The Sweat Social
Helping to make fitness goals attainable during travel.
How often have you stood in your bedroom staring at your carry-on suitcase with a pair of running shoes in your hand, wondering if you are really going to make the time to exercise during your travels and if the space the sneakers take up is worth it? While the hotel gym may not be tantalizing, a New Orleans-based business is determined to inspire you to pack those shoes.
The Sweat Social is a small business that designs wellness programs for conferences, meetings and group events in New Orleans and beyond. Launched in 2015, the young company was the first in the U.S. to design wellness services specifically for travelers. It’s since been flexing its muscles in the tourism industry, impressing wedding parties and corporate clients alike with event and specialty services that range from exercise classes and guided meditation to sleep clinics and health screenings.
The company’s founder, Chief Exercise Officer Rupa Mohan, was inspired by her personal fitness practice while abroad. While traveling the world by backpack with her husband, Mohan said she felt constrained by indoor spaces and sought opportunities to combine a run with experiencing a new city. Other people noticed.
“We created our own workouts to explore our destinations and other travelers started asking to join in,” she said. “We’d make plans to meet and start runs together. It really clicked that there was a market opportunity to provide wellness options for people who travel.”
Mohan heard about New Orleans Entrepreneur Week (NOEW) while still abroad and bought a one-way ticket to New Orleans from Delhi, India in order to attend. After that experience, and a 15 year affection for NOLA as a frequent visitor, she and her husband packed their New York City apartment and moved to New Orleans one month later.
The decision to headquarter The Sweat Social in New Orleans was inspired by the city’s culture and its supportive startup climate.
“The way I experienced New Orleans as a tourist is that this is a magical place,” explained Mohan. “The people and the culture are magic and left me wanting more. In terms of doing business as an entrepreneur here, it’s a small enough space to get your head around ideas and test your product, but it’s big enough that you have a diversity in customers and you aren’t confined.”
Mohan took advantage of programming at startup incubator The Idea Village, where she said she found synergy with the marketing work being done to entice visitors to New Orleans.
“The city is doing such a great job of promoting New Orleans that as an entrepreneur in tourism, even in a city that is relatively small, there are still endless amounts of opportunities,” she said.
Those opportunities fast-tracked The Sweat Social to be an adaptive company responsive to early challenges. When asked about the biggest takeaway during her first year of business, Mohan referenced an often-overlooked body part — your ears.
“It’s important to really listen to your customers and really focus on not making assumptions, which I think is hard for entrepreneurs, especially in offering a service and not a product,” she said. “Once we sat, talked and listened to our customers we really honed in on who our customer is and how we can provide the most value to who that person is.”
Mohan used her Wall Street business acumen and love of people to shape her business model and has now secured clients who hire The Sweat Social to plan wellness programing around the country for corporate meetings and conferences. In line with the overall growth of the wellness industry, Mohan has seen growth in wellness tourism specifically and anticipates continued expansion for her company.
The Sweat Social can plan and execute wellness programming for groups as small as five people for both leisure and business travelers. Family reunions, bachelor parties, corporate events and conferences have all been served by a variety of The Sweat Social’s offerings.
To learn more, visit TheSweatSocial.com.
Jennifer Gibson Schecter was once a tourist in New Orleans herself and is now proud to call NOLA home. She also writes the Wednesday Tourism Blog on BizNewOrleans.com.