Rich Allsop, Spinder

Blogs 3 May 2022

Rich Allsop shares how setting up Spinder, the first and friendliest LGBT+ spin and social community, gave him the freedom to express his true self, make an impact, and celebrate his customers.

A group shot of a spinder exercise class


Rich Allsop is the Founder of Spinder, the first and friendliest feel-good LGBT+ spin and social community based in central London.

Rich has worked in the fitness industry for 10 years and launched Spinder in 2017. 

Read on or watch the video to hear Rich's story.

Click above to play the video or read on for a summarised transcript. 

Tell us about your business and how it connects the LGBT+ community. 

Spinder is the first and friendliest spin and social group in central London for the LGBT+ community. We run all-levels fitness classes with a cheeky dance break halfway through, glorious pop playlists, and a friendly social afterwards.  

We help our members feel connected through safe spaces, encouraging workouts, and an empowering environment. We started five years ago with just one class, and we’ve expanded over the years to seven days a week across three locations. I’ve built and trained a team of fantastic instructors and we have a community of thousands of members now, which is amazing! 

How do you celebrate diversity within your LGBT+ customer base? 

We celebrate our diverse membership through a fun and sweet ongoing campaign called Spinderella spotlight on our Instagram. It’s a weekly showcase celebrating each individual member of our community. It showcases individual testimonials from someone who is new or someone who has been coming for a while. It’s their take on what Spinder’s like, what they think about Spinder, what it means to them, and encouraging people to come and try Spinder.  

Everyone is welcome at Spinder, regardless of how you identify, your fitness level, your age, or your experience – and we like to celebrate that. It’s a chance for people looking at our Instagram to think, “Oh, that person is like me!” It’s not just one particular person that can come to Spinder.  

What advice do you have for LGBT+ people who want to start their own business? 

My advice is to take the leap and go for it as soon as possible! It’s not just about the financial reward, it’s about the idea that your work is a reflection of yourself and connecting with people who are part of your community. It’s so valuable and rewarding. I can’t express enough how important that is.  

To be honest, I would struggle to go back into the corporate environment, especially if it meant that I had to stifle myself in some way, hide my true self, or not have my ideas acknowledged and valued. Our community can feel quite divided sometimes, and now it’s more important than ever for LGBT+ business leaders to be inclusive and to help strengthen and unite our community.  

I wanted to feel that work I did – as a gay man, and but also individually – had an impact. I wasn’t truly myself until I made a career switch and had the freedom to express who I was. It took a few years of discovery, no doubt about it. It’s not plain sailing and I had a few side projects that didn’t take off. When the idea of Spinder came about, it was so well received, and it was like chemistry. It felt like the most rewarding experience of my life.  

What is your top tip for LGBT+ workplace inclusion? 

My top tip to small business owners for LGBT+ inclusion in the workplace is to put inclusivity at the heart of your workplace – don’t make it an afterthought or a box ticking exercise. We can easily get caught up in the day-to-day running of our business and forget the big picture of what inclusivity should be like.  

Ask yourself: is your business as inclusive as it could be? You may feel that your business is being quite inclusive, but don’t just rely on your feelings. Keep an open mind, engage with your customers and your employees, and get a sense of what they’re thinking about your brand and your business. They can help you to see opportunities you might normally miss. 

Let’s Grow Business Together

Visit our LGBT+ business hub for more stories, interviews and resources for LGBT+ small business owners across the UK.

Visit the hub