Fit Atelier, started in Dilworth and now recently reopened in their new location in Charlotte’s South End, is a business built around a simple principle: Encouraging locals to get fit in fun, new ways while wearing some of the most fashionable athletic clothing.
The business, led by sisters Melanie Morton and Brit Turner, serves as a retail hub for high-end, chic indie activewear lines and the fitness programming layered on top allows them to partner with local studios, as well as to bring in celebrity trainers from places like New York City and Los Angeles. Trainers from P.volve, Body by Simone, and Hilliard Studio Method are just a few they’ve featured in-house.
Brit moved to Charlotte from NYC shortly before starting Fit Atelier. There, she had spent the previous decade of her life working in beauty and personal care public relations and marketing. Melanie, meanwhile, was a medical social worker for the last seven years. She graduated with a BSW in Social Work from Appalachian State. Nonetheless, the two grew up harboring a love of fitness and sports, so, slowly but surely, their curated concept for a retail shop-meets-studio emerged.
Now, with all their energy poured into their buzzing fitness/retail concept, the two can regularly be found hosting innovative workout classes, curating clothing brands for exercise styles that range from barre to HIIT, and expanding their store’s wellness section; ensuring there is an outfit and exercise offering for each stylish, fit enthusiast who walks through the doors.
Melanie and Brit chatted about the company’s recent expansion and successes.
How has Fit Atelier evolved since its opening in 2017?
Brit: Atelier is the French word for “workshop,” and we deliberately used that word because we always want to be evolving what happens within the walls of Fit Atelier. Over the last year, we’ve picked up new brands that we’re really passionate about, worked closely with local trainers to develop new unique group class concepts, and grown our team. We are always listening and looking for feedback from our community, so we plan to always evolve.
What are you most proud of about Fit Atelier?
Brit: I’m proud that we’ve built something different from what’s already out there. We feel like we’re in an incredibly interesting time of wellness and fitness. Workouts are the new form of entertainment, and our clothes are the new “going out” outfits. Southern women are chic and discernible and want to be wearing something special, even if they’re not going somewhere special, and mall brands are just not special or appealing to our modern, fit clients.
What is the most rewarding part of the business?
Melanie: I get excited when I see how our clients feel when they wear their new outfits for the first time or after one of our workouts. I also think it’s really rewarding to watch our clients turn into regulars.
Who in the style and wellness world inspires you?
Brit: I’m most inspired by Gwyneth Paltrow; she was at the forefront of a major revolution in wellness. I also really look up to Emily Weiss of Glossier and Jen Atkin of OUAI. I also feel super inspired by the trainers on our team.
Melanie: I really look up to Lisa Vanderpump. She’s merged business with style in an entertaining way. I also really look up to Melanie Whelan, the CEO of SoulCycle.
What classes do you offer? Are beginners welcome?
Beginners are always welcome! Our instructors can modify for any level of fitness. Right now, we have three classes: West Kept Secret—a high intensity interval training class that incorporates elements of pilates, cardio, and strength. Marissa West, a former Carolina Panther Topcat, and her master trainer, Heidi Schmidt developed it. SCLPT MTHD is what I like to call a spiritual bootcamp that combines cardio, strength, plyometrics, and pilates to create an almost out-of-body fitness experience. Ballet Fit Theory is by a former ballerina, Sophie Folts-Merure, and it combines ballet-inspired cardio with major toning. It is so fun, and more entertaining than a traditional barre class.
Tell us about the new South End location.
We grew really fast so a new location was a must. This store is a reflection of the brand that we’ve created online, and what we love about fitness and wellness. We’re expanding our wellness section, classes, and clothes!