Get to Know The Studio (MDR) Founder Lisa Hirsch-Solomon
She chats Lululemon, staying in the now, and more!
Interview With The Studio (MDR)'s Founder Lisa Hirsch-Solomon
The moment we stepped foot into The Studio (MDR), we knew it was the place for us.
With just one workout, we were ready to call it our forever home.
From the actual workout and the space to the instructors and the atmosphere, everything about it's one of the most welcoming and supportive studios we've ever stepped into.
But even more impressive than The Studio (MDR)'s sense of community is the woman behind all of it, Lisa Hirsch-Solomon.
Lisa pursued a career in music after college, eventually becoming a successful executive in the music industry with a career that spanned 15 plus years. Wanting a change, she decided to follow her passion of fitness into creating The Studio (MDR).
With three studios on the map and another one getting ready to open its doors, we sat down with Lisa to chat career changes, The Studio (MDR) and more.
Women.com: Can you tell us about how you started in the music industry and eventually founded The Studio (MDR)?
Lisa Hirsch-Solomon: I graduated from college and I thought I wanted to be a doctor. I was on the beach one day at Fire Island and a girl struck up a conversation with me and asked what I wanted to do. I said, ‘I think I want to get into the music industry.' And it had never come out of my mouth before. My boyfriend at the time said, ‘No, you're going to be a doctor.' And I said, ‘No, I really love music.' Then the girl said, ‘I just got a promotion at RCA and you should come in and interview for my job.' I went it on Tuesday and started Thursday. It was awesome. I then went over to Universal Records and I started Artist Relations there. That's where I really grew up. Then I went to Virgin Records, Sirius Satellite Radio, I mean, it was amazing. Afterward, I was hired by someone to book The Late, Late Show With Craig Ferguson. My time in the industry was wonderful. I took care of a lot of amazing people, but my life was 29/8 for someone else. I would always show up before my boss and would stay until after they left. And I was exhausted. As I got older, I questioned how sustainable this was. I used exercising as a stress release. I kept working out and I kept working out and I loved it. And I fell into this workout, the Lagree method. The first time I tried it, I wasn't in love with it. At another studio that the same woman owned, the teacher was phenomenal. I kept going to that one and looking around and I realized I could do this. Meanwhile, I had no idea what I was doing. Didn't have a business degree, never wrote a business plan. The more and more I thought about it, the more I thought, if I can figure out just how to get something open, it'll all happen. I'm a big believer in you can do anything, so I did. And a year later, we opened our first studio. It was crazy. We opened to a full house. I was there every day from 4:40 a.m. till we closed it at night. I did not move. I made sure that I greeted everyone. I had little cuties that I gave away at the desk. I loved it from day one and now several years later we have three studios and are getting ready to open a fourth.
WDC: How did working in the music industry help you with what you're doing now?
LHS: Artists are people and just want to be listened to and heard. It's the same way with the studio's clients. Everyone always has something else going on in their lives and you never know what's going on behind closed doors. This is what I try to teach my staff—always smile, always take care of the client, because the client's the most important thing. The Studio (MDR) is all about having the best customer service and the best workout. If I can help someone by making them feel the best they can possibly feel, then I'm doing my job. If they can escape from whatever they're trying to get away from, even if they just need a break for 50 minutes to clear their head from work, then we are all doing our jobs right. This is why I get up in the morning.
WDC: How do you make sure you're taken care of?
LHS: I've gotten a lot better at it over the past couple of years. I used to be—I still am—a workaholic. It always has been like that since I was a little girl. I love to work. Working gives me energy. Self-care is the key to success. Carving out some time each day to treat myself with things that feel good—whether it's a workout, a manicure, or spending time with those I love—friends and family are extremely important. I waited to get married a little later in life to make sure that my partner was the right person for me. I feel very lucky that this person understands and accepts my love of work, animals and that I get to share his life with him.
WDC: What do you love about the studio and about fitness?
LHS: I think fitness as a whole is such a great community. When people ask me about my competition, I don't think that there's competition. I wish more people looked at it that way. Even if there was another studio opening right next to me, I think that we can all help each other. Whether it's men, women, whoever it is, we all can feed off of each other. That's the most important thing to learn, because you never know what's going to happen tomorrow. And you hear so many crazy things that are going on in the world, and you have to take a step back to reflect on what's important. There are a lot of other things to be grateful for or happy about. People might not like our workout and that's okay. As long as you're moving and getting off the couch and doing something that's healthy for you, great. I'd be glad to help someone find a workout that's better for them, if ours doesn't work for them. I'd rather see them in a better place than not.
WDC: How do you remind yourself to not be so competitive and how does that translate into your studios?
LHS: I try to think what can I do to help people grow together and that's what I try to make my studios about. I want it to be a safe place where people can walk in the door, even if they've never worked out before, and know that they don't need to be the best at the workout. They can be in child's pose the whole time with no one staring at them, wondering what they're doing. That's what we try to get across, community is so incredibly important. You can make friends or you can stay in your own lane. No one's going to judge you.
WDC: What's your advice for women who are looking to make a career change?
LHS: Just do it! If you surround yourself with the right people who fill your weaknesses and trust them, that's good. You have to learn to let go. I micro-managed everything in the beginning because I was so used to doing everything. When you start to be able to let go and let other people take over, the parts that you're not great at, it all starts to come together and connect. It's a beautiful thing. It took me a long time to get there.
WDC: How did you become a Lululemon ambassador?
LHS: When I was first courted by them, I didn't really know what an ambassador was. I didn't know that they were looking at me, either. I thought that they were just coming to hang out with me at the studio. They put me through some tests (i.e. seeing how long I took to text or call back), which I didn't realize was happening. I just enjoyed hanging out with them, because they're just a great group of humans. They love the studio, they love community—they just always look to include us. One day, they asked me if I wanted to be an ambassador and I agreed.
WDC: What does being an ambassador mean to you?
LHS: It fills my heart with pride knowing that we're breaking molds. It's a big deal. I want to help people as much as possible and I really mean that. I'm very protective of my friends, of my staff. And I am very giving, so I also have to reel it in sometimes. But for the most part, I want us all to succeed.
WDC: What's the most rewarding part of what you do?
LHS: Life is so short. I never had a problem with age, then it started speeding up and speeding up. I appreciate and love everything that's in front of me and want to keep building the studios, the brand so that people all over can come in and enjoy, so we can all stay healthy together. At the same time, every person is different. What's right for me, isn't necessarily going to be right for someone else. I want us all to find what's best for each and every one of us. I like to think I help people find what works for them. Doing so has made me feel really blessed.