TREY LAIRD ON POWER PEDAL WITH NEXT FOR AUTISM
On December 10th, The Fragrance Foundation will join forces with NEXT for AUTISM to host Pedal Power, an exciting, purpose-driven spin class to raise awareness and funds as its premiere Give Back event . What could possibly make this event even more special? It will be led by AARMY, a new fitness studio created by rock-star SoulCycle instructor Akin Akman, and behind-the-scenes fashion and beauty legend Trey Laird, whose creative agency Laird + Partners has masterminded countless ad campaigns for everyone from Tiffany & Co to Tom Ford. Laird is enthusiastic about harnessing the combined energy of the fragrance, fitness, and creative worlds for Pedal Power, which he has chosen to be the first-ever AARMY charity event. ACCORDS caught up with him to talk about how getting physical can change the world.
What’s the idea behind AARMY?
It’s a new fitness experience and a new fitness brand that has both a physical side and a digital side. I founded it with my partner, Akin Akman, who has been the number one SoulCycle instructor in the world for the last five or six years. He’s a phenomenal force in fitness with incredible background training to be a professional athlete. So, it’s about bringing pro athlete training to everyone—really pushing people to find their best and be their best with mental conditioning as well as physical conditioning, across multiple modalities that they can personalize based on their goals. It’s about inspiration and innovation, drive, and determination, in a very elevated setting, with this incredible, next-level coaching experience.
How did it all start?
Akin had always had a vision to do this. He was a child tennis prodigy, and he’s had this incredible experience of top-level training for virtually his entire life. But when he began his coaching career and started training people and working with different fitness brands, he couldn’t find anything that matched the quality, authenticity, drive, and determination that he was used to as a real athlete.
My background is that I’ve had an advertising, marketing, and branding agency, specializing primarily in fashion and beauty luxury goods. I’ve had that for about 17 years and spent my whole career building brands for other people, doing everything from Lauder and Tiffany and Tommy Hilfiger and Jimmy Choo and Tom Ford. It’s been amazing, but I’ve always wanted to be involved in a brand in a deeper way. I met Akin through his classes about seven years ago. We became really good friends, and realized that we wanted to do this together.
Why did you decide to kick it off with a pop-up location?
We’re officially launching in a permanent location early next year, along with our digital app. But as that’s under construction, we wanted to start teasing the experience. We wanted to make sure that Akin’s loyal followers had a place to train with him and his hand-selected coaches build some buzz. So we’re operating a pop-up for several months in advance of our official opening.
How did you get involved with NEXT for AUTISM?
I’ve known Laura and Harry for many years as well as Tommy and Dee Hilfiger. Tommy’s been a client for years and a very close friend. And I’ve worked with Laura and Harry on various projects for fashion and fragrance and have followed their journey with this issue. I actually didn’t know that they had this type of fundraiser, but when I showed Tommy what I was doing with AARMY, he called Laura, who he knew wanted to do a benefit ride, and said, we’ve got to do this with Trey and Akin. It’s really an incredible way to join forces, and it will be our first charity event at AARMY.
What can we expect from the event on December 10th?
What’s incredible about Akin’s philosophy is that you really, you really commit. It’s not just coming in, taking a class, leaving, and that’s it. It’s building a foundation for something that can have a big impact in your life. And when you think about being able to give back and the way that any single person can have an impact on change, I think that’s what NEXT for AUTISM has done too. They’ve engaged families and broader communities of people that have been affected by autism to step up and do their part and recognize that everybody collectively can make a difference. And when you do something physically and you push yourself physically, but at the same time you’re doing it for something bigger than yourself, it means more.
To be able to engage NEXT for AUTISM’s community and the Fragrance Foundation community as well as the AARMY community, and be able to say let’s like physically put ourselves out there and move this thing forward, I think is really inspiring. And Akin is a master and a genius of pushing people to find something inside themselves. We couldn’t think of a better purpose for our first event than doing this to help people that we know, as well as all of those whose lives have been affected by this in some way, shape, or form.
How many bikes do you have? You might need to get more!
We have 62. And, you know, it’s great when people write a check because anything helps. But if you do something physically, it’s like you’re literally putting your sweat into this and you’re asking people to get behind you and, and support you to support this cause. You’re putting yourself out there, and that takes it to the next level and makes it more meaningful for everyone. It’s going to be a great ride.