There are ex-Detroit area residents moving back to this region to be a part of its revitalization efforts by starting a business.
Detroit-native Amina Daniels moved to New York and then came back to Detroit to start her entrepreneurial journey in 2013. Shortly after returning to the Motor City, Daniels was involved in a cycling accident which led her to develop a winning business concept as part of the Comerica Hatch Detroit contest.
As last year’s winner, Daniels won $50,000 along with business support from various companies from across the city. Shortly thereafter, I sat down with her to discuss Live Cycle Delight, a contemporary indoor cycling studio which will open in Detroit’s West Village this Fall. It will be the 15th business to open since the contest was launched in 2011.
I recently caught up with Daniels to discuss her entrepreneurial journey since winning last year.
Lee: What’s new since the last time we talked?
Daniels: Well, I’m excited to announce Live Cycle Delight will open this fall at Agnes and Van Dyke in Detroit’s West Village. The last time we talked, I was still exploring the possibility of opening in other locations, but West Village proved to be the best option for me. We’re looking forward to opening in the neighborhood. People want to be able to live, work and play within the neighborhoods and I’m happy to open a business to help with that vision. I’m proud of my roots here in Detroit and I can’t wait to open a business that will help support the local community in West Village and beyond.
Lee: You’re close to your grand opening for Live Cycle Delight. What have the last ten months been like since you won $50k and access to business services?
Daniels: It’s been a whirlwind. It’s been a busy time, in a good way. It’s all new for me and it’s been exciting. It’s been a lot of collaboration with a great support team through Hatch Detroit and its partners to help me connect the dots and get to where I am today.
Lee: What types of partners have provided assistance?
Daniels: All of the partners have been amazing. Of course the funding from Comerica Bank has been a huge catalyst to get things moving and the communications support from Comerica and Franco PR has really helped get Live Cycle Delight off the ground. Honigman has provided counsel and legal services related to trade marking as well as helping me to navigate lease language and negotiate terms. I can’t tell you how good it feels that someone like Honigman has made my business a priority. Hamilton Anderson Associates has been invaluable to me in providing their architectural expertise in both helping me settle on a space and now, during the build out process. And we’re currently working with Mort Crim to produce a 30-second spot for social media and other marketing use.
It’s not easy to open a new business in Detroit by yourself. After winning the contest and working with Hatch Detroit and its partners, organizations are interested in working with me.
Lee: What challenges have you had to overcome and how have you dealt with them?
Daniels: Finding the right location has definitely been the biggest challenge and finding fitting retail spaces continues to be a huge challenge for entrepreneurs overall. Some locations appear to be vacant and appear to be a good fit, but they really aren’t the right space for your business. Negotiating terms with potential landlords also proved to be tricky, which is where I really leaned on Honigman, Hamilton Anderson Associates, and Hatch for advice. Honigman helped with lease terms and Hatch was able to guide me on what type of space I needed and what price points made sense for my business plan.
On a more personal level, I’m still recovering from complications with my 2013 cycling accident. My body is still healing, but I’m pushing through. I often hear people making excuses about why they can’t do something, why they can’texercise. We all have obstacles to overcome and we are all capable of doing more. It’s up to us to push our limits. You can do anything if you put your mind to it and train your mind on new habits.
Lee: Since moving back to Detroit from New York, how would you characterize the entrepreneurial journey? And has it been worth it?
Daniels: It’s been a steady climb and it will continue to be a journey. Opening Live Cycle Delight isn’t the finish line for me. Every ride has checkpoints along the way and I’d say I’m still on the first leg of my journey with a lot to look forward to. Now I’m working on the studio design and preparing for customers. It’s absolutely been worth it and hopefully the journey will never end.
Lee: You will be opening Live Cycle Delight this Fall in Detroit’s West Village. What makes this business unique within the cycling sector?
Daniels: Live Cycle Delight will be the first contemporary indoor cycling studio in Detroit. We are in the design phase now and are working diligently with Hamilton Anderson to create a customized, one-of-a-kind cycle studio. We’re not quite ready to reveal our design plans but they are shaping up to be better than I ever expected!
Aside from the physical design, the studio will be state-of-the-art. It will feature amenities suited for both indoor and outdoor cyclists and really serve as a hub for riders to unite under one roof. We will encourage outdoor riders to use Live Cycle Delight as a start, stop or in-between ride destination and want riders to rehydrate, take a break from a long ride, access the Wi-Fi and engage with other cyclists to really celebrate the love of biking. We will also have a hydrate station filled with cold-pressed juices and healthy snacks available for purchase. We’ll be the only cycling studio in Detroit that sells cold fresh juice from Fresh 101.
Lee: Please describe the overall customer experience.
Daniels: Our mission is to provide an opportunity for participants to find delight through cycling. At Live Cycle Delight, we want our customers to have an experience where working out is fun. We want to build a community where customers are excited to come to the studio and see friends who also may live, work and play in the neighborhood. Live Cycle Delight will be a destination for social fitness with an inclusive workout environment.
When I was recovering and in physical therapy, I saw people with mobility issues and it made me want to make sure my business offered the opportunity for everyone to take a fitness class. There are so many boutique facilities exclusive to certain types of individuals. We want to be very welcoming to all customers and all fitness levels.
Lee: What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs wanting to start a business, but don’t know where to start?
Daniels: I can’t understate how much I’ve learned from organizations that are designed to help entrepreneurs. My advice for aspiring entrepreneurs would definitely be to research different organizations like Hatch Detroit and other business planning,consulting, incubator and accelerator organizations to help guide you through the process. From developing a strong business plan to obtaining funding to launching your business to the public, there are resources out there – you just have to find them.
Of course, I also tell my friends from my alma mater of Clark Atlanta University to come to Detroit and open a business. Actually, that would be my advice to all entrepreneurs looking for a great city to open their business.
Lee: Other thoughts (website, location, etc)?
Daniels: Live Cycle Delight will be located at 8019 Agnes Street in West Village, Detroit.
We will offer three types of indoor cycling classes ranging from 30- to 90-minute sessions with varying intensity levels. TRX is a body weight form of exercising and conditioning classes will be scheduled daily between cycling classes to complement the cardio-intensive cycling. These conditioning classes target the body’s core strength and flexibility to improve balance and reduce injury risk during bike rides. Additionally, the company encourages outdoor bike rides by offering meet-up rides as an introduction to outdoor cycling safety, promoting cycling hubs throughout Detroit and continuing to expose Detroit as a bike-friendly community.
Live Cycle Delight will be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. Cyclists can purchase single-day passes, monthly memberships or single spin classes. TRX Drop-in Delight classes will be offered as well.