in college (hey, Wesleyan dance majors!), which gave me the confidence and agency to come out as a gay man. Dance training and some injuries got me into Pilates and lifting weights to improve performance for me and my performing career — a year later I turned a bad injury into an opportunity to shift careers from non-profit arts administration and became a Pilates teacher and personal trainer. Finally, struggling as a trainer in NYC with celebrity clients but barely making ends meet, I bit the bullet and opened Arrive in 2010 so that trainers like me with a strong private practice — or who wanted to grow one — had a great space to do their thing for themselves. I’m lucky and grateful that I’ve loved what I do in each iteration of my career. In hindsight, I can recognize that my strengths in bringing people together, propensity for integrating disciplines, and passion for great design have come together. It’s been an awesome ride.

 5. For those aspiring to be entrepreneurs in the wellness industry, what professional advice can you share?

I love this question, which nearly no one asks, so thank you! Over the years we’ve seen two major stages that independent wellness pros generally encounter in their careers: for those just starting, being independent can be overwhelming; for more seasoned pros, prioritizing self-care can be difficult to balance alongside a demanding schedule. There are a couple of pieces of advice I’d say generally apply to all of them, but especially aspiring entrepreneurs: Put yourself first, then ask for help. Invest in your education. Say yes to all the opportunities. Learn to sell. Find those who will tell you the truth over what you want to hear. Don’t be afraid to stare your weaknesses cold, in the face, and take steps to improve them. Delegate like your livelihood depends on it because it does! Set aside structured time to work on your business and stick to that schedule. And the biggest one of all: distraction will kill your business faster than any other challenge you may face, so stay focused!

I hope newer trainers take to heart that working in wellness doesn’t have to hurt. One of the untold secrets of the fitness and wellness industry is that experienced trainers and practitioners frequently suffer from burnout. They often deliver subpar sessions due to industry problems that are overlooked, and they struggle to make ends meet. While your favorite trainer or therapist may have all the passion in the world, working in wellness can sometimes dampen that flame. We are here to change that! Since 2010, we have helped propel the practice of our pros, and at the end of 2022 moved into our new facility so we can have a greater impact. For example, we share best practices like these with an in-person gathering we call the ‘Arrive Hive’ on the first Thursday of each month — all fitness and wellness pros are welcome!  There used to be no adequate multidisciplinary spaces for independent trainers and therapists to work with clients, and business advice was hard to come by. We’re determined to improve health with well-designed spaces and support so that pros can thrive in New York City instead of settling for the struggle.

6. When you’re taking a break from the studio, how do you like to spend your time in Flatiron and NoMad? What do you love most about these vibrant communities?

Well, I’m not going to talk about my fitness routine because the bias is too real! I’m a plant guy, so I covet my walks in Madison Square Park for a dose of green to check out what’s blooming, and dog-watching in spring and summer! Or, walking the 28th Street flower markets for an explosion of color to counter the gray. Quick breaks at King’s Street Coffee for neo-soul tunes and great coffee, or the newly opened Bunny & Bro Coffee right across from Arrive to chat with Bobo, the owner, and hear how her new biz is going. A quick run to Le Pain Quotidien for a late breakfast (they know my order by heart, which is such a rare thing I’m grateful for), or sneaking into La Chilaquería for an amazing burrito and café olla. I’m lucky to have a friend whose apartment has a view of Fifth Avenue, so we watch all the parades there. I’ll always say yes to a night out at Cosme for a friend’s birthday because sometimes fancy is where it’s at. Her Name is Han for dinner catch-ups with the besties, Seven Grams Caffé for my man Sharon and the best chocolate chip cookies in town (fight me!) and my go-to oat milk flat white, or shopping at MAISON 10 with a mandatory catch-up with Tom and Henri to find out what is what and hear the best neighborhood gossip. La Pecora Bianca for reliable lunch and dinners, seeing what’s currently up at Fotografiska, or taking out-of-town friends to Chapel Bar or The Portrait Bar. And, if you haven’t looked at the produce at Eataly, you don’t know what fresh produce can look like — it’s insane.

7. Finally, choose three words to describe Flatiron and NoMad.

Vibrant. Eclectic. Diverse.

Header & Thumbnail Photo Credit: Seth Caplan

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