30 Under 30: Lauren Gillespie breaks a sweat to offer Vancouver a full fitness experience

Gillespie's House Concepts studio offers pilates, yoga, dumbbell classes, spin and boxing.

Lauren Gillespie, 29

Founder, House Concepts and House iD

Life Story: Lauren Gillespie has been preparing most of her life to run a fitness company. Since about the age of six, she’s been doing track and field, swimming and playing soccer and tennis. “We grew up with my dad training us in my basement, making us do hurdles,” says Gillespie about her father, Ian, a well-known Vancouver real estate titan. “Family vacations were bootcamp.”

It would be easy to label Gillespie a “nepo baby,” as the kids say, but it’s a title that she doesn’t think makes much sense. “For me and my siblings, it was never really an option not to work hard,” she says.

“Starting in elementary school, I had 5 a.m. swim practice. I never once thought, Oh, you don’t have to work. My first job was in a hotel in Grade 9 washing dishes, and I worked as a barista in coffee shops. I never thought of [her dad’s wealth] as a way out. It’s the opposite, it makes me want to work harder.”

After a degree in art history from McGill, Gillespie worked at an agency in London doing strategy for different brands like Nike and British Airways. Then it was back to Vancouver, where she started going to the many different spin classes and gyms on offer in the city. “I had five different memberships, it was expensive and time consuming and I decided I wanted to open my own thing,” says Gillespie. “Living overseas, there’s so much more to offer in terms of that fitness experience. So, I decided to open my own and have everything under one roof.”

Thus, House Concepts found a home in Vancouver House, a building developed by her father’s company, Westbank. The studio combines most modern forms of exercise you can name: pilates, yoga, dumbbell classes, spin and boxing. The company has also branched into a clothing line (House iD) and a smoothie bar (House Kitchen). “A lot of our trainers live in the building and it becomes this sort of joke because they live there, eat House food and wear House clothes,” Gillespie says.

Bottom Line: Through the three different pieces of the business, Gillespie oversees some 55 employees and is planning on opening two House Concepts locations in Toronto (including one this fall) and one in Seattle.