We were lucky enough to connect with Jillian Sheridan, founder of Eastwood Cycle in Vancouver. A new mama, soon to be owner of 2 cycling studios in Vancouver (their North Shore location is opening very soon), and all around motivated ladyboss, we were eager to pick her brain about how she’s created such an incredible fitness + community space and what she’s learning along the way as an entrepreneur and new mom!
What are you responsible for at Eastwood Cycle?
Everything! We’ve got a fantastic team running the ship but ultimately the success or failure of Eastwood is on me. I have a team of three that directly work with me and report on all aspects of the business: customer service, the ride, sales, marketing, special events, corporate programs, financials, instructor training, etc. It’s my job to work with our team to be constantly reviewing every aspect of Eastwood to see where we can make improvements, adjustments, and changes. I have a background in marketing, so the social media and overall marketing are definitely a focus of mine.
What lights you up about driving the Eastwood Cycle ship?
Having the ability to constantly be bringing new ideas to life. Eastwood has become this cool, creative atmosphere that has attracted so many talented and unique individuals. The vibe truly inspires and drives me to grow our community. We have some really exciting projects in the works right now!
What was the adjustment period like going from your previous business Gold Lemon Creative to Eastwood Cycle? What did you learn about yourself in transition?
It was busy! I loved both businesses but found in the end Eastwood really incorporated everything I loved all in one business. I definitely learned in that transition that the sky is the limit, don’t wait for something to find you - create something you love, focus on that, and put your whole self into it. I always tell my husband… “If you build it they will come."
Starting a business can be wildly exciting and scary at the same time; did fear ever stand in your way? If so, how did you handle it?
My husband is my rock! If there’s ever a time I’ve wavered he’s the first person to push me way out of my comfort zone. Having a strong support system that believes in you is a huge key to success. I’m also really blessed to have this insane group of girlfriends (I’m so proud of them) who are all entrepreneurs and go-getters. We support and help each other in any way we can, it’s always nice to know there’s other women out there fighting your same battles. AND, don’t even get my started on my mom. Life would be a bleak place without her.
What are some of the most surprising connections born from starting Eastwood Cycle?
I feel like I was living under a rock before we opened Eastwood! There isn’t one connection that has been more important than another. All the connections that have happened as a whole have been a wonderful surprise. Eastwood sometimes feels like a hub crawling with entrepreneurs, movers, and shakers. Every time I get to know a new rider I’m now not surprised to find they work for this incredible company or just launched some cool new brand. Riders have become friends, team members, mentors, and people we now work together with on projects. I truly believe in the “your vibe attracts your tribe” attitude.
You have a great presence on social media; do you have any hot tips for other small business owners?
Be yourself, keep things short and sweet, use it as an outlet to express your creativity and build your brand. Does my daily life look like a bright, Moroccan, Zen casa? No! My house is in shambles, sh*t is crazy right now! BUT taking 10 minutes sometimes to create a beautiful photo makes me happy and it resets my mind, especially when I’m in need of a brain boost. Don’t ever over think social media or think of it as a chore, it should be something that’s a quick and easy outlet for you to say “hey, here’s what makes me happy, makes me tick, and makes me laugh."
You have a baby now! Tell us about balancing motherhood with running a successful business? Any advice for other mamas in similar situations?
Our little Gabrielle Grey is still so new to us! As far as any balance in life, we’re still sorting that out. We’re in the process of finding a nanny to help start creating a bit of a routine. Having a nanny doesn’t mean we’ll be spending less time with Gigi, more than anything it will allow us to fully enjoy any down time with her and not be worrying about daily tasks that are important for a clean, healthy home.
With the North Shore location about to open and other projects in the works there’s a lot that needs my attention right now. Planning out dedicated work hours or days has been helpful as well as dedicated mom time where Gigi gets my undivided attention. I’ve found asking for and seeking help is huge, I need to be realistic with myself that I CAN do it all - just not on my own.
Do you have any wild or inspiring stories for potential future entrepreneurs?
On the beach in Sayulita, after one too many margaritas my husband and I dreamt up our vision for Eastwood. We came home, told our families, signed a very long lease on a very expensive space and just went for it. It was terrifying but exhilarating. We both had backgrounds unrelated to spin and were far from experts. However, we DID know that there was a need for it in the city and what we wanted to see in a spin studio (something more than just your average class). Craig has an incredibly demanding career that takes him away from home almost every week. Two days after opening Eastwood he was needed back out east almost full time for five months. It was terrifying taking on this new company all of a sudden without his support. It was also one of the most gratifying experiences tackling daily challenges on my own (with an incredible team) and conquering so many fears as a new business owner. We saw success very early on - knowing that my 15 hour days, dedication, and commitment to learn and grow as a person and a boss was paying off was incredible. Learn to have faith in yourself, always trust your instincts (with people and business), and although sometimes it may be hard, always put yourself first but ALWAYS treat your staff with the utmost respect.
- Favourite track to cycle to: Ask Jess Brock, she’s our Lead Instructor and just GETS me. Basically anything rap or cool remixes that incorporate old school rock with new tracks.
- Go-to cycle style: Capri tights, loose tank, sports bra with lots of coverage to keep the girls in.
- Words to live by: “Don’t get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life. People spend too much time in front of screens and not enough time drinking wine, tongue kissing, and dancing under the moon."
Shop Jillian's Style
Find Eastwood Cycle socially @eastwoodcycle
Photo Credit: Tiffany de la Llave @featheredeye
~Oil & Grain for HEMM