Health and Fitness Behind the Scenes with Studio Pilates’ Founders, Jade and Tanya Winter 23 January 2018 Studio Pilates From humble beginnings, and big dreams, Studio Pilates has evolved into a rapidly growing franchise success, with Australian studios in Brisbane, Adelaide and Melbourne (and lots more on the way) as well as New Zealand and China as of late 2017. Tell us about your background and how you both met? Jade: We first met when we were about 15 years old at the local swimming pool. Competitive swimming was a big part of both of our lives for many years. I was a member of the 1996 Olympic Swim Team and I competed at the international level on several occasions. Tanya competed at the national level numerous times as well. When I first met Tanya, I was instantly taken by her outgoing nature and vibrant personality. Anyone who has met Tanya will understand what I mean here, she absolutely lights up the room and people are instantly drawn to her. We started dating when we were about 16 years old and have been together ever since. It only seems like yesterday really, and we have essentially grown up together in a lot of ways, which is really nice. What are your qualifications? Are you both trained in Pilates? Jade: Pilates has been a big part of our lives for such a long time now, and it is what we live and breathe. We absolutely love the workout and what it can do for people’s bodies. We were both exposed to the benefits of Pilates as a form of cross training when we were young swimmers. Tanya is a qualified physiotherapist and I have qualifications in personal training in addition to our extensive Pilates training and more than 15 years’ teaching experience. What inspired you to start your business? Jade: We wanted to create a different workout experience, something unique, something totally different. We wanted to create a workout experience that was the complete opposite to going to a gym – a place where you could totally escape for 40 minutes and concentrate wholly on yourself, where you could do an intense workout and leave feeling invigorated. We wanted to create a space for people to exercise in that exudes old school New York glamour, but more importantly, makes you feel like you’re coming home. We believe exercise should be a total escape, and we’ve created it that way. That’s why you’ll find yourself doing a workout under chandeliers in all our studios, and also the reason why you won’t find any mirrors, cell phones or clocks. It’s also the reason why you’ll find friendly and supportive instructors at Studio Pilates studios who ask you how you are and how you’re feeling every time you come in for a class. In a saturated market of Pilates studios, how does yours stand out? Tanya: This is a question that is probably best answered by some of our clients rather than us. We hope that Studio Pilates stands out by the whole experience our members receive when they do a Studio Pilates class. This starts with the look and feel of our studios – who doesn’t love to work out under chandeliers? Our amazing team of instructors are dedicated to ensuring that each person feels like they are having a personal Pilates training session, rather than simply attending a class. We work hard to maintain quality of instructing and consistency between each of our classes so that no matter which studio you attend or which instructor you see, you know you will still receive a great workout and a personalised service. As a company, we spend a lot of time on professional development for our instructors, and on developing our class programs. The programs are delivered through a digital exercise delivery system – with multiple screens in the studio so that the clients can see images of the exercises, making it easier for them to understand the movement and allowing the instructor to be free to individually help each and every client through every exercise. And each workout session is carefully sequenced to ensure maximum results. What is the philosophy behind your business? Jade: We believe that exercise should be inspiring, intense, safe and it should be done in style. We have many core beliefs and philosophies that shape our company, but this one forms part of the fabric of our culture and underpins our philosophy on what a workout should be. Your website says that your workouts are designed for the body and mind, can you explain this? Jade: The Studio Pilates workouts are very dynamic in nature. Each exercise is done on the Pilates reformer and each 40 minute class works the entire body and focuses on flattening the abs and sculpting each muscle. You need to concentrate on what you’re doing, focus on your movements and what muscles you are using to perform them. When you do this, you can’t think about what you’re doing after class or what you need to get at the grocery store, you’re totally in the moment and this is one of the reasons I think that people enjoy coming. When we created Studio Pilates, we did it with the belief that everyone, from the first time exerciser to an elite athlete, should be able to do a Pilates class and the movements that you perform in a Pilates class should be straightforward and extremely effective. We believe that you should feel empowered after a Pilates class and not baffled by it. It should be an uplifting and enjoyable experience. With studios cropping up around Australia (and more on the drawing board), what do you feel has been the key to the success of your business? Tanya: Hard work and unrelenting determination over many years to create great Pilates classes and help our clients. Originally, it was just Jade and I instructing and come rain, hail or shine,and even through sickness and hard times, we never gave up pursuing our goals. But as with any business, you are nothing without an amazing team. We are very lucky to have a great team of both instructors and administrative staff who have really helped Studio Pilates grow to the next level and we couldn’t have gotten to where we are without them. And of course a huge amount of credit needs to go to our franchisees for their faith, their entrepreneurial spirit and their loyal and dedicated teams of instructors. 100% of any ‘success’ that Studio Pilates has seen so far, is due to the hard work of our franchisees and their belief in us and the company. Do you see your business expanding further afield down the track? Or offering new services? Jade: We believe that it’s easy to create something complex, but it’s much harder to create something that is simple. We hope that we’ve achieved this with Studio Pilates and with this in mind, we focus our energy on trying to do one thing really, really well. This is why we only offer group reformer classes in our studios and focus on making them absolutely world class. We trust that by continuing to focus on providing a world class workout experience and keeping things simple, we will see our studios expand nationally and internationally as well over time. This has always been the plan and we’d love to see people getting addicted to Studio Pilates classes all over the world. How many instructors do you employ? Tanya: Our instructor numbers continue to increase as we expand. However, each one of them has an absolute love of Pilates and a true passion for inspiring their clients to achieve their personal best. All of our instructors get a real kick out of seeing our members transform their bodies in such a short amount of time and love being a part of our members’ lives and their fitness journey. What is the feedback from clients on how they feel after your class? Tanya: A mixture of things … shaky legs, burning buttocks, flatter abdominals, to name a few. But the single biggest thing that clients say after a class is how glad they are that they came and how much better they feel than when they arrived – which is exactly what we want! Sometimes it is hard to be motivated to exercise, so leaving feeling better than you did beforehand is a great motivator for all! Do either of you instruct classes? If so, what is your approach to this? Tanya: We don’t get the opportunity to instruct very many classes these days unfortunately. We both love instructing, it’s an absolute blast and we always come home feeling energised afterwards. When we do get the chance to instruct we definitely make the most of it and have a lot of fun with the clients. Some of our clients have been coming to us for 15 years so they are literally part of the Studio Pilates family! I just love helping people and if I’ve been able to make a difference in one person’s day, if I’ve been able to inspire them to achieve more than they did last time, and if I’ve been able to help one person to feel better about themselves in a class, then I feel like I’ve been successful and I’ve done a good job teaching my class. Our focus has always been to turn a Pilates class into a Pilates experience. This is a philosophy that we hope translates into what our clients receive when they come to visit a Studio Pilates studio.