Putting a positive SPiN on fitness & well-being
8th June 2019
The SPN studio on Camden Road has just celebrated its first anniversary – and won a Times Business Award for Best Start-up. Founder Jaime Cooke tells us why she brought her inspiring combination of ‘Soul Power and Nutrition’ to Tunbridge Wells
Jaime, please can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I grew up in a small town called Cochrane outside Calgary in Canada and came to London in 1999 after backpacking around Europe and falling in love with the creative scene in London. I landed a fabulous job in advertising and met my husband, so I never left the UK! We now have three lovely children and live just outside Tunbridge Wells near Lamberhurst.
Has your background always been in the world of fitness and wellbeing?
I have always loved sports: I grew up in the Rockies in Canada ice skating, skiing and spending all my time in the great outdoors. Previous to SPN, I ran a successful fashion company called Muks making the indiginous Mukluk boots from Canada and selling to high end department stores as well as the likes of Kate Moss. After 10 years, just as I was thinking about my next steps, I was involved in a terrible car accident in Ibiza and herniated three discs in my lower spine. Through my rehab to recovery, I discovered Pilates and wanted to dedicate my time to learning the method and helping others with injury.
How did you make the transition from fashion to fitness?
After two years of training at Body Control Pilates in London, I decided to start private sessions at my home in Tunbridge Wells. This was mainly working with clients who were looking to build general core strength or coming back after injury. During this time, I was also becoming stronger and able to do more physically. I was on a trip to LA and NYC one summer and discovered spin classes and was immediately hooked. I came back and decided to start my own indoor cycling classes called Popcycle in my cellar at Bayham Hall.
How did your private classes at Bayham evolve to running the SPN studio?
We started with three bikes and a few friends attending the weekly classes. Before I knew it we had 18 bikes and were running classes six days a week. During this time I met Sarah Gorman, a superstar trainer and now SPN’s creative director. She had just returned from the USA and we decided to collaborate, introducing boxing, barre and Pilates to our clients. From the popularity of the classes, we knew we had something special and decided to take it to the next level by opening SPN on Camden Road, Tunbridge Wells.
What will people discover on visiting SPN?
SPN is a boutique fitness studio spread over three floors. We have an underground indoor cycling studio with coloured DJ lighting and a booming sound system. The ground floor is our reception area featuring a smoothie bar and premium retail brands, then upstairs is our beautiful floor studio where we hold boxing, barre, Pilates, TRX, aerial and yoga classes.
You also run SPN foreign retreats – can you tell us about these?
We run two types in Mallorca: our POWER Retreat takes our clients out road cycling, hiking and powerful workout classes for four days in the Tramuntana Mountains. We also have a SOUL retreat, which is much more grounding and zen-like with yoga, walking, meditation, paddle board yoga, sound bath and a one-day juice cleanse. This September, for the first time, we are combining the two retreats for a five-day POWER + SOUL, and we still have a few spaces available.
And after a year of being based on Camden Road how are you finding it?
It’s an eclectic mix of independent businesses and we all support each other. We love the community feel around there. It is central enough for some of our clients to walk to, and there are enough car parks for those travelling in.
Do you have any celebrity clients?
Davina McCall and Dame Kelly Holmes often work out with us. They both have such great positive energy and it’s always a delight to see them in the studio. It’s such a great family atmosphere here at SPN and we hope that everyone who comes here picks up on that.
Fashion and design is a big part of who I am and I think this will always be reflected in the design of our studios and SPN branded merchandise
What's in a name?
SPN stands for Soul Power Nutrition: exactly everything we embrace in our studio. Our clients usually come to us for the physical transformation, but what they receive is so much more. It is rewarding to experience the full journey and receive support from a community of likeminded people. We offer nutrition programmes and packages with our in-house nutritional therapist Abir, as we understand optimum health has to come from within.
A healthy approach
Give us your top tips for sticking to a healthy eating and exercise regime
Start light: Begin by doing one to two classes a week, go with a friend so you are accountable and can encourage each other. Find a space where community is key as we find that our clients are more likely to stick with it if they feel a sense of camaraderie
Treat your tastebuds: For healthy eating, give yourself variety and try cooking recipes that are both tasty and nourishing. There are so many phenomenal chefs doing exciting things with food these days – explore it
Do a juice cleanse twice a year: You’ll feel energised, revitalised and ready to take on the world. We offer a three-day cleanse featuring six amazing juices, all bursting with carefully selected plant nutrients designed to re-mineralise your body and support its natural daily cleansing processes
Did you know?
Jaime was responsible for the Mukluk boots trend in the 2000s which saw the likes of Kate Moss wearing them:
“I have been wearing Mukluk Boots since I was three years old, and shortly after moving to London my mom bought me a pair as a nostalgic reminder of my childhood roots. Wearing them around London and New York City, I was constantly stopped in the streets so I thought there’s something in this. My mom sent me four pairs from a moccasin shop near my home town and I put them in a friend’s boutique in Notting Hill – within a week Kate Moss had purchased two of the four pairs and Beyoncé and Jennifer Lopez were wearing them! We even made a customised pair for Paris Hilton.”
Art Direction: Lee Smith | Photography: Craig Matthews