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How to Brand Your Pilates Studio on a�Shoestring
If you’re in the process of building your Pilates business, consider the importance of developing your brand. A brand is a way for potential clients to understand what you’re selling in the blink of an eye. It’s also helpful to clarify your vision for your business, which makes promoting it that much easier. Here, studio owner Erika Quest, a former corporate marketer and branding strategist, shares her studio-starting journey along with strategies and how-to’s for marketing a Pilates business from the very beginning.
By Erika Quest
In late 2005, at the peak of my corporate career in advertising, I was faced with a life-changing decision. I could continue on my corporate path, which guaranteed the comfort of a regular paycheck but was packed with long stressful hours and little time for my family, let alone myself. Or, I could take the plunge into my passion and open a Pilates studio.
I was introduced to Pilates in 2001, after suffering a back injury. A friend of mine suggested that we attend a Pilates mat class together and I was immediately hooked. I began taking mat every week and soon added in equipment classes. After about six months, I became so passionate that I decided to learn more about Pilates and study to teach through Body Arts & Science International and Rael Isacowitz. I figured I could take on clients in the evenings and on weekends and subsidize my Pilates habit.
After a challenging eight-month program, I was happily leading mat and equipment classes three to five hours a week in two local studios, when one of the studio owners decided to move abroad. This opened the door to purchasing a small space with one trapeze table and a couple of reformers. Feeling positive about the location, surrounding businesses, overhead and potential growth, I crunched some numbers and utilized money in savings to purchase the used equipment, pay the deposit for the lease and acquire intangible assets such as customers who plan to stay in the space and continue their Pilates training.
I’m now operating my own studio, with success, and it’s fast approaching its fifth year. The marketing decisions that I’ve made along the way have been instrumental in this growth. For the first two years, I kept the initial small space and focused on ascertaining and retaining clients by way of Marketing on a Dime…or Less, as I’ll explain later on. At year two, I upgraded to a larger location, with a beautiful ocean view, allowing for steady growth with instructors and clients. Currently Studio Q has two instructors, in addition to me, and a third on the way. In year three I was introduced to my mentor (and client) Jay Blahnik , who encouraged and supported my desire to marry my marketing background and with Pilates entrepreneurship, and advised me as I worked to build the Studio Q brand. He guided me to submit materials to IDEA Health & Fitness Association for...