By Allyson Sutton
The sound of a Beyoncé beat bumps powerfully in the background as fifty students flow, jump, and sweat on their yoga mats. The mirrored walls fog as 85-degree heat fills the room. A neon sign emblazoned with the word “grace” casts a soft pink glow over the class as we all chase an endorphin rush with Sarah Frick as our guide.
Frick is the founder of The Works, a newly-opened boutique fitness studio located on upper Meeting Street. I recently took her signature class by the same name, an invigorating 60-minute method she developed that blends vinyasa yoga, cardio, strength work and mindfulness, all set to a musical beat.
With its sold out classes, hundreds of positive online reviews and nearly 5,000 Instagram followers, it’s hard to believe that The Works has only been in its current home for a couple of months. But, as Frick shared over coffee on Sullivan’s Island, her new “sweat studio” has been a long time coming, slowly manifesting after years of loss, risk and hustle.
Frick first discovered yoga at age 21 when a friend invited her to take an intense Hot 26-style class.
“I was blown away,” she remembers. “It was the hardest thing I’d ever done but I immediately went back the next day.”
A year later, she completed a 200-hour yoga teacher training and was quickly hired to manage a new studio in Charlotte. But after going through a divorce, her exciting new career (and her life) shifted. Friends encouraged her to move to Charleston for a fresh start.
“A lot of the fitness studios felt like I was young and inexperienced, so I just kept auditioning and teaching anywhere I could,” she recalls. “I was also hostessing, delivering flowers, babysitting…
hustling to make it work.”
She eventually got a gig managing a Lululemon pop-up on Market Street. Frick recruited Beth Plant as her assistant manager, a friend she’d met while subbing classes at Eco Fitness. When the recession hit and the pop-up shuttered eight months later, Plant suggested they start a yoga studio together. The duo opened Charleston Power Yoga on Upper King Street in 2009; Frick remarried, and a second location in Mount Pleasant followed suit.
As the business grew, so too did Frick’s soulful approach to teaching. Just a few years after opening CPY, she and her husband John lost their first child, a little girl named Grace.
“That changed everything for me. The heart work became really important,” she shares. “The fitness is the obvious piece. But ultimately, what we’re all looking for is to be heard, to be seen, to be loved and to feel connected. If you can do that as you’re moving your body, there is something powerful that happens.”
Frick and her husband would later welcome a son (now 6) and twins (a boy and a girl, now 21/2), a physical and emotional experience that continued to evolve her practice.
“After having four kids and getting older, I needed to do more,” she shares. She began incorporating cardio and sculpt moves into her classes, a new approach that quickly gained a devoted following. That’s when she knew “The Works” method needed its own space.
“I wanted to run a whole studio that was doing this method and really drive it home because I believe in it so much,” says Frick.
The second she saw the floor-to-ceiling windows on the ground level of The Guild, she knew it was the perfect space. But it still had a dirt foundation and wouldn’t be ready for months.
“I had instructors following me after parting ways with CPY, but no space,” she shares. “I said, ‘All right, I gotta hustle.’”
Frick and her loyal crew of teachers started hosting pop-ups downtown and on Sullivan’s Island, eventually securing a temporary lease at the former Redux Yoga space on President Street.
“Our lease there ended on May 31st. We opened on Meeting Street on May 29th,” says Sarah. “It was super kismet.”
In addition to her signature “The Works” class, Frick’s new studio offers “The Sweat,” a high intensity interval training class she created in her driveway, as well as traditional hot vinyasa, a deep stretch class and a slow flow class called “The Revive.”
In the short time since opening, she and her team have already begun expanding The Works beyond the physical studio. They recently launched a streaming service so Works-lovers can access classes from anywhere. They released a podcast called “Are You For Real,” featuring conversations with inspiring risk-takers. And they’re hosting a wellness retreat in Mexico this October, with plans to host a few retreats per year.
More than anything, though, Frick is excited to use The Works as a platform for community impact. She recently tapped into her growing social media following to raise money for kids in MUSC foster care, collecting a whopping $10,000 in just five days.
“What I want to see with the brand is more than fitness,” she says. “There is so much more that we can be doing. If we’re going in and healing ourselves, then in turn we have the capacity to do more for others.”