I can’t believe the studio was born ten years ago….. what started as me teaching roughly 12 hour days in a teeny, tiny little studio shared with a Botox joint (seriously), has now grown to about 3,500 square feet worth of movement bliss! As I reflect on how many positive things ten years means, I can’t help but think…. but this means I’m 10 years older! Yikes! But I don’t feel like building the business, teaching, and running the studio has aged me one bit — to the contrary, actually. Having a 3 year old? That’s another story : )
The talented John Bolster of the company Reduced Fat in Saratoga designed (and still designs) my website when I first got Pilates certified back in 2003. I remember at that time, my family and I were just beginning the architectural planning of our current space to make room for a Pilates studio, and a space for Nick Pavoldi and his business Bodywork Professionals. My parents own the property in which we currently reside. My Mother owns Taj Mahal Beauty Salon in our building, and she’s been in business for about 40+ years. She’s such an inspiration to me on so many levels, but that’s a whole separate blog entry. I taught Pilates by myself in my original studio for about 2 years, losing my voice due to overuse about every two months, when an instructor named Karen Millard emailed me from New York City. I knew nothing about hiring people, but I just went with my gut. This chic knew her stuff (she started dropping anatomical terms like “serratus anterior” during our first meeting and I was in love!). I just knew she would be an asset to the studio. 8 years later she is still working at the studio 5 days a week, carrying a very diverse and complex caseload of clients. Then Marge Pellegrino came along, a high-level day-jobber who taught Pilates. She introduced me to Susan Stewart, who, ditto on everything I said about Karen. And so that was my original studio; that was the staff that moved to 578 New Loudon Road with me. Four of us. Once we moved into our new home, the staff situation kind of exploded. We now have about 15 instructors.
John Bolster and I have been working closely for the past couple weeks on redesigning my original website. It will be bittersweet to have the site completely changed, but that’s one thing I’ve definitely learned in the past 10 years — you absolutely have to be able to adapt and evolve. The website has to evolve because we started offering GYROTONIC® exercise in 2008, with Heather Kenneally moving her Cobra Pulley Tower into my Pilates studio. Heather introduced us to GYROTONIC® Master Trainer Cori Doetzer, and thus, Karen, Susan, and I were certified in GYROTONIC® exercise in August of 2009. The birth of the upstairs studio for GYROTONIC® is still kind of like “REALLY?!” to me. Every time I walk up there to teach I can’t help but think “there’s an upstairs studio. It’s upstairs!” I don’t know why it hits me every time. It’s kind of “secret, stealth mode” for a second location — it’s a separate location without having to go too far (although having to walk outside to the front entrance really stinks on rainy days… or when you’re running a couple minutes behind). Even though Pilates and GYROTONIC® have two separate homes at my studio, I need consumers to know that it’s all the same stuff. They’re both movement systems that help you feel taller, combat poor posture, and remain flexible and strong ’til your time on this earth has run out.
When I was pregnant in 2009, I hired a business consultant to help me transition some items off my plate that I wouldn’t be able to keep track of once the baby came. Nothing but great things came from working with her. She completely transformed how I saw the business, and I grew so much as a business woman after working with her. Once my son was born, my role at the studio somewhat changed…. forever. I no longer can teach from 7am to 1pm straight, and then again from 3pm to 8pm, and do payroll, and do all the vacation requests, and pay all the bills. Nor do I want to. I still love being there for new clients, so I make sure I see each one for their first private lesson. And I still absolutely adore teaching Pilates and GYROTONIC® exercise. But I love my son way more. And I doubt I’ll ever look back on his youth and say “I wish I worked more.” I’ll probably say exactly the opposite. But nevertheless, I’m teaching 6 days a week right now, Sunday through Friday. And the juggling is a challenge every day. One of our instructors Niki Brownell once told me before I had a son, that being a Mom who worked “part-time” was a such a scam. She explained that you’re really working overtime, since your job as “Mom” is a full-time one, and then you still have to go to work part time on top of that. I had never thought about it that way. Lucky for me, I like racing around and being busy all the time. I somehow feel unproductive if I’m not a tiny bit stressed. I’m not sure how healthy that is, but it’s those traits that keep my drive going, and make me successful.
So here’s to ten, twenty, thirty, forty more years? Thanks for being a part of my business.