As most of you know, I finally took over my very own Pilates studio last week. It has been a rocky road, but well worth the end result. And although I've been blogging all this time, my mind has been elsewhere. While I still have lots to do to set up my Pilates empire, I am back in it this week and ready to write up a storm. For this post, I thought I'd write about things that make me smitten with being a small business owner, because despite all the hard work, it's really fulfilling, and all MINE!!!! Enjoy!

 

 

Decorating
Having your own office, is another ideal occasion to flex your decorating muscles. While I just dabble in the art of embellishing, (I often ask advice from my good friend and interior genius, Lorri Hicks I'm starting to hit my designer stride with the creation of FORM Pilates Union Square. I decided to start with the walls and paint. The previous space was a dingy prison white and need a facelift- BAD. A quick trip to Benjamin Moore provided me with my palate. The colors on business card were my inspiration. I used grey ((Stonington Grey) lightened by 25%) and a rich navy blue (Hale Navy). The result was amazing silvery walls and a depth inducing statement wall. Below the carpet (why carpet in an exercise studio you ask? Well, I asked the same thing) lies a hardwood floor that I will reveal if it's condition isn't too beat up. I can then soften the space with area rugs like this graphic winner, as well as a possible shearling one or two. I'm still on the lookout for a mirrored desk a la Horchow but at Target prices. In the interim, I scored a twin set of Marimekko Ruutukaava sheets (on sale!) and draped the flat sheet over a card table. After I get my desk I'll have the whole set for the guest bed at home. For the wall art, I plan to commission local artists and turn the studio into a gallery extraordinaire. I can rotate the art every couple months and change it up without spending a dime. For seating, Target has a classic club chair that pulls out into a twin sleeper (maybe that's where I can use my Marimekko sheets...) so I can take cat naps in the middle of long days. Gleaning inspiration from everywhere, I caught sight of these super cute ottmans/floor pillows/poofs through my high school friend's chic blog, Glitter and Gold. Perfect to prop your feet up on, cop a squat on, or perch your purse on. Can't wait to have an work oasis away from my home oasis.

 

 

Constant Contact
You can't have a business, without customers. My clients are everything and Constant Contact, an email marketing godsend, helps me keep in touch with them all. I send all my newsletters, blogs (like this one!), and special announcements through them. They have applications that I use on my website, facebook page, and in my emails that allow clients to add their contact information and subscribe with just a click. This keeps all my emails in one place, no muss, no fuss. I can track the emails I send, and am able see who opened and clicked what, even on the go with their iphone app. They also have a service that helps you create your own surveys so you can keep your finger on the pulse of your clients needs and wants while getting much needed feedback and gentler constructive criticism. Even my Pilates software, MindBody is on the Constant Contact train and has integrated it into their system. All this means less time completing administrative tasks, more time for other things, like actually doing my own Pilates workout. Genius.

 

 

Location
I am incredibly blessed to have inherited a business, especially one right in the heart of Union Square. For those of you who live far away from the big apple, Union Square is a historic spot, built in the early 19th century when Bloomingdale road (which is now Broadway), was angled away from the Bowery at such an acute angle that that it would have been awkward to build on, so they decided to build a square at the union- thus Union Square. At first a residential area, after the Civil War, the area blossomed into a commercial center. The original Tiffany and Co. was housed on 15th Street until it's move uptown in 1905. Today Union Square is a popular meeting place- one of New York City’s largest transportation hubs. The quintessential New York neighborhood, with a vibrant mix of residential, office, retail, educational, and cultural uses. Every year 33.5 million people pass through the 14th St./Union Square Subway station, making the Union Square district one of the most convenient destinations in the city, attracting residents, tourists, and businesses alike. History aside, this place is happening. There's a brand new playground for your kiddies, a dog park for your pooch, as well as free wifi for your laptop.We're home to the Union Square Greenmarket, one of the largest farmer's markets in the city, as well as the Union Square Holiday Mart. The square houses sculptures of Ghandi, Lincoln, and George Washington. The smoking building with a number counter next door, is an art installation called The Metronome. There's big businesses like Whole Foods, Staples, and Barnes and Noble as well as Mom and Pop restaurants and retail spots like my favorite juice place, Jus @ The Coffee Shop, my fav coffee house, Joes, my alternative to Home Depot, Basics Plus, and the one of the best wine and liquor stores in the city, Union Square WIne. So, if you're in the hood, make sure to stop by. For a session, a coffee or jus, or just to say "hello"!

 

 

Pilates Designs by Basil
In my life as a Pilates instructor I've been certified twice, and have worked on almost every brand of Pilates equipment on the market. My initiation to Pilates began in California, with The Physical Mind Institute. Physical mind has it's roots with founder and modern dancer, Eve Gentry who studied and taught for Joe Pilates himself. We used Balanced Body apparatus, which was fine with me as that was all I knew, and ignorance is bliss. Later, I worked in many studios in and around Los Angeles filled with all sorts of equipment, until I landed in Beverly Hills at a studio called Live Art Pilates, where I met my mentor Shari Berkowitz and was introduced to Classical Pilates. I finally felt like I understood the roots of the method and how the exercises could flow, one into another, especially with the help of the right equipment. That equipment was Gratz. From then on, all I wanted was Gratz, Gratz, Gratz. I wouldn't settle for less. So for years I knew nothing else until at Power Pilates NYC, I discovered Basil. Basil, as in Basil Blecher, worked at Gratz for many years until he decided to make his own way in the industry with the creation of his own Pilates equipment manufacturing business. Teaming up with Panos and Sylvia Adamopoulos (already successful woodworkers in their own right) they've made their home in my Astoria neighborhood. I first visited the workshop, within walking distance of my home, to pick up a little prop, and was greeted with such a hospitable greeting I stayed for almost an hour. Since then, I have purchased a reformer/tower combo from them, and have decided to outfit the studio with several more pieces. Basil has captured the spirit and feel of the original Gratz, but with modern genius touches like adjustable leather straps and removable shoulder blocks. The result is beautiful, authentically true, and exceptionally functional pieces. The best thing about Basil's is that they will make it to your specifications- no questions asked. He knows how to construct it the same as always, slightly different, or out and out transformed if that's what you fancy. Basil himself even helped drive my tower home on the hood of his car, while telling me stories of hauling a full cadillac the same way all the way to Virginia. No attitude, just open arms. This is more than equipment, this is community.

 

My Clients
Finally, I would be nothing without my amazing, remarkable, exceptional clientele. Some of them have been with me for years, some for just months, but I enjoy coming to work everyday to see them sweat, grow, and smile. I get as much, if not more than I give in those 55 minutes. Thank you all so very much for making my dream of owning my own studio come true. If you or someone you know would like to be part of our Pilates family, look to my website for more information or to schedule an appointment. I look forward to many more years of passion and Pilates! Hope to see you on all on the mat soon!

 

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