We caught up with Marie Kloor, Co-founder and CEO and Dan Nielsen, Co-founder and COO of Hydra Studios. They talked to us about their mission to create a space for the in-between moments of the busy NYC lifestyle and why a good nights sleep and a shower can be such a game-changer.
What was your initial inspiration for Hydra Studios? Were there any specific events that happened that made you realize the need for it?
Marie Kloor: Hydra Studios was actually inspired by some of the amenities found at the Goldman Sachs headquarters. I began my career there, and the onsite wellness center became my jumping off point. I’m always trying to fit so much into each day and having wellness facilities onsite allowed me to shower after a workout, change between meetings and get ready for evening events.
When I left Goldman a few years ago, I found that the one amenity I missed most was the wellness center. I began planning workouts based on what studios had showers (70% of Manhattan studios don’t), and found myself changing in gross bathroom in between events. Everyone in NYC is hustling to fit so much into each day - work, fitness, family, friends and maybe some time for ourselves if we’re lucky. I wanted to create a space that allowed people to better capture the city’s energy - offering amenities like showers, steam and sauna, private changing areas, locker storage, vanity stations and bookable nap and meditation rooms. We also have a wellness showroom dedicated to discovery through events, classes, workshops and brand pop-ups. Our mission is to create a second home base for those in-between moments, helping our members do more with their day.
We launched our first studio within the Convene WorkPlace at 530 Fifth Avenue and plan on opening a flagship studio later this year. We’re working to build a network of Hydra Studios throughout cities so members can access our services while they are working, playing or traveling.
What do you hope members gain from their experience at Hydra Studios?
MK: I hope we provide our members with a unique space away from the grind. A space that they can use across many situations - to shower after a workout, change between events, store their stuff overnight or just take a few minutes to get ready to tackle whatever is next. I hope that our members come to think of Hydra Studios as a conveniently located extension of their home.
Walk us through your wind-down routine.
MK: I’m a total night owl and get a burst of energy right around 10pm. So having a wind-down routine is important to help me turn off my brain and get to sleep. I try to put my phone down about an hour before ‘bedtime.’ I’ll put on an essential oil diffuser with lavender for scent and my fan for some noise. I also try to write down the highs and/or lows of my day in a One Line a Day Journal. It helps me reflect back on what happened on this day last year and puts things into perspective. Then I’ll pick up a book. Reading helps take my mind off my day and what’s to come tomorrow. I can usually only get through a few pages before sleep takes over and I pass out.
What is your ideal sleep schedule like and how does it affect your work?
MK: My ideal sleep schedule would be midnight to 8 am, if I were to actually get the recommended 8 hours of sleep. In reality, it’s about 11pm or midnight to 6 am. Although I have to drag myself out of bed, I like taking early morning fitness classes. I’m so much more productive at work if I get in a good sweat in the morning.
How has your partnership strengthened each of you as leaders during the process of starting a business together?
Dan Nielson: Starting a business is incredibly difficult and takes a lot more than intelligence and strategy to be successful. Our partnership at its core is one built on diversity - Marie excels in many areas that I wouldn’t consider myself an expert in, and the same is true in reverse. This has enabled us to better get the business up and running, but at the same time has granted us both a unique experience in learning and development. Ultimately, we have been able to grow in areas we have had no previous experience in, and in some cases found out we are pretty good at them! This all really stems from our core belief in being self aware, and willing to have difficult conversations. Often times that’s all leadership really is at the end of the day.
What is your ideal Brooklinen product for your perfect wind down?
DN: Super plush towel following a long hot shower.
What is the best piece of advice you were given when you launched?
DN: It will take twice as long as you think. I wish this wasn’t true, but it takes a tremendous amount of effort to create something from nothing. When I first started this company, I had a ton of energy and passion but was also a bit naive about the entrepreneurship journey. It really takes grit to get through some of the ups and downs. The highs are higher and the lows are lower when it is your own business. When you emerge on the other side post-launch, you realize it really did take twice as a long as you originally thought. And that knowledge prepares you for the rest of the journey. This experience gives me an incredible amount of respect for anyone who has ever started a company.