April 9, 2021
11 minutes of reading
Comments expressed by Businessmen the contributors are their own.
What does Pilates Strong mean? We use the word “strong” a lot and it usually means resilience, passion for something, perseverance. The last 24 months of my life changed my career and became one businessmen. It requires me to live up to the motto I have come up with: Pilates Strong. Here is my story of way one advertisement sell executives from Long Island gave up everything to found a Pilates studio during the pandemic and created a Pilates clothing line that increased total sales to over $ 160,000 in its first year.
How did it all begin
In the summer of 2018, I directed a life change that I might never have foreseen. Divorce. Unfortunately, too many people understood how overwhelming the experience was and I found myself sinking in sadness. My whole life is about to change after 10 years of knowing who my best friend is and what we are going to do together every day. Most of all, I am saying goodbye to my beloved home from the moment I entered it. While I sit on my couch in an empty apartment, I watch New Yorkers happily pass by, enjoying the warmth of summer. That was when I knew the world wouldn’t make me happy again; I had to take control of my own happiness and discover how to turn that angle to find it.
After 20 years working in advertising, I thought “why not?” and started researching what I’ve always wanted to do – open my own Pilates studio. I began to think deeply and even pretend to understand the difficulties that occurred from the professional world I knew for two decades to the Pilates studio. All will be completely new to me. The moment I type in Google “Pilates Franchises in NY”, the weight I feel starts to increase. The world opened up and now it seemed like a new beginning, a new life ahead of me. This is my first step in making my dream come true.
Opening a Studio Pilates has a lot of questions. Build something from scratch or find one Franchising? Where should I open a studio? What kind of budget can I pay? Where will I get the extra money I need to open? Who will help me do this? As they say, it really takes a village.
I know that being a franchisee was the right path for me, although franchising in this industry are quite rare. A franchise that has playbooks, resources, and communities. Miracle of finding a franchise in Pilates Brooklyn, in particular, is not an easy thing. I spoke for the first time with two companies; one is a huge franchise that unfortunately is running out of capacity in Brooklyn (good sign that there are a lot of people interested) and another is one I don’t feel connected to (style, vibration cold is not me). Now some call this personality strength and others might consider it a personality flaw, but once I put my mind on something, I can only think of it all, so I am determined to make this a reality.
I delved deeper into the search results, deepened the pages and found a famous Australian brand called Studio Pilates International. I was surprised to see they have over 30 studios across Australia, New Zealand and China, but with no studios in the US, I know I have nothing left to lose by filling out a form to talk to them and right away Then, on June 19, 2018, everything changed. I received a response from Studio Pilates asking to schedule the call and after adjusting for the time difference we were able to get it done. Luckily there will be it; co-owners, Jade and Tanya Winter will head to New York next month for their winter break. The weight I’ve been holding for so long is being peeled off like an onion, and I realize hard work and determination combined with blind luck creates my own happiness. A chance meeting in July with Jade gave me an in-depth knowledge of the brand, why it started, how it evolved and where they envision it moving forward. Here’s a brief rundown of our conversation about brekkie.
Me: “Jade, I’m in.”
Jade: “Marisa, you haven’t even experienced Studio Pilates yet, are you sure?”
Me: “I have never been more sure of anything than I am right now. Your passion for Pilates, your vision for the company is all I connect with. I’m ready to help Studio Pilates expand into the US ”.
All of this sounds great but now the real work is in front of me. It’s like planning a new job. The interesting part is the research, but the hard work is making it happen. I immediately found people whose areas of expertise would help me. The first is real estate. I spent the next four months looking at a variety of commercial spaces. There are a variety of topics to consider such as the position, the layout, the overall size and of course the price. Like buying a home, you quickly narrow your focus as you see more things. It will be easier to understand which position will make your dreams come true. For me, I found a brand new building in Park Slope Brooklyn with an untouched commercial space. It’s interesting to have a blank picture, at least that’s what I thought at the time.
Locking changes everything
For months I worked on negotiating leases, making legal calls, working with architects to draw out all the specs of the plan, talking to marketing to think about how we attract new customers to the store and of course the headquarters is going through the referral process. So the contract was signed, the plans were signed, now I have to find an instructor and someone to work with. I was surprised to see so many people interested in getting certified. As soon as they start their introductory work (lesson), the world will throw us a ball that none of us expected.
It was March 2020 and everything I worked hard with completely stopped. I have to tell headquarters that all construction has ceased to function, all permits have been canceled, my training sessions paused, and marketing suspended. I was swallowed up simply because what would have happened if this was the end of my dream. Neither of us knew what was going to happen. It’s been three weeks completely locked out and I feel lost without the Pilates community. That’s when I thought of creating a line of Pilates-inspired clothing to connect with the community.
But how? Am I not a designer? I have never run e-commerce business. I don’t know anything about making clothes. Just like the Studio, I did some research and put everything into this. I found Shopify to create my website, connect e-commerce capabilities, and even be connected to an on-demand printing company, printing clothes for me when there is a discount. There is no need to prepay the costs of purchasing products in bulk. I found the Breaking Free Industries that I am affiliated with now; They not only have a great social mission of recruiting those in need of a second chance, but also business model It gives me a lot of flexibility in the way we build products and deliver them to consumers.
Switch to e-commerce
Marisainmotion was given. First it was the t-shirt and tank top, then the sweatshirt and hoodie. Then I launched my own custom sock (I designed each piece of the material and stitching) and most recently, I launched a custom Pilates Reformer rug that offers a pathogen-free, non-pathogen-free experience. Slippery and easily washable. Now from a marketing perspective, I have to get my name out there.
Having been in advertising for many years, we know every small business starts with two partners. Facebook to drive consideration for a new company and Google to become where people are looking for products. After the first two weeks, there were sales of several hundred dollars. It feels like designing a product and then all of a sudden people I don’t know buy them. After the first month, I just hit 1,000 dollars in sales. Now the challenge is in, how do I develop this. So I worked on optimizing the website experience, adding more products as mentioned above, and working on more engaging ads. There was a lot of testing going on over the first few months. What is driving interest? What is driving sales?
As the month passed, the business continued to grow, but there was a long way to go. Every month I learn more, build new products, optimize the production cycle to improve profitability. I even started getting wholesale inquiries! A studio owner sees their client wearing my clothes in their studio and wants to sell them in person in their studio. This raises new questions. How do I set the wholesale price, how do I handle the shipping and production cycle? What kind of customization can I allow (a mix of originality or style and design, what about their logo on clothing? Before that, more than 20% of my business was wholesale.
As of today, the business is nearly 12 months old and has total sales of more than $ 160,000. For someone who has never done this before, the challenge and excitement of building it from scratch, and now seeing people posting on social media every week with my clothes is incredibly rewarding. useful. That does not mean there are no difficult days (loss of goods, items that do not fit) but I try to draw every comment, learn from experience.
In the summer of 2020, construction is allowed to continue. Construction and permits are everywhere because New York City There are so many rules out there so every time you think you’ve solved all the outstanding problems, come up with more rules. It took 5 months for the permit to be submitted and approved, and construction to be done.
In January 2021, I can ask all of my instructors to complete their final training. The finished studio, the lighting, the plumbing, the music, the opera, all where they needed it. However, there is something my business plan does not take into account, the CDC guidance. All reformers are now 6 feet apart. We have a special cleaning spray. Everyone must wear a mask at all times. In NY we are even being graded as restaurants and I’m so proud to have that A rating on my door.
Now I’m the owner of a beautiful Studio Pilates franchise in Park Slope Brooklyn. There’s nothing more difficult or rewarding than this whole experience. You need to find a passion, people you can trust to help compliment your passions and ultimately put any doubts aside. Being an entrepreneur means you have control, so make it happen.
A review from one of my Studio Pilates clients, “I’ve never done Pilates and let me say it’s no joke! 100% recommend that you come here to practice hard. Everyone is very nice and welcoming. During these Covid times, the way they handle principles and respect people is amazing! I will continue here for as long as I can, never go anywhere else, especially because they are so good there, I have never had such kind and sincere hospitality. to act! This review made all the building, permit and COVID obstacles worthwhile to be able to open the door to this wonderful Pilates community of mine.