What Is A Cooperative?


Three years ago I took over a little Pilates studio in Union Square, called Union Square Pilates. I painted the walls, changed the name, and hung some art, and voila- FORM Pilates Union Square was born. I had absolutely no idea how things would evolve, butI wasn’t worried. I knew what I didn’t want- a factory like studio pumping out clients and controlling  what other teachers taught. I was clear on what I DID want- a studio to bring my clients to that was clean, happy, had a wonderful vibe, as well as a place where the Pilates community could come together instead of pushing each other apart.  So like one of my favorite quotes, “I dream because there is no other way I can see it happen” I dreamed big and boom- I saw it happen.


I first heard of the concept of a cooperative in the context of the grocery store, the Park Slope Coop. Members agree to work once every month in exchange for discounts on healthy fare. Very cool I thought and that planted a seed. Then through a woman’s networking group I heard about a shared workspace in the city called In Good Company. It was a place female entrepreneurs come to work, meet, and learn. Cut to two years into my owning FORM USQ and it kind of sounded like what I was inadvertently doing- renting out my space so other instructors could build and incubate their businesses under mine. I wanted a place we could be a community, so like they say, “your dream job does not exist you must create it”, and I did.


The true definition of a cooperative is an autonomous group of persons who voluntarily cooperate for their mutual social, economic, and cultural benefit. People have been cooperating since the beginning of time. Tribes were organized as cooperative structures, allocating jobs and resources among each other. Bottom line is that cooperatives are a good thing, but why weren’t there any for Pilates instructors? Why were we being left out?


The daunting costs of NYC commercial rent, equipment prices, and the shear need for space to house a proper studio keeps wannabe Pilates soloprenuers from branching out on their own. In a sprawling metropolis like New York my colleagues needed a place to bring their clients and work out of. Notoriously divided, Pilates people can be snotty and pretentious. They can be afraid of sharing and living in a world of lack instead of embracing abundance. I refused to believe that’s all there is. What if you could come as you are, with the type of clients that “get” your style, and build a thriving business without going into a mountain of debt. No reason why not so, after months of building our new structure with my team, the FORM Pilates Cooperative was born.


At FORM you can join our cooperative at one of two levels. As a Drop-In member who sees less than 10 clients a week but is looking to build, or as a Subscriber who already has a full practice, 15+ clients a week, but wants to maximize their time, profit, and diversify their revenue streams. As their fearless leader, I offer office hours, group coaching, and one-on-one consultations to help supplement the practical training we received in our certifications with business savvy. As a fully functioning Pilates studio, we also receive inquiries from potential clients and match them with their ideal Pilates instructor. The client can continue to shop around and work with several cooperative members or if it’s a match made in heaven, the teacher can take on the client as their own. This approach makes for both happy clients AND teachers.


We are excited to be the first Pilates Cooperative in NYC!

Want more info on how our cooperative works or an application to join our team? Email us studio [at] formpilates [dot] com today!


4 thoughts on “What Is A Cooperative?

  1. Hi Lindsay,

    I love this idea and have tried to implement it at my studio in NJ but have had some difficulty with it. Would you be available for a consolation with me to help me fix the glitches and answer my questions regarding how to make it work for my studio? I am generally free on Wednesday or Fridays.


    • Hi Donna!
      I’m so glad you like the idea of the cooperative and are trying to create a community in your studio in NJ! Currently I am not offering one-on-one consultations since I’m in the midst of creating a couple killer programs (one-on-one and group) to help entrepreneurs just like you! Since you’re on my email list you’ll get the details so stay tuned! In the interim you should try and come to our Biznass Social next month. It’s a great way to mastermind your business ideas/problems with your peers. Click this link for more info. Hope to see you soon!
      From the core,

  2. Hi Lindsay, I see that you do not do consultations, but I wonder if you could guide me towards any info that you might have for setting up the cooperative structure for my business? I am in Madison WI, and have been thinking about growing my business into a cooperative. I was excited to google you and see that you have already done so. Traveling to NY is not an option at this time.


    • Hi Jules!
      Thanks so much for reaching out. I do offer consultations and business coaching so I’ll be emailing you next!

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