After observing the rise of chic New York City gyms offering yoga, spin or Pilates classes in spa-like settings, Daniel Glazer got the idea to open a boxing gym in the same fashion. In 2015, he bootstrapped Shadowbox with $1 million in savings, a majority going to the construction and design of a modern and airy boxing studio, minus the bloodied floors and graffitied walls.
For Shadowbox, foot traffic and traditional press served as a one-two punch for business, allowing Glazer to save on customer acquisition costs. “It was a mix of good location and good timing in the wellness space because a lot of badass women were looking to try new things and do more than dabble in boxing,” Glazer said.
He adds that not spending on social media ads helped him reach profitability within the first year. “There are some gyms who chase you around the internet with an ad in your face all the time, but we wanted our brand to be more aesthetic and less aggressive,” he said.
By 2017, Glazer raised another $1M from angel investors to open a second location in Dumbo (in Brooklyn). By end of year, both Shadowbox locations saw 90,000 unique visits. More than 65% of Shadowbox’s members are women. To make sure Shadowbox’s gym culture continues to cater to this key market, it continues to proactively hire females for both corporate and instructor positions, including World Championship Boxer and MMA fighter Heather “The Heat” Hardy as head coach. “This was an opportunity to say this isn’t about gender but something all can enjoy,” said Glazer.
The former trader struck while boutique fitness in the Flatiron District was hot. The same year, Overthrow also opened its doors in Manhattan, followed by Rumble in 2016—all offering spaces that focused less on bulking up heavyweights for future bouts and more on toning and strengthening everyday city-dwellers of all ages and genders. While Shadowbox branding values clean aesthetics and simplicity, Overthrow has added a modern twist to the gritty ambiance inherent to traditional boxing gyms. Gyms like Rumble and Dogpound, meanwhile, have capitalized on becoming a stronghold for celebrities, models and Victoria’s Secret Angels.
While competition heated up, Shadowbox managed to pull in $3 million in revenue in 2017 and plans to re-create the gym model across the country. In addition to opening another NYC location, Shadowbox is slated to expand