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Mallory Houston Nieman, founder Velocity, Swisspreneur Podcast

EP #370 - Mallory Houston Nieman: Switzerland’s First Indoor Cycling Studio

Mallory Houston Nieman

January 11, 2024

3:40 - Culture shock from moving to Switzerland

12:26 - Being a solo founder

20:43 - Expanding yourself vs franchising

28:05 - Acquiring silent partners

36:00 - Benefits of expanding slowly

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About Mallory Houston Nieman:

⁠Mallory Houston Nieman⁠ is the owner and operator of ⁠Velocity⁠, Switzerland’s first indoor cycling studio. She holds a BA in English & Psychology from Cornell University and an MBA from Swiss Business School, Kloten, and previously worked for American advertising agencies like Hill Holliday and Digitas before moving to Switzerland in 2011 and starting Velocity in 2015.

At Velocity, every ride is measured via power meters, and the rider’s distance covered, calories burned, and power output (watts) are recorded on their online profile so that they can track their progress towards their personal goals. In Velocity’s Veloburn classes, riders have the option to join the Veloboard leaderboard. 

The first challenge Mallory faced when building Velocity was landing the first location (in Zurich): they needed a lot of air, water, and sound proofing, and Mallory’s German was limited at the time, so it was tough to find the right space and convince the landlord to take them in. The second big challenge the team faced was the COVID pandemic, during which they had to close down. To stay afloat, Mallory put the Velocity team on Kurzarbeit, negotiated with landlords, and also benefited from a percentage of revenue loss from the Swiss government. She also made sure to maintain Velocity’s online presence so as to preserve unity and motivation among their community.

Velocity currently has 3 locations: Zurich, Zug and Enge. They’ve chosen to expand on their own instead of franchising because they care deeply about maintaining the soul of Velocity, and also because they’re very careful when choosing locations — all 3 of their studios are within a 4 minute walk of train stations. 

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