FREE MVMT Shop’s Ashley Rockwood Explains Why She Picks up Shop

The concept of the pop-up shop changed the way businesses think about brick-and-mortar retail. If you’re a small business owner who doesn’t want to sign a seven-year lease before you’ve proven your concept, you don’t have to. Trailblazers – big and small –  have reinvented retail by creating short-term opportunities in retail to test concepts, using underutilized space and social media to fill those spaces for a moment in time.

Ashley Rockwood, founder of FREE MVMT Shop is that for fitness. Rockwood created a permanent idea in the FREE MVMT Shop – a movement studio – but its location changes periodically. This idea is pushing Chicagoans to step out of their ordinary routines and into new neighborhoods,  all while FREE MVMT Shop acts as a temporary tenant in commercial real estate spaces. Rockwood’s first pop-up was on Southport and her second is in Lincoln Park.

After I caught wind of what she was creating, Rockwood and I met via Instagram as modern friends are wont to do. In today’s digitally connected world, you can feel like you truly know someone if you follow them, even if you never meet. But Rockwood – and FREE MVMT Shop – are meant to be experienced in real life.

After a conversation peppered with the words “collaboration” and “partnership,” I stopped into FREE MVMT Show for a few classes, including my personal joy-factory, Ballet for Runners.


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(Sound on) 6.5 years ago when I started @asweatlife, I wanted something to keep me accountable to try new workouts, but pretty quickly, I realized I was chasing JOY from studio to studio – finding that feeling in the novelty and gobbling it up. Now with a team to help chase trends, write about concepts WAY outside of the walls of the gyms and to try new workouts, sometimes I forget the joy and get laser-focused on some goal that inevitably makes me crazy (novelty-seekers, if you’ve found a way to make Marathon training less suffocating, pls dm me). 💪This morning at @freemvmtshop, I was not good at Ballet for Runners, but I was completely delighted by the experience of getting outside of my comfort zone to take chance, make some mistakes and streeeeeeeeetch creatively. 💃 I’ll be back and I’ll be better – Get there, try it, and if it’s not a blizzard you won’t be alone – but you’d be lucky to get a one-on-one with @rasmit33 (she’s danced with the queen 🐝). #livingasweatlife

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It was clear that we would continue to use business as an excuse to be friends.

And as we recorded this week’s episode of #WeGotGoals, Rockwood and I talked about what’s driving her to keep working on the dream others think is crazy, how dancing with Beyoncé helped and what she knows she capable of doing (anything she puts her mind to).

Listen and subscribe to the podcast on SpotifyApple PodcastsOvercast, or any other podcasting app. Adding a rating or a review, if you’re so inclined, helps other people find the show too.

And remember – YOU could be featured as one of our real-life goal-getters in an upcoming episode. Just send a voice memo with your first name and your hometown, then a goal you’ve crushed, a goal you’re eyeing, or your best goal-getting tip to [email protected].


About Jeana Anderson Cohen

Jeana Anderson Cohen is the founder and CEO of a premiere wellness media destination that creates content and community to help womxn live better lives and achieve their goals. Before founding health-focused companies Jeana earned a degree in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison - and fresh out of college she worked on the '08 Obama campaign in Michigan. From there, she created and executed social media strategies for brands. aSweatLife fuses her experience in building community and her passion for wellness. You can find Jeana leading the team at aSweatLife, trying to join a book club, and walking her dog Maverick.