Discussion #3325

Shifts in the Pilates Industry

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How has the Pilates industry changed over time? In this discussion, Joan Breibart continues on from her conversation with Kristi Cooper where she discussed the past. She now looks at today and what is to come for this industry.

In addition to sharing where we are, she shares what she thinks will change and how we need to adapt to stay relevant. She also offers advice on what Pilates studio owners can do to grow their business and increase revenue.

If you have more questions about your business, you can download the pdf below with more information and then contact Joan to get one-on-one help.
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Jan 29, 2018
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Chapter 1

The Excitement of the Past

You might recognize this place. We are back in New York City with Joan Breibart in her town home and happy to be here and to continue the conversation we started about a year and 1/2 ago. I want to thank you for letting us back into your home. And I want to remind everyone what we did before. We talked about the global Pilates community, what was going on from, I believe she took us from 1962 to 2016.

So now we're gonna talk about what is to come. We're continuing the conversation. The first thing I want to ask you is should be be excited, should we be nervous, what do you think? I think it depends upon your preparation. But what we want to do in this talk is give people a way for them to make a plan.

You know they have to plan. That's what it's like when you're running something or you're just teaching, you're still having to plan. So for Physical Mind Institute and myself, and of course I came out of my second job was at the American Management Association. And, it was plan, organize and control, plan, organize, and control. This is natural.

Can I just jump in? If you have not seen the first interview, it's incredibly informative in terms of really everything Pilates related but also in a more global way in my opinion in terms of the fitness industry, the wellness industry, not a favorite term of yours. But we'll talk about that hopefully. But you really have insight from-- Too many years of working. 55 years of being employed and working in various industries.

And remember this is my fifth career. So all those others contribute, right? You're used to looking at products, and industries, and lifecycles. It's not how am I gonna teach teaser today. It's not?

No, that's not what anyone should be thinking at this point. They might have thought about it 10 years ago but not now. So take me back, you were talking about plan-- Planing, organizing, and controlling is that little motto. But whatever it is, I started in 2000 to think about this in 2006. Think about?

What's the next 10 years, and then beyond. So you always do a 10 years plan, right? That in and of itself is innovative for some of us who don't plan and organize truly. Well it's not as if you're in a big corporation where you do an official business plan. I'm not expecting anyone to be doing that.

But certainly, your thinking has to go beyond today or next week or whatever. So I started to do this in 2006. And I had experience because of the nature of this business, this industry, and the method whatever, some really dramatic changes. I mean let's face it. It was dea.

Pilates was as dead as it could be in the '80s. When? In the '80s. It couldn't be. It was more alive in the '70s than the 80s.

But that's the most important thing because there was no exercise business until 1970. I'm not saying that people didn't go out and run or there weren't some health clubs or Jack LaLanne or whatever. But they start counting from 1970. So we were there as a little cult, and nobody really looked at it that early as an industry. So I mean I'm talking about owning a health club, and a treadmill, and whatever.

So that was a kind of beginning for everybody in a way. We were still hanging in there. You know these random studios where people had a reformer or something. But then it started to really decline in the '80s. And yet at the same time, the group particularly on the West Coast where you had people, of course Elizabeth LarKam in St. Francis which was a headquarters, right, and Ken Endelman was really starting to get it going in terms of how do we manufacture you know more reformers and chairs or whatever.

Ken Endelman of Balanced Body. Balanced Body of course which was Current Concepts. And, individual people, and so they brought out Carola Trier who was my first teacher to do a workshop, Gillian arranged for that, and then Eve. So they were starting to think okay this could be, we can be connected. Who's the we in that sentence?

Just people around the globe, I mean probably as many in Australia and England as here, who had happened into a Pilates studio maybe in New York, maybe they went to Carola, maybe they went to Fitzgerald, maybe they went out and saw Ron Fletcher, or whatever, and they knew about this thing, right? And of course, yoga was starting the same thing at the same point. They were okay you know yoga now, maybe this is gonna be a discipline. I mean just stating the obvious that yoga's been around a lot longer. I don't think that's what you're saying.

It doesn't matter how long anything's been around. So has Feldenkrais, so has Alexander, so was so many things. So are you speaking from a media perspective? I'm talking from a business standpoint, industry, business and industry players, money. Let's talk money.

So those people were coming together, and I did not know this because remember I'd been a client. I was not teaching. I didn't own a studio or anything like that. And then this happenstance of meeting Eve and Michelle and then starting this Institute for the Pilates Method when there was a trademark, all of that happened very quickly in 1991. And that was it.

So the '90s, there was then an official place which was in Santa Fe, and then there was the Counter in New York which was Romana and very soon in 1992 Sean Gallagher. If I were to describe the '90s for all the people that started to hear about it and the ones that were in early like Elizabeth, or Ray, or Brent, or all those people, it was very exciting. It was extremely exciting because if you were one of those people, and you would meet someone at a party or something, and they wanted to know what you did, and then you would say well I teach Pilates. And, they would look at you like what did you say? What was that?

So you're doing something you like and believe in. It has no recognition. You probably can barely earn a living. Michelle Larson would go and teach aerobic classes to you know supplement this meager income. So it goes from that where it's not just a question of can you you know pay the rent, but nobody knows what you're doing, and no one's saying oh that seems interesting.

No, it was like that name, you know this terrible name, whatever, okay. So you get into this explosion where even though people still can't pronounce it like 1997 or something. They've heard it, whatever, all that kind of stuff. So all the people who got in early are starting to feel this is gonna work. It's gonna work, right?

Meanwhile there's this massive lawsuit, right? And at that point, it was really more or less the West Coast versus New York because Romana couldn't-- It was more territory than anything. Couldn't think about anything other than her studio. But there was actual fighting, hatred, hostility. I mean it was exciting though.

People were getting sued. I was sued four times. Certainly you know you were up-- Based on what? Just in case, I still feel like a lot of people-- Trademark, there's a trademark infringement case that was brought against us for using the word Pilates. And, then all kinds of other smaller, when they would use Pilates name 'cause studios were opening everyday.

It was extremely exciting, and it was very narrow. All of that detail, that you want from that if this is the first meeting of you is in the first interview. I just need to say that 'cause it's so important to this whole conversation. To feel that involved, right? That's why people do wars.

You know you're alive, right? And this was a war, but it had underpinnings that had nothing to do with the status legal or otherwise which came to be a illegal of this trademark. It had to do with neutral, remember that. What do you mean neutral? Neutral pelvis, right, that whole thing.

So that means that people were taking a stand based on this idea that you wouldn't tuck. It was either this or that. And if you did this, that meant you were this style. And certainly, everybody on the West Coast and all the people in the neutral thought that the people who weren't doing it were stupid. I mean there's no other way to put it, stupid right.

Even though as Marika Molnar will point out, what we called tucking was what exercise physiologists for decades have recommended. Let's say you're standing and doing a squat, so it was safer because people really didn't have an in-depth view of how things work. Certainly, they weren't using an MRI to see how somebody would be looking inside or anything like that. So there was a lot of ignorance. Exercise business now has 20 years.

It's out there. Health clubs and people talking about exercise, exercise. Pilates, getting a position, it's very exciting in the '90s. But people were scared also, right. Yeah, I was gonna say.

And then there's the rest of us who were sort of doing both. Yeah people were scared, do I say the name? And what does it mean if I don't? So it was scary for some people. But it was interesting.

It was very interesting to have these battles. And I think even today when I say to people about this tucking and Joe and people will look at photos or video, it wasn't video, it was film but anyway. And they'd say well the person is tucking. And why? It's such a long story.

It's a very long story especially if you use the word imprinting which was Eve's-- Eve's word. Eve's word, right. But not meant the same way. Then now you go back, and you'll see people whether it's Brooke Siler or somebody else will say oh well we weren't tucking, we were just connecting or using the powerhouse more strongly, all this kind of stuff, right? So the picture would be one thing, and the conversation would be another.

But they didn't want to use the word neutral. This is really the big stuff that was occupying everybody. I think, from my perspective which was relatively new, very new in retrospect in terms of what I, well I can't say I know a whole lot more now, but it made you claim your spot. You identified yourself. You almost had to because there was so much-- You were forced into one camp or the other.

If you wanted to say anything at all and feel confident, and I think over time that's changed. And that's where we'll go. This is a great summary. Keep going. I'm just wanting to throw in my piece of that.

But there's no, at this point, everybody's accepted. And nobody is saying oh well if you teach classical Pilates, you don't know anything. Was that not the origin though? I mean maybe not neutral versus imprinting but just purely, I mean you could call it East Coast, West Coast neutral, imprinting, Shauna and Romana, versus Ron and Eve. I mean you could say it a couple different ways I thought.

I don't know. I think is was... I mean I really don't know looking back why we didn't figure it out sooner frankly. Figure it out? Figure out that it's the same exercises, we're all using the same apparatus, right?

So you know you teach teaser here and teaser there. It doesn't matter. Really sometimes when I look at your channel, and I see on the site someone who says classically trained, right? And they're doing the same thing as five other people who don't use that term who are also well known. You know how this deteriorated into this gigantic battle.

Yeah. I mean that's like a big conversation. It seemed like a lot of wasted energy. Yeah, that could be fought on many levels. I'd love to talk about that because I have a theory about it, but we don't have time for it now.

But there was a lot of energy focused on this, but it was also kind of a distraction from the lawsuit and the fact that I didn't know. I should've known. And everybody else should've known. I don't even know if Ken knew that the chances of invalidating a trademark are like you might as well just say you're gonna win $760 million lottery or whatever that someone-- It could happen. It happened.

It did happen, but we should've known that. We should've been better advised. But anyway, all that has passed. So we have this kind of exciting, dramatic thing, war, and then it's over. It's over October 19th, 2000.

The trademark is liberated, we would say. And the people who were on the other side in the Romana camp, cleverly, I'm sure they planned it. But it seemed like it was just out of the box, classical, they're all of a sudden classical which is a better term than any of the terms. I'm classically trained, right? Whatever.

So there they still try to maintain their superiority 'cause that's really what we're talking about, their superiority with that term. But it didn't matter in terms of business. You know why? It was a pent up demand, and it was just unleashed.

Chapter 2

The Pilates Boom

In your opinion, does that come from a desire to be superior, or is it a part of the dance world, not the actual word classical though I know it is.

Do you think the inspiration for that was money for the trademark lawsuit for the desire to hold onto certain things and certain ways-- Just to be in your group. You wanted to identify your group. And they didn't understand that the consumer didn't care if there was an R after the S, or you called it classical, or you just called it the method, I mean that-- So what was the intent? It was, for those people, I just think they could maintain their superiority, right? We do it exactly the way Joe did it.

That's what I think. I mean it's hard to know today. Not for any other reason like and that will lead us to have money-- Well they had this impression which is wrong that if they were authentic, then the public would go to them over someone who wasn't. I mean obviously if they had won, then Shauna and Romana would have put everybody else out of business or made them convert, right? There would have only been one kind.

And if you didn't convert, you would have had another name like Physical Mind. You would have been the Physical Mind Studio maybe, but it didn't happen. It didn't make any difference 'cause they lost. And it didn't do anything for business having classical or not having the R or whatever. It was just huge business for every single person.

Sorry. It was huge business? Every teacher, every studio, every single person from 2000 on was just swamped with new business, with clients coming, waiting lists. No matter? No matter what, where you say, blah, blah, blah, period.

And you think that's good? No, I didn't think it was good. But I'm gonna tell you a story about it because I think this summarizes it all. One of the early ones, you know remember these were the people who got in early like Elizabeth Larkam. She's at St. Francis, and Garrick was very impressed with Pilates, and Fletcher goes up there, and Ken is involved.

Everybody is all on the same page there. There? Right. Knowing that they had the trademark, there still was the trademark issue in the background. So what year, we're talking around year '91, four?

Yeah. Okay. But everybody is, there on. The lawsuit technically hadn't started, but the trademark was there. Was there in the background.

Like nobody was talking too much 'cause Romana couldn't talk about a thing like that. And Sean didn't take it over until late '91, two. So here's what happens. There's a person among this group. Her name is Karen Seltzer Madison.

She's in her 60s I guess now. Anyway, she's part of that group. She was certified at St. Francis Hospital in 1989. Who was certifying? 'Cause that was really quite new as an idea even.

It wasn't really. Sorry who was? I guess it was Elizabeth Larkam. With the team? Or what's her name, the other woman, it'll come to me, I can't think of it but anyway.

There was another well known woman. I cannot think of her name now. Patricia Whiteshead? Yeah. Thank you.

I'm getting better. (laughing) Your brain is better than mine now. Anyway, okay so she was there. Anyway but whatever, that was a center, and they had reformers. People were doing it.

Ken would go there regularly, whatever. So this person, Karen, the first workshop we had, that huge workshop, the inauguration sort of, October 1991, she comes from the Bay Area with Elizabeth and 10 other teachers and Madeline Black and all these other people you know, right? And everyone's excited. It's gonna happen now. But the minute that she got certified, or as she calls it certified which was 1989, she opened up a little studio which she described to me as sort of like it was been in a former high school, and this was like the size of a classroom in Palo Alto.

And it certainly wasn't a place you know a great retail location or a real studio, just a room that she put reformers in and started. Okay, and she was incredibly busy. Then she didn't even have a bathroom. So they had to move to another location in like '93 or four, right? And she continues to be busy, busy, busy.

Eventually she moves to one which is really just next to Stanford, Palo Alto, that's Stanford. And then she is going ahead like crazy. And we're talking 2002, you know one, two, you know all that. When you say going ahead? Her studio's expanding, expanding.

As she describes it, we had wait lists, you know wait lists of people who wanted to come to the studio. The Pi-lates, I gotta get it, I gotta get in there, whatever. Pi-lates meaning what people still called it. Yeah, was still calling it. But she's just one of many other studios.

Madeline Black had a thriving one. Okay, so we're the early part. We're at the part where we add up the numbers, Pilates was growing at like 32% a year which is unheard of for anything to grow that much except for now we know tech. That's what they called the boom for Pilates. Yeah.

Pre internet boom. It was just amazing. Everyday there were studios opening and people going into certification programs or teacher training, and whatever. So Karen, she trained Tom McCook as far as I remember. Anyway, she became our certifying person.

And you know by then of course, everybody was in the game and had their certifying studios or affiliate or hosts, or whatever name. You know this idea when I launched it in 1992, no one even understood what I was talking about. It was still the institute at that time? Yeah, it was the Institute for the Pilates Method. But it didn't matter.

They didn't know what the concept of a certifying studio or a teacher training facility was. It was all apprentice or Karen probably trained Tom based on-- Yeah but I don't even mean that. When I did do it, they didn't say oh you mean going from the apprentice model to a corporate model? Which is really what it was. We were a corporation.

No, we wouldn't have said that. No, you would never say it. It was just oh what is she? It doesn't matter. We can use whatever.

We would've said why should we? Maybe. In other words, well I don't know. I wasn't there for that piece of it. I had learned what I had learned, and that was enough.

But then why go through a training if you already know it I guess. If you're already teaching. Like Siri Dharma would've said I'm already teaching. Well lots of people said it. I'm maybe too far ahead, but just in general, yeah.

It was like if I had been teaching, yeah I guess that's not what you're saying. You're talking about people who then wanted to teach. Yeah, I'm not talking about that tiny group of people who learned it in some way whether it was they hung around a studio in Change Springs like people at Carola's, whatever. It didn't matter. They had learned it.

Or some of them in a little more formalized way like Karen did at St. Francis. But certainly, Eve has people apprentice with her and Romana and whatever. Okay, so the point what I'm saying is I would be in contact with Karen because she was our certifying person in that area after Tom. Anyway, and I remember saying to her in 2006 or seven or around that area, and all she wants to do is train people for her studio because she's growing so fast. I need more teachers.

So one day, I say to her I've never been to your studio, Karen, but what do you mean? Why do always need so many teachers? So then she goes on to describe something that at that moment I was the first time really focusing on, and I thought this is bad news, bad news. She's growing. I heard that right?

She's growing tremendously and always says she needs new teachers and she needs more teachers because the people that are working for her are people who still think they're dancers or gonna make it as dances. And they're fine to bop in Thursday afternoon and do a couple of privates, right? But they were not gonna say okay this is a 40 hour a week job, and I'm here, and I'm gonna stay here. So there was that whole thing of all these freelance people I saw as part of it, right? Not like you have a studio, and these are your employees or contract workers, and they come in or whatever.

It's just this one, this one, you know it was whatever. And of course, it's very difficult thing to manage. And then they would go off. They'd finally get some dance gig, you know? And they'd go off for two months, and whatever.

So she's telling me about what she's doing, and she's excited, and she's so proud of the fact that she has waiting lists. And people can't wait to come. And I say to her Karen what you just described to me, and I'm not there, is a very bad business model, and right now this moment, this is either 2007, six, I don't know, you start changing it. You've gotta think about it. You are doing only one thing, one-on-ones.

Well just all anybody had learned, privates, occasionally a duo. You don't have yoga in there, you're not retailing, you don't have a massage therapist. You have nothing. You have this one thing you're offering. In a certain way.

Yeah, in a certain way, certain way on this apparatus. Was any part of your difficulty with the model, or your realizing it wasn't a good one, based on who she was hiring? And I'm not calling out dancers, but I think in this profession maybe people do that. I'm gonna be a mom first, but I'll throw this is. Was it any of that, or was it just purely you're doing the one thing?

Well I think that just exacerbated it. It just made it harder because of the nature of the people. They're flighty. Their passion was over here. They were also passionate about Pilates but whatever.

Passion to me is like this misplaced word. Why, why, why? I'll let you go back, but why? That's interesting passion is a misplaced word. Oh a ridiculous word to be used in anything.

Why? You're there. You hope you can earn a living doing something you like. Most people earn a living doing something they either don't like, or they can just tolerate. And that thought, that millennial thought that you have to be passionate about what you do.

Do what you love. Do what you love is just asinine. It's just the stupidest thing, and it's part of what we'll bring us down. But that's a long, but anyway. You sound passionate.

I'm passionate about Pilates, I'm passionate about whatever, who cares? They were totally unreliable. And I remember this conversation so clearly. And this is a smart woman from a very fine family. Her father was a well known orthopedic surgeon.

She had a college degree and a masters. You know she's a solid person and an excellent teacher. Excellent, excellent teacher. And what I call a workshop junkie. I mean the amount of money she's given to Jean Claude and Elizabeth and everybody else-- You mean to continue learning?

Continue learning, Karen paid a lot of money out to learn things, right? Okay, I say to her it's a terrible business model. You better start changing. I give her some ideas, doesn't listen to a thing. I don't even think that she knew what I was saying.

Because why? 'Cause I think that's another interesting thing. She's smart you just said that. She's very smart. Her father was well known.

I guess it's this-- Is it 'cause this is the way it's been done? This is the way you do it. Is that part of it? I think you don't analyze. You're not thinking or analyzing.

You're just doing. You know you hear about a workshop, you don't say to yourself, oh I see it's gonna be $400, it's gonna take the entire weekend. It looks like it's gonna be nice weather. Why should I coop myself up in that room and pay this money and what am I gonna get from? No, go to this workshop.

But you were saying she's doing one thing. She's not doing classes, I guess is what you were saying or duets. Not even that, classes or anything else. Whatever it is she's doing what she knows how and likes to do. Okay, that's what I'm wondering.

That's it. And there's weightless and whatever. I tell this story because it's one of thousands, thousands of stories. And the fact that I say to her that Pilates peaked in I would say 2006, someone might say 2007, didn't even occur to anyone. So are you talking to her now, later, or are you talking to her then?

Then. So in that time, you're saying it's peaking. Peaking, what does that mean peaking? I'm sure that was what was going on, but I didn't recognize it 'cause it's just a concept I know. Anybody who's been alive and works, industries, you know there's change.

Did you know it was peaking when it was peaking? Yes, I knew. How? I mean is that too big of a question? How did I know it was peaking?

Maybe I'll let you finish the story, and we'll go back to it. But, I would like to know that. I did know. At that moment, I started planning for today, for 2017 back then. I did for my organization then.

Everybody else was just luxuriating. They had won the lottery. Let's face it. People were doing what they wanted to do. Passionate.

What they felt comfortable, their passion, and it was just great. It was just fabulous. People know what is it now. Everybody know what it is. More than know what it is, they're so impressed with you and with it and to have done it longer.

You're getting all this status. At a party, people want to talk to you. Or not, or they want to hide 'cause they talk about their own abs. But yeah, there's a status. Whatever it was it had a big impact, a big name.

I can remember meeting people at that time and they were people who had just started, and they found out I had done it for decades, and they'd always say, and you have a studio. How many times a week do you do it? Not how well do you do it? Or is it doing anything for you? But you know 'cause everybody it was still extraordinarily expensive.

Oh my gosh, she can probably do it everyday if she wants. I always used to then depending on my mood, I think he's still around is Quentin Josephe? I don't know him, but I know who you're referring to. Okay so he came to the very first workshop. And there were people outside-- Which one was that?

That was October 10th, 11th, 12th in Santa Fe 1991. With Eve and, okay. Yeah and Ken Endelman came down. Yeah, Brent was in there. Elizabeth, a lot of people.

I mean there were like 30 people in this. We were crowding them together. And I can remember him saying this, and afterwards I said I have to take that line. I'll just you know license it from you if it's okay. So someone outside of the complex, our studio was in this complex with other businesses, right?

We were just a retail business, and the office was upstairs, came over and had heard about it because Eve had been there since '68, right? And saw this commotion and whatever. Remember the Elle Magazine article came out in October 1991 exactly when we have this first workshop the first big article on Pilates in almost 15 years. Okay so a person says something to Quentin about oh you have a studio too. It's in Torrance, California.

The question was and how often to you do it? You know he's a very good looking guy. And, he said once or twice a year if I actually need it. And the person was like. If I actually need it, that's great.

Once or twice a year if I actually need it. I said Quentin you gotta, I gotta license that from you. That's a great line. So when people started in 2007 and whatever and all around that saying how often? I'd say once or twice a year if I absolutely need it.

And then they'd get upset because-- Why? Because you were supposed to wanna do this everyday, and if you did, you would look like Giselle or somebody. You know it was all of that part, craziness of this business, right.

Chapter 3

Location, Location, Location

So now you bring me up to here, where we are right now 2017, and you wanna know, I'm sure you're asking lost of people. Hey what's it gonna be like the next 10 years?

Well I'm asking you based on the insight that you have, and the literal years that you have and knowing where the trends have gone not just within the Pilates world, certainly there, but also what I think is a broader view of general trends. What sometimes get you into trouble because you can see things I think a little more whether it's clearly or obviously. I don't know how you would say it, but you come in as if we all should know it. Part of what I want to know is how do you relate to what's happening still or is it happening still today like it was more globally back then. So yeah, I'm asking you.

Okay so I'll answer it by finishing the story. Okay. So Karen doesn't listen to me, and she's running the studio in a great area of Palo Alto, Stanford, right? And 2008, September 15th, 2008, and the entire economy crashes worldwide, remember that? She's out of business by mid 2009.

She has to close the studio where she can't train teachers fast enough or hire them fast enough and she has a waiting list. She's out of business. Two to three years later. No, within a year. It happened September eight, she's out of business in mid 2009.

She's out of business. She closes that studio. She cannot keep in business, right? Now you don't remember now, but Pilates business started to have a real slowdown and everyone just said oh it's the recession. I mean obviously we had a massive event here, right?

And a lot of businesses were hurt. All businesses. I was gonna say, yeah. Everyone was hurt, right. And she closed her business.

She didn't have any more clients. She closed down. Now years later, we went back to this conversation that we had had, and I said I told you Pilates peaked. And up until a week ago when she asked me that questions again, I don't think it sunk in. And I have her full permission to tell this story.

What's the question specifically? It was that everybody who had business problems at that time, the rest of 2008, 2009, 2010, who had Pilates studios or were teaching thought this was solely the economic issues in America and the world. So the recession killed my business? Yeah, recession killed my business. That's the answer to that question.

It's not me, not the way I was teaching, nothing The recession hurt me. And when I went back and talked to Karen which was only a week ago which is why I can tell this story 'cause she put it in an email and said okay tell everyone. And was her question that? Like was it was this the reason? Or what was the actual question?

Did it really peak in 2006? Okay, thank you. That's what it really was. Still could not believe what I had said because that concept was not-- 11 years later? Yeah, still wouldn't.

Okay so what did she do? She closed the business. She rented space within a sports physical therapy place. And she had a private clientele. Private clientele which meant she's one person not with six or seven teachers, no website or whatever.

She just held onto about 15 clients who were with her, and that was it. Very familiar. It's very familiar to a lot of people, right? Absolutely. And she did that through 2016, and then she gave up on that, and she moved to Asheville, North Carolina where she is right now, where there are according to her minimum of 25, maybe as many as 40 yoga studios and maybe eight or nine Pilates studios, and that's where she is.

So she left the Bay Area where she, I think, grew up and had all this success and all those workshops and whatever, and then she's in Asheville now. So here's the important thing-- Did she go for her business or for other reasons? She just felt like she didn't want to stay there and teach one. She thought if she's in another location. Okay.

You know Asheville is now like Santa Fe was and all these things. You know it's a everybody new agey and wellness and all that kind of stuff. It's in North Carolina when you're not smoking. (laughing) That's part of the heritage too. You couldn't be a citizen in North Carolina unless you can smoke right of course.

That's there business, tobacco. So she's there now. But let me just tell you the one thing she said. Don't fail to tell this to people when you tell the story. She said you know Joan when I left having been in that area for so long involved with Pilates since the '80s, right?

And I leave in 2016 I wanted to make sure that my you know what are they 15 clients were well placed. I wanted to locate them to another studio or studios or whatever. And I really worked at it and tried to, and here's what I found out Joan in 2016, they didn't give a damn whether the teacher had all these workshops or was a master teacher or was certified by this one and not that one or was even certified. Her clients? Yes, and she is what you would call a master teacher.

It was just location, location, location which is what retail is about. I live here, or I work here. This is when I want to do my Pilates session and whatever studio is there, whatever teacher's there that's where I'm going. And that was her final you know come to Jesus moment. Like whatever you want to call it because then she called me in Asheville.

She said I still can't believe it. And I was not surprised of course, but she is, and I think almost everybody who listens to this will be very surprised. So what is the real message in that? Is what she experienced, what Karen experienced based on it peaked and everyone just wants to say they're doing Pilates, or is it that the rest of us or some of us teachers are still too territorial and think all of our effort actually matters compared to location, you know in other words is it that we're not teaching-- It's much more than that. Okay so what is-- Okay.

You know what they say the bloom is off the rose. We have to try to remember that nobody went and exercised or even thought about exercise in the '60s, started in the '70s. People thought it was magic. You know you were 5'2", had bow legs, you know thick ankles, you thought you'd look like Giselle or something, right? This has been the most oversold, even more oversold than diet exercise spin.

And Pilates is exercise, right? And you told people that they would go to this or that or take this program or that program, whatever and they would transform themselves. You told them too, didn't you? I'm sure I did. I'm just saying like we did.

We all told them that. Everybody's part of it. Difference was I think everybody believed it. I didn't believe it, but I told them, right? Because that's what you tell people.

'Cause that's what you got people there for. And it was good, it is good. So it's been so oversold. There's no other word for it. So now people know it's exercise.

They still can get turned on. Well maybe I was putting this arm here, and if I go to this one and Tracy Anderson says well you have to put this arm and this arm, I will have this body that I see and want. But they know it's not. So that's a big difference. Number two is the first time you did these exercises and heard these names and was on this equipment, it was so new and whatever.

It's not new. It's not new to anybody anymore, right? So what's the difference? I'm renting a reformer. The teacher's saying to me one vertebrae at a time.

And I might as well go here it's closer than whatever. Yeah, but the difference is of course is everyone now accepts that exercise is necessary. That's a huge thing. That would seem to bode well then? Right, that's good.

That's important. That's a very important fact. No one is saying anymore, ah exercise I don't have to do that or whatever. No one would feel that way. They've been so told how beneficial it is.

But being oversold is another story. So they know now what it can and cannot do. They feel like brushing your teeth, you gotta do it. Exercise not necessarily Pilates? Yeah exercise.

Yeah, you gotta do exercise. She wasn't thinking about that. She's still into the magic that if this particular teacher and this cue and sequence and da-da-dah and when I put on the Cadillac before I do. She doesn't recognize people aren't dumb. They are dumb, but they get smarter.

What? Well they're basically dumb to even believe-- People? Yeah, they're suckers. People are suckers. Come on, it is good, and it can be transformative, all those things if you dedicate yourself to it, no?

I guess I'm looking at it more from zero to anything I suppose. It's hard for me to sit here and go the person who subscribes to exercise is dumb based on what someone else said. No, no, no, all I'm saying is people are basically that way, and then they get smarter. I didn't think exercise had any value whatsoever which they should've seen anyway. Then I think it's the greatest thing in the world, and I can have whatever.

And then eventually oh yeah it's exercise. I have to do it. I'll do it. I understand that. Maybe there'll be a new one that'll be magic, maybe the magic'll come back.

I spent a lot of years there I think. But, we're talking a long time. This is a mature industry. And the worst thing about it is health club people will tell you is they view it as we have a certain segment. Some people will say it's only 20% of the population, other people say it's 40%, but it's not even 60.

They're exercise junkies, they're body junkies. And then the rest of the people are in and out. That's what they say, and I think it's pretty true. But that affects us. So what I'm trying to tell you is it's many different things, this story of what happened to her, being really early, no one knowing what this was, then the exciting years when everybody is interested and wants to talk to you in the '90s and it's going along, and there's a lot of drama, and you have all your friends on your side and people on the other side, the lawsuit and talking about the name or whatever.

And then this honeymoon, this fabulous period that went from 2000 to they think if it hadn't been for the recession it wouldn't even happen in 2008. Everyone's saying oh that damn recession came in there, but we were just going, going, going. If it weren't for that, we'd still be-- And I would say no. The public was getting more aware. There are lifecycles for industries.

This is what happened. Things just go to a certain point, they peak, then what happens? This complicated thing when you look at it. Now ignorance is bliss. It's absolute bliss.

Everyone has to understand that that's not just a cliche until it isn't. So it was absolute bliss for Karen until it wasn't, and she was unprepared. And I'm gonna tell you right now in 2017 there are plenty of studio owners and teachers who have a business and they have a clientele that will just keep coming back, and back, and back. And if a studio opens across the street and they have cheaper prices and a longer schedule, they won't even walk across the street. There are people like that, right?

And they are unaffected by anything that's happening, that I might say, that you might say, than anything. That's good. Is that just loyalty? What would you attribute that to? Who knows why they have that?

I think a lot of that has been built on that. The old Pilates was built on that kind of loyalty. You know you're talking about a number of people you could put in your eye and you wouldn't feel it. You can't talk about 10 million people in the same way. That's the whole point of all of this, right.

Chapter 4

Factors That Influence Your Business

Is there a way that you would sum up, if nothing changed prior to, sticking with Karen example, what was her last name, I'm sorry. It was two names, Seltzer Madison. Okay, sticking with her. I think there's a lot of people like that based on who they learned from too. That's a really good example of the way it works.

So if it were to stay like that you know in and of itself, like in other words, things are changing, and you can feel that. We're gonna talk about that, but is that why I guess? No, but if you think the recession was the only factor that influences the prosperity of your business which I don't believe that they did That that's right? Then you would say I've gotta cut prices. That's what you would say.

That'd be a normal reaction, a good reaction right? Hey people are worried about money, or they lost their job, so I'm gonna lower my prices, right? How am I gonna do that? Well instead of doing one-on-one or duets, I'm gonna get eight reformers and wow that's gonna work out better. So we have people starting that then, and of course that's what Club Pilates became, right?

That's a logical reaction to-- There's a piece missing for me I think, and that is if it was not the recession, why wouldn't it have kept going? Well you need a big event to shake people up of course-- Why did you know it was a model that wouldn't work in the long run. Because I think regardless of the fact that it is now accepted exercise is necessary and beneficial, and whatever, regardless of that, it's fickle, fickle, fickle. Now it's not fickle when there's one Pilates studio and nobody even knows the name, and you've got this little thing. I understand.

You have a broader, then you get into that. It's fickle. It's the understanding, the maturity, the change in the whole culture of exercise if you will. The competition, and the fact that people are doing this for the wrong reasons. I mean all exercise has been done for the wrong reasons.

Well exercise has been sold for weight loss. That's the whole purpose, not that you would improve your alignment and your posture, and you'd move better, and you would-- Think clearly. Your blood pressure would be whatever. No, it was sold for weight loss. And that was actually why Pilates died in the '80s, the high aerobic '80s when people started.

You know Kevin Bowen told me he was teaching a two and 1/2 hour aerobic class by the time it was over, right? Oh, an hour didn't do it, so we'll do an hour and 1/2, da-da-dah. And even today when it has been proved, and there's so much research that shows that it's not only not a weight loss solution, it can even actually impede weight loss because it elevates cortisol. People will keep, it's still the same thing. Eat healthy and exercise.

It just keeps rolling off the tongue. My head just went somewhere. I'm just curious about what you would say about, okay so Pilates yes it's for, if you read Return to Life, vitality, zest, living better. Right, okay. And the balance between work, rest, and play.

That's what made me think of it, and when I think of Kevin Bowen doing two and a half hours, and I was not far behind although he had been tougher than me in that thinking. Is there any part of the philosophy around work, rest, and play that fits into this discussion? It definitely fits into it. Yes, it definitely does. But it's gonna require some adjustments here because when I mean I read like everything that's out there.

I mean everyday I read WebMd which I've now renamed Web DMD, diabetes. So it's all they write about is diabetes. 85% of the articles on this huge site which has been around a long time are about diabetes. Because we're gonna have this tsunami of diabetes, right? Okay so we have right now an obese population, 50%, that's it, 50% sorry, plus 25% moving in that direction.

So that is why we have body positivity. That's why the recent cover of Pilates Style Magazine has is there a Pilates body? Well we thrived on there was a Pilates body, right? People would say oh your body, your thighs. We thrived on that, right?

So we can't do that anymore. It's not politically correct, and the body positivity people are in the majority, and so that affects everything. Now we're looking for things that are going to make it still magic. Okay breathing, books out, you go over to Barnes and Noble, there's a big book, Breath, right? So breathing is like, that's an important thing.

Well it is. Of course it is. Nobody ever said it wasn't, but before it was just your six pack, right? Pilates was the six pack. I think there's some effort to continue to breakdown the sense of it being exclusive versus maybe what it was originally trying to do with making sure we knew Candace Bergen did it.

You wanted people to even know how to say it initially. Then it became it's too expensive, and you have to be a celebrity to be able to afford it, and you can only do one-on-one. You know when we started doing mat classes, it was always like oh well I only do equipment as if that was somehow-- That wasn't a real thing. Yeah, and so I think that's part of that type of idea. And I understand what you're saying.

Yeah, but those people they may say that, but nobody believes any of that stuff anymore. I mean you can't pretend that-- You said in our last interview that this is America. It's materialistic no matter which way you slice it. Let's get real here. It's where we're living.

And remember I told you I'm not going to bring this discussion into what's happening in Italy. I mean I'll include Canada in this, or Brazil, or Japan, or whatever. But whatever we do, or how it goes, it'll be there whatever, so that's it 'cause we dominate. So yes, everything is a moving target, right? And there are a lot of changes.

And we've had this really dramatic history, right? And now here we are, right? But the class idea of okay no we're not going to do an assessment, right? And we're not going to then just work with you on this issue that your right hip is a little bit hiked here, and that's causing a tiny rotation there, and we're going to do these exercises, or you're so kyphotic anyway, we'll have to eliminate 40% of these exercises we were planning to teach you, and all that kind of stuff. So we're into classes, right?

And if we hadn't done the mat classes, it would never have gotten out there anyway. I think it's fair to say we is not necessarily all. Meaning yes, generally mat class itself is respected-- The studios that don't do reformer classes or chair classes or wall unit classes, they are doing yoga probably, they probably have a Pilates mat, right? They're gonna get those new sonic vibration machines in there 'cause that's heating up now. I'll have to look into it.

In fact, the guy who has the biggest one called me and said should I go to PMA? He doesn't have a booth yet, but he's thinking of going there, sonics right? Everything is about all these issues and the failure. Remember all of this has been a huge failure. I mean if you were may age, if you were 76, and you were last night, you know I was at the theater, the same theater I've been in forever, and I'm looking at the people, and I'm thinking I can't even believe it, right?

It's hard to believe it. Meaning? They're fat. Everybody's fat. Pilates, if he were here today, he'd be looking around how could it be?

Do you think those people should be doing teaser? Fat? No! You have to change based on a lot of things, the competition, of course the fact of what people are like today, right, the entire industry searching around for new magic. Oh it's breathing, or it's meditation, or you have to have this sleep, eat this but don't eat that. All these things, it's the same story.

And we're part of that story 'cause we are not Alexander. We are not a little cult of people that no one's heard of anymore. Will you parse that out for me a little bit more. We're part of the story because we want to be. Sure, because you're not gonna be getting people to give workshops and have people pay all this money.

I mean I know we want to be. I think the people who want to be in it are absolutely expecting some form of success globally if not within their own practice only. I mean I guess what I'm wondering is you keep bringing up Alexander as this cult. How many people, you go out on the street. I'll tell you one thing if I had thought about this, and I've said this before, in 1991 when I came up with the name Institute for the Pilates Method, and instead I'd gone around the country and in every city asked 100 people tell us about the Pilates method, and not one of them would've known it.

I would've sat down and said I'm not gonna call it this. I'm gonna call it something else because it wouldn't matter. 'Cause it didn't matter. So the Alexander group, is it they didn't have a Joan Breibart? Is it that they didn't care, that they don't want it to be?

It's all those things. It's all those things? Okay, all right, just clarifying. And even today, they're so entrenched, and they've built a little lifestyle. You're a huge Alexander fan.

I just want to say that as context. Absolutely, and I showed You're part of the cult in a way. of them my head floater product and said you can make money with this. You can help people with it, and it's I'll get one. I'll turn it around.

But, their mindset hasn't gone to where-- How are we different then? Well first of all, because of the fact that we were exercise. Remember Alexander is not exercise, you know Feldenkrais. They're all allied. They knew one another, but we're exercise.

And there was an exercise industry that was 20 years old. So that's the thing. That makes sense. Even though we're talking inside out, people only see the out. Now they don't even see the out.

Remember body positivity, you can't look at the out. Can't look at the shape. So we're going in in a way. Monica, you know my daughter-in-law was a model. She's Portuguese.

So she sends me something from fashion week. You know it's fashion week in New York? And I can tell that she's really irritated by sending this to me because she's 5'9 and 1/2" and weighs 120, and they have plus size models. That's taking some of her work. She's not modeling anymore, but it's taking her work.

And the ones that are starving themselves to still be that, and they see people there that are you know 160 pounds. Keep talking. I can't sit here and cope. You know it's back and forth. But I think it's good for Pilates studios, all of this.

First of all, people have given up on exercise as weight loss. That's good? They know they have to do exercise, right? That's good news? It's all good news.

Pilates, now if you're this kind of person, you will define it as oh I do this, da-da-dah, this and that, very narrow way of doing it, right? Right. But if you're like me, then you define it very broadly. So let's have a whole lot of exercises for fat people. Wait.

But now you're talking about something else because the exercises are the exercises. They are, so we change them. Just change 'em, who cares? Change 'em. Is that actually your point of view, or is it that you're saying that's what's happening?

Well it's happened. It has to happen for a class. It has to happen for a class, that's true. Sure, I've seen it. And remember Maria Leone did a video that everyone's cooing about on your site.

You know she was our person for years. She's changed half the exercises in that video. Yeah, she says so too, yeah. There's nothing wrong with that. Not for that reason I wouldn't say.

So then you're gonna get worried in how do we define Pilates and separate us? I don't want to separate. I kind of like the idea of it being exercise and everybody does it. I would rather add in more of the vitality, zest, work, rest, play part of it honestly. But I remember we talk occasionally just to talk, and there's some reference that you've made about people don't want to look inward, or they're not allowed to look, I think you said your comment, you keep calling everyone fat.

Like you can't even say that. No, of course not, but in my apartment, I'll say it. You're in a lot of people's apartments hopefully. But yeah, I guess I'm just trying to what's the commentary? Everything is always changing.

It's always changing. Now because we were so focused on this fight for the '90s like a survival fight and all the rest of it, you couldn't look around you and think you know-- Anything nice almost. Right, it's just like we're fighting, but it's great. It's getting out there. Oh no, now maybe I'll be put out of business 'cause you know I'm not part of that group or whatever.

But a lot happening, exciting growth, people coming into it, the public knowing about it. And then boom, it's all over one day October 19th, 2000, and it explodes. And all the people who had been early on it start building big organizations. They're not just there I'm doing well in my studio. No, I'm gonna be training teachers and giving workshops all around the world and all the rest of it.

And that goes on, and we have the recession, hurts business, people, some of it really hurts people, some of it they're just you know a new reality. They don't realize all the other factors. They didn't have a chance to think about them in the '90s. They would never have thought about them. They certainly didn't think about them in 2000 because money's just rolling in and everybody's so happy and whatever.

So it's just the recession. Okay so we'll have more mat classes, we'll bring in some yoga, and we'll do some reformer classes, or we'll get wall units, or whatever. Smart, that's smart. That's good, you know we're adapting, right? Okay so now that's led-- I think so yeah.

Yeah, I think so. I mean some people won't agree, but yeah, you're responding. Oh my god, but you're responding in only one issue, money, pricing, and you need to be responding in terms of the bodies, the culture, the competition, you know all sorts of other things should be coming into your decisions. Not just I can't keep charging $75, whatever. And, I've gotta get packages.

Plenty of studios didn't even have packages. You know it wasn't like okay sign up and get 10 lessons and pay less. Right? They didn't even have a cancellation policy. Last minute someone, oh my cat's sick, and you know it wasn't-- I did that in 1994.

Some did. People in the studio hated it. Some did pretty early on. But yeah, it wasn't the culture of it for sure.

Chapter 5

Adapting to Change

So just getting back to we have to adapt.

We are adapting, and that rubs a lot of people the wrong way sometimes. Why does it rub a lot of people the wrong way? I think it's the fear of losing, I don't know if you'd call it an art, losing what they knew. I don't know. I came into it not authentic as some would say.

And so I appreciate learning in that way more than I ever knew I would learning what the perception is of what it was or just even the full on original exercises. It's 100 times better today than what it used to be. Okay so then given everything that's happened, given the diet industry-- Whatever, the whole thing. The whole thing. We're all a part of the whole thing.

I'm still trying to figure out if you think it's good or bad that we're showing anyone can do it. I think that was when you referred to the. Anyone can do it. Anybody can do it, yeah. That's good though?

Of course. Okay, I was misunderstanding that. Well it's not good if you think well I have to teach teaser, this exercise, in this place, and I can't eliminate it, or I can't modify this one, or I'm only gonna do it on Gratz equipment which is the resistance is twice, you know. Okay I'm glad I asked 'cause I was thinking you were saying something slightly different than that. That it was like rather we should still be glorifying it in a certain way in terms of actual physicality.

And so I don't think you're saying that. I never would say that. I didn't even say that in the beginning. Look around you, what do the people want? What they need?

How are we gonna give it to them? Okay absolutely. It's nice to give them what they need, but you know frequently they don't want to get what they need. That's where we are here. We don't say read admiral Michael Mullen was on Charlie Rose about a month ago and just said casually, and of course Charlie knows but he, America's in a slow decline.

And Charlie goes like this. Of course he knows we are. We don't talk about it. Make America Great Again, oh well let's not talk about a slow decline or even a decline. We wouldn't have a phrase like that if you didn't...

Yeah no, it's just occurring to me how that phrase, the way it was used, I think was also as compared to someone else. So can we as a Pilates industry still be positive whether it's through body positivity or just being truthful? Can we still be truthful and positive without comparison to something other within the industry? In other words, that's sort of how it's been built was us versus them, us versus them, us versus them. I do feel that faded a long time ago.

I mean you may know people who still feel that way-- No, I think it has too. I really, that, no. Okay good. We've actually influenced the bigger industry probably more than anyone. You know all this core stuff, core, core, (muttering).

Whether they know it or not, that comes from us because that's what we did in the '90s to talk about the powerhouse. The fact that you pay attention to breathing comes out of Pilates. And yoga. And yoga, but I think Pilates more. So we've influenced them, we're part of them.

And I will tell you, and this is not something that people want to hear, but they're gonna hear it right now. I feel like barre, B, A, R, R, E, is the antithesis of what I consider the real Pilates, the antithesis of it. It fights with every important concept. And how many Pilates teachers are certified in barre, have barre in their studios or on your site? If you take anything, I would say if you believe in Pilates, then you don't believe in barre?

Why? It's about fatiguing one little muscle, so you can feel tired. It's about 30 reps until you're ready to die, right? It's not internal. It's about moving fast for no reason.

Okay, or it's about satisfying the desire. I'm talking about, I'm making up the story actually. But could it be it's satisfying that make it hurt, make it burn, make it-- Sure it does absolutely, right. And, their not just Pilates teachers. They're former dancers, everyone on our site that does it, so I don't know I just assume there's something in that too.

Well if you think about it, we came in in 1991 when dieting went through this huge five year slump, and exercise, the aerobic thing was over. And we started to make it so that people would recognize just because you're sweating and it hurts doesn't mean it's positive. We brought that, right? That's what we did. It's important 'cause it's true.

And it's not that you don't sweat, and it's not hard, but it's not that pinpointed thing. That doesn't mean that it's working, right? 'Cause your sweating, and it's hard. It's not working because of that, right? That was the only thing.

We are back to that now, but we are back to everything. It goes from this to that. Oh sleep in more important than exercise, but then there's all these people doing you know Soul Cycle. It's schizophrenic. So what would you tell us if you didn't still influence fully, but just from far away what would you suggest?

Well I mean for America here's what's happening. Pilates Style Magazine is going to do, I think a pretty big story on certification in January. Now I pitched them that story almost a year ago. And they did half of it. They did the part which is very relevant to the industry about people who are now 15 year clients.

You know they've been going to the same studio for a long time. There was nothing like that, I mean a few right? Lost of them, right? And at this point, they want to take a teacher training program. Remember that story, they just did it a few months ago in Pilates Style.

They want to take a teacher training program so they know more, and maybe they'll teach a few classes. Yeah, that happens a lot I think actually. That's a recent phenomenon. Sure, but it does, yes. So I pitched them that story, and they did that story.

Meaning they never really intend to teach, but they'll take something just cause they want to know more. Is that what you're saying? That's it right. A regular person, not a person who's in their 20s and studied dance and did a couple of things, and then they got certified, so then that's how they're gonna earn a living. They're earning a living as a lawyer, or they're not earning a living 'cause they have a rich spouse, and they go to Pilates two or three times a week, and now they're gonna take a training program.

Most people wouldn't take a training program unless they're going to make money, earn a living doing it, right? Okay so that's an important development, very important. And I pitched it to Amanda Altman, and I guess she brought in Anne Marie O'Connor. They didn't really understand the second part about it. So when they just did the first part, I later went back, and I said well what about the second part?

And they said I thought we covered it. And I said no. We're talking about a complete circle here. It was you learn Pilates by being an apprentice in a studio, right? You didn't have all these materials, and manuals, and videos, and da-da-dah, and a beginning, a middle, and end.

You took lots of lessons. You gave money to Romana, and then she, whatever, she gave you a piece of paper. Or, Physical Mind did. Sure. No, no, we never did.

Eve did. We never did. We started corporate certification where we developed materials, certifying studios get the materials. They are told that this is how they teach them, then we have the student be tested at another place. Central Alliance, yeah.

That's what we started. That's what everybody does now, right? That business is dead. That business is totally dead now, right? You know that.

It's dead, okay. So now it's going from-- Why do you say that? Okay apprentice to corporate, big companies, you know or still relatively big, that's dead. And now it's going back to the studio and the individual teacher. So the person is getting certified not in Pilates by some name company but by their teacher whom they like.

That's a big change in this industry. It's getting closer to the original I guess. Well the original was sort of small. We're not talking about whether it was better or worse, whatever, just small. It went from small to very big.

I see. To now it's going small again. It's not worth it. It's not gonna sustain you as a corporation. I mean when a major company in this field, and I can repeat 1,000 of these things, in a major city can't sign up two people for a mat work certification teacher training they're doing twice a year, and in 2004, we and every other one of 'em did 20 people every single month.

That's the difference in the numbers. So that's gonna hurt a lot of people 'cause they built their business on, but it's gonna help a lot of studios because you have a studio, and you buy the materials now from me or the two other people that are providing it. And you get two or three of your clients to do teacher training with you. That's good revenue for your studio. It doesn't work on a corporate basis.

Anybody who trains teachers by your students, you know what I mean, you know that thing. So just as a new model that you're thinking. New model that is very good for lots of studios. And remember, it you were in Detroit, and you were a good teacher, and you had a studio, but all the spots are taken. I mean Physical Mind's got their person, BASI's has got their person, Balanced Body's got, what are you gonna do?

Now you can be-- Well what you would do is you would align with one of them and become one of their trainers. But you can't, you can't. They've already got their person. Sorry, sorry, okay. The spot's taken.

And by only a few years ago, everybody was looking at it I'm in LA. I want to be with this one, no that spots taken. I'll try to be with this one. Or they were sent is how it worked when I was doing it. You were sent, but I know that's changed too to what you're saying.

It's you pick the person in the city. It's cheaper. Sure. So I'm talking about if you have a good studio, and all the certification companies have their person in place, you are not gonna do it. You don't have a chance.

Now what made that happen? Not just the shifted numbers, but the most important thing, PMA.

Chapter 6

The Impact of PMA Certifications

The impact of PMA taking over certification, right? That's what it really is. Before that, you would get certified at Stott or BASI or Polestar.

Okay so now we have PMA. To be certified by the PMA. Yes, right. Theoretically now, all the companies who were certifiers are now providers of teacher training. Yes, right.

And you then can be certified only through PMA. Now the truth of it is it's not working as we know. People don't walk away from that. I mean they're not going to walk away from that label. You know if you're proud of having gone through Polestar, you're gonna say you're Polestar certified regardless of whether you took the PMA exam or not.

Okay, right. So just to reiterate BASI and Polestarr-- It's labels. It's America, branding. Okay so you take your training which is what was delineated with PMA taking over certification. Certification is a national thing that made us a profession.

That was the idea. Which then separates us from fitness and allows for other things. That's part of-- Right, that was how it did it. Sorry, the cows have left the barn a long time before that. We said certification, you said certification a lot throughout this talk.

I just want to specify there's a difference here. That's what it is whether it's working or not. But here's how it works for the individual studio owner who now wants to add on some teacher training, right? And why do they want to do that? Because they have to?

Well not because they need instructors but because they want to have another source of revenue. So the opportunity exists because they have now clients who've been doing this for so long and for whatever reason, they decide, the client decides they want to get teacher training certified even if they're not gonna teach to whatever. It's a long thing to go into why people would. And it was in the Pilates Style Magazine, different people, many of them were Physical Mind, right? And now in January, they're doing another part of the story.

This is the important part. The part that individual studios can add teacher training and compete with the big majors. Do you think so? Absolutely because PMA is still the label that's all they need. Oh, I see what you're saying, sorry.

I get it. You can go, maybe you went to, sorry Alabama, you went to some little school in Alabama or something, and then somebody else went to Harvard, but maybe Harvard now and Alabama, you both take an exam from the government institute, and you're the same. I get it. I understand. It's a huge thing.

And just to parse it out 'cause that's what I have to do these days. It's anyone can teach a 450 hour comprehensive and call it that. Yes, and then they take it and get the PMA blessing. I think they have to petition for it a little. I actually don't know that process.

No, they don't. I used to know it. They don't. I just checked it out. Anna Alveraz told it to me last week.

You teach a 450 hour program, and then that person takes the PMA exam. But they just say yes. They have to know that person is. They do have requirements for that. But I understand, the point is well made in terms of that undermines.

That opens it up, and it's another form of competition in that area which has been the most lucrative area. It's been the only area really. Lucrative, lucrative, lucrative, right? And why the manufacturers ultimately all went into it. Now find Balanced Body which for years avoided it because they need to have people train on because people look at it, well I train on the Balanced Body reformer, so I'm gonna only teach on that or buy that if I start a studio.

That's how it goes. Yeah, I don't think they mandate it. Maybe they do for the teachers. I don't know. So anyway, so that's an important part of this.

But let's just talk about studios, and what are they gonna do. Exactly where do we go from here? So I do feel, and that surprises me why it's called Club Pilates, and in some ways, why it's Pilates Anytime is that at this moment people should look at this as a mind-body, a body-mind center. And they can have all sorts of things that seem to go with it, right? That seems to work in it.

Now you can extend it and extend it, and there'll be people who think that spinning is that because they said they were, right? You said Club Pilates and Pilates Anytime, you should think of them, or are you thinking of Pilates itself as the mind-body center? I think that everything should be the mind-body center. Oh, well yeah. Yeah, yeah, that's what it should be.

So if you happen to have limited your name. If you're not Balanced Body which is really clever or Physical Mind which is really clever, and you've got Pilates in your name, maybe you're gonna add plus or maybe you're just gonna say Pilates touches anything that is body-mind, that includes yoga. Okay so I'm having yoga in my studio, right? Okay, all studios are body-mind centers, got it. Yeah, that's what they really are, right.

So you're suggesting specifically. So it wasn't Polestar Pilates franchise, it was Polestar Studio franchise 'cause Polestar theoretically could be a yoga class. I see. That it's not specific to Pilates, I see. Yes.

That's what you're suggesting. Suggesting. But what if I don't have a training program at all, and I don't want one? I'm just running various teachers meaning different styles like Pilates in general, you know you're allowing them to show their work in your studio. Yeah well whoever, you can have a person trained by Stott next to one Balanced by whatever.

Whatever someone's certification is at this point it is irrelevant to the studio owner. And I'll tell you the guy who saw that long ago was Vidal Sassoon. He had his signature studios, salons, not studios, salons. And he was smart enough, and I think I said it last time to recognize something that's creative and hands on, you can't cookie cutter it. You can't make it the same.

You can't do that. You have a people you're dealing with. So he went out of that business, and he went into products. Oh. Would he have ever allowed, I don't know-- He wanted his haircut this way, his cut, cut it this way, exactly, da-da-dah.

(muttering) He knew it couldn't happen. That's why he went into products, I see. And so you might say I'm classically trained, but I look at your, you know you have videos of people that are, Oh Romana, Romana, and you watch them. First, some of them know more anatomy than a doctor. Romans couldn't know a bicep from a tricep.

So they know huge amounts of anatomy. They know all kinds of other things. They're not teaching this exact sequence, right? So they may be calling themselves that, but they're doing a lot more. And that's smart.

That's really smart. That's the way it is. Okay, I'm going back to the studios now because I want to be able to, part of the reason we're here is to, with all this insight, I'm running a business, let's say a studio, that I've got different instructors in there whether they're all trained the same or not. I'm not going to start my own training program 'cause I'm too busy. But you're not training.

Remember the training programs that these studios are now doing, let's say they buy our materials or somebody else is not because they need teachers. It's just because it's another source of revenue. Maybe their cleaning lady wants to do it. So hire in, not hire in. Bring in the manuals that are already done and teach it to these teachers.

Yeah, so they have another source of revenue. They don't need anymore teachers. So aren't they giving themselves competition? Or are we back to just the enthusiast who want to learn more? They're the enthusiasts who want to learn more.

Are they not to be scared that they might open up next door? They might, anything could happen. But for the most part, you know they're not. What happened was people put aside this thing of why should I train people, they'll open up next door because there was so much business, right? This is a very organic thing.

It's happening, it's changing, it's doing all this kind of thing. So I'm saying, as a studio because of PMA, you can have your little certification program once a year or every other year, get some additional revenue, and your clients'll be happier. Now Amanda Altman when I told her about this said to me, well then maybe that client who's so devoted will take fewer lessons. I said probably, but you already got a lot of money from that client. And they still can sub for you.

It's a great win for studios, and it's facilitated by PMA. The irony of it is PMA wouldn't exist without the major corporate ones, and this is hurting them, but it would've hurt 'em anyway because there's a decline in this thing, right? So if a Pilates studio mentally says no, no, it doesn't just have to be on a reformer. We've a place where people come, and they're gonna get body-mind exercise. Now how broadly will you define that?

That's the individual will decide that, right? And then you're gonna look around you, and you're gonna see what's out there and what people are doing. And you're gonna say okay I'm gonna bring that in, right? So going back to what you said a long time ago, you're suggesting if you we don't as a studio owner look up and respond to what's actually happening whether that's add mediation into the off hours or add, make 'em more mind-body centers. Or perhaps, we'll go to retail, but a training program where it's not you creating the training program.

That's what I would've thought if I heard this. I would think there's no way I'm too busy to ever create one. But you're suggesting there-- Just buy one. Buy one and use that as the manuals. Turns out, ours has the longest history as any organized training program, but so what?

You buy somebody else's, who cares? Okay, but you're not suggesting go buy BASI manuals and do it? BASI won't sell theirs. BASI's caught, right? They either decide they're gonna throw in the towel and do that, or they're gonna run a corporate training program.

And they're gonna continue to run a corporate training program. So this is all part of this messiness that happens when people think it's set for life. Now it's a big world there, and we're talking mostly US and Canada. And maybe when you get to Dubai, it's gonna be fine. So that's it.

So all I'm saying is, and this is atypical for Pilates studio owners and people who teach there. Stop looking inside. Stop looking at people who are your colleagues. Look out. Look out, right?

And I would tell any of them at this point, and they don't want to hear it. They don't want to hear it. I would say you have to do continuing ed. Right, I know that. Do it online.

Do everything you can online. Don't go to anymore workshops unless you can walk out of that workshop on Monday and start making money with what you learned. Unless you have a trust fund, then forget everything I've said. I mean you don't advocate for doing it in person? Absolutely not.

Absolutely not. Every dime they have now should be spent on going to some other studio and seeing what that program is, looking at that, being on it, getting social media going like crazy. You have to have social media, all this stuff. Whatever, you have to do it. That's what they should be doing, not learning more.

I just told you Karen's clients a person who couldn't have taken every workshop, just give me a place. Where's a reformer? Right. So fortunately, your site and others are giving good continuing education, right? That's where it is.

And if you think you need something because of some specific issue, hey there's something known as the internet, right? Anybody can know anything. That's what it's done for us. You've gotta spend your time thinking about how to get more business for you, more clients for you as an individual person and more clients for the studio. That's what you're thinking everyday.

How am I gonna get more? And I'll tell you psychologically what the barrier to that is, and I think you know this that I've been writing this business manual for Pilates studios and for Pilates teachers. I've been working on it, right? I've got a whole thing. I'm working on it.

Past couple of months, I'm beginning to think I don't know if what I'm doing is any good. I don't really know anymore. I'm getting very confused about it, and I'll tell you why. Want me to tell you why? Please.

So I have had a recent popularity surge. And for a person who's not really popular, this is kind of notable, right? And everyday, all these people come onto Facebook and like this and da-da-dah. It's just like funny to me. But anyway.

So then more people are sending in emails and contacting me and whatever. And of course, we were hiring someone, so we had lots more people, whatever. Good learning for me. It's terrific. I love it, right?

And you know me. I do everything immediately if not sooner. So in this recent hiring thing. Someone sent this long letter. I would love to work with you.

I've heard about Physical Mind da-da-dah, and on and on. (muttering) And then I'd write back, call me, and I gave the number, right? And of course most people then absolutely don't. I don't know why I know that, but yeah. They don't.

Alex who also works for me and runs things will say to me Joan that's not how things are done anymore. This is not the way. You should not be doing this. This is wrong, right? And I said to her listen it's right.

For me, it's right. Because if they can't do that, I don't want 'em. They're not gonna make it at Physical Mind. Especially with you because it's confrontational all of a sudden talking on the phone has become confrontational versus this can I call you? Or shoot me a text?

And then the others that I respond to who do come back, they'll say, or people who are not applying for the job but are just wanting information about what to do, and I respond. This is what's so amazing to me today. They'll say thank you for responding so quickly. As if how could someone like you just immediately answer me. And of course, when people ask me what do I do?

What do I say? What do you do? Yeah people like you know at a party or something, you know someone asks you what do you do? And what's your job? What you do?

Cause you have to have an identity like that. People ask me, and they ask you. And you tell them I run this whatever. But I don't tell them that. What do you tell them?

I do as little as possible. Oh yeah sorry, I did know that. (laughing) Sorry. You know I had a head injury. As little as possible.

And then they're like oh no. And this is the major thing I'm gonna tell Pilates teachers at this moment.

Chapter 7

Being Busy

Unless you have a sick relative you're taking care of, or you have a sickness or something, you don't have anything to do. None of us has anything to do, right? But it's become now that you have to be busy.

It's like high school like it's a popularity contest. Oh I'm so busy. I want to do this. I'll call you back whatever. They send me an email, I respond immediately.

They're of course in a state of shock. And then they'll say can we talk 10 days hence at 4:30 or something because they're so busy. Get rid of it. You're not busy. Get that in your head.

Get organized enough to know that you're not and start thinking all that time. What do you think that is? It's the culture today. It's that you have to be busy, so you can be popular. Who knows what it is?

It's not Pilates teachers. It's everyone. Right, no, it's not just Pilates. I think the social media topic which that's a whole 'nother conversation that could be part of that. But I sometimes wonder, I know it for myself particularly when I was teaching seven clients a day, I was busy.

Not so much in the not calling back department 'cause no one called me 'cause it was all set for work anyways. It was a way out of doing anything different, you know? Yes, there's a lot of subterfuge there, a lot of hiding out. That's the word. Not that I, yeah, yeah, meant to, but I think I did.

You know they really have to start thinking of only one thing, how much more business can I get? Because I know who I am as a teacher, how am I gonna use that? People make a living now coaching people. Find your authentic self, right? When I started working on these materials, I got in touch with coaches.

And there are coaches in every field. There's certainly coaches for people in the health, wellness field, right? How are you gonna project yourself so that people will want to be with you, pay you money to do something, right? Okay. So they have to get into that to merchandise themselves because there's no way they can merchandise Pilates anymore.

That's over. It's already out there. Everybody knows it, whatever, okay. Studio owners have to start looking at all the ways in which they can increase revenue, but increase it in a way that's profitable, right? Because the one-on-one model was never a model.

They would maybe break even on all the teachers, and whatever they were getting themselves was it plus giving workshops, and that's getting to be less and less. And sites like yours are gonna make it obsolete, right? I would say the way of the world is gonna make it obsolete, not Pilates Anytime, but yes. Right. Let's get real here.

So there's so many shifts. They have to do these shifts, right in their head. But it's exciting to do that. It's scary to do that. It's scary, but that's also exciting, right?

Well you gotta frame it that way I think. I mean I'm petrified most days, the more we do well even. It's funny. It's a thing I have to kind of go this is great! Because you start to feel more responsible, you start to feel like, it depends on the person. But I think it's scary.

I agree with you 100%. First of all, your commitment is more. You have more overhead. You might get some help. Yeah, somebody is gonna see the success and come in and just knock us out, right?

That's it. You're getting to be-- A lot of that. Yeah, a lot of that sure. Well then that's the way it is, you know? Yeah, I agree with you.

I just think it's scary. And I think somehow, somewhere in there what you said a minute ago and once on the phone was this idea of finding out who you are and going with that. And I don't know that you need-- But I'll tell ya for me, people now are wanting to ask me a question or call me, it's important for my understanding in a larger way if I'm gonna write this business book or is it premature at this point? Which is what I'm thinking. And I'll give you an example.

I get an email from someone, and this is amazing to me, who wants to be mat certified. Goes on our website and mistakes our manual which we're selling. If you're a studio owner, and you want to do a mat certification, you know you may buy this manual so that you have a framework and teacher training lessons and all that kind of stuff. And it's yours. You get your people, you do it, right?

Period. So this person looks at something, and she's an individual, and she says if I get this, will I be mat certified? And I have to go back and say no. You mean just buy it? Yeah, just buy, will I be mat certified.

They have work to do. So I say no, no, no. Sorry, it's not gonna work that way. It doesn't work that way. Explain it, and then I ask why do you want to be mat certified?

That's what I asked. Comes back, this is a really important thing I'm gonna tell you. Comes back, and the person says I did a certification, but it's on an international one, and I've been teaching for about three or four years, and I've been studying Pilates as a regular client for 10 years. She comes back with all this kind of stuff. And then I go a little deeper, and a little deeper, and it's really interesting.

And then the light, and I realize, and then I go back, and I realize other things and other things. In this person's mind, she doesn't start the conversation the way I would've if I was asking the question. She's not making a living teaching mat. She's disappointed she's not making enough money, or she can't support herself. So what does she do?

She looks at someone who happens to be Physical Mind certified in the same studio and think well she's doing well because she's Physical Mind certified. She doesn't think well maybe she has better perfume, or she talks better, or she's cuter, or you know I like having her touch me. She comes to this conclusion that might be part of it, but I'm not gonna say it is. Somebody else might say it. BASI might say it.

No. They might say oh yes if you have our certification, you're gonna have a lot of clients. I'm not gonna say that. I'm saying that this person thinking like that is oh no. But what are you really saying?

That they're not looking inward again? They're not looking at a total picture. Why is this person making money, and I'm in the same studio, and I'm not making money? So everyone should do that? Everybody has to do that every minute.

But they don't immediately jump to oh if I take that workshop, then I'll know more, so that'll happen. Or if I get this certification, no. Right, there's some gaps. And even if you are making money, you have to be saying like Karen was at the studio, you know why is this happening? How long can I keep going?

What events are gonna impact me? Just you know it's like you're walking around, and you notice things. What bothers me with Pilates teachers, and I think it's basically American, always is they don't know what the competition is doing. They don't go people are a amazed that I go to all these places and check 'em out and look at them and whatever. And they don't know.

That's the job. You've gotta know what's happening. You have to know what's changing in the population, right? You have to understand who's coming up and down, the whole thing. And that is interesting.

It is. We actually do that regularly. Well, once or twice a year in a big way. And it is interesting. And it's amazing how fast it changes particularly in our world.

Yeah it's changing. So that's it. It's not like oh I see. Well that person has that certification. Come on.

That's so-- Yeah I think it's a good practice to shift from that's not what I do, or that's not the way on any level whatever business, or friendship, or anything, but to go and say why is that working? What are they doing? Why are people attracted to that? Yeah, why are they going over there? Yeah, why are they?

I think it's crazy, that stuff. Why are they doing it? And then if you make a decision not to do that, you at least know for the moment why. Yeah, I can't do that. Or I can't compete with it or whatever.

So I'm gonna have-- Right on principle alone, I won't do that. That's also possible. It's a fast moving time obviously because of technology, so you really have to accept that. That's it just accept it. Forget it, maybe you don't like it, you accept it, and keep going.

But you need to be able to be aware of what's happening. And if I were in a town and was working in the studio, or owned a studio, and Club Pilates came in, I'd be the first person there. I want to see what they're doing with their classes. And you say to yourself, look here, I can compete with that. Or do I want to compete?

Whatever you're gonna come to, you're gonna get somewhere. And I'm really happy when people call me up more and more now or send me an email and ask me a question because it helps me, right? I'm finding out. Oh my God, that person she actually thinks she can get our certification so she can make more money. Well yeah.

I mean I understand. I know what you're saying too. That it's informative, the questions alone. Can they ask you questions on this forum? Anybody can email me joan@pmiemail.com.

They can call me up. I'm changing my cell phone number, so I have to wait on that one. But I mean I love it, and I'm glad for them to call. I'm glad for them to send me an email. But try because I'm really slow in this area.

It's not my area. I'm not a shrink, right? Try to actually ask me the question. So here I had four emails with this person before I found out she just wants to make more money. She's not interested in certification.

That was her solution to it because it happened there was a Physical Mind teacher who was doing well. Now I'm sure that another company wouldn't talk her out of doing ours the way I'm really saying to her. Is that the real reason? And maybe I'll come to the point-- That could be a manual. Okay, maybe I'll come to the point where I'm gonna say to that person, I hate to tell you this, but you just suck at teaching.

You know maybe you need to go into accounting or something. Maybe you'll be great in that field. We have to get down to what it is. Yeah, what is it? Let's find out what your To get classical authentic versus, anyway.

You know where is the person there? And can we fix it, right? But it's not going to a workshop for a weekend. It's not taking this thing or whatever. Let's look at all the factors.

And it's fun to do that. Yes. Especially looking elsewhere, but I think it's gotta be me looking at me. And this is one more thing. I'm only gonna say this one more thing 'cause I've done this with Marika a lot.

Marika Molnar. Marika Molnar, our clinical advisor. I work with her everyday, whatever. I finally had to say this to her. We're both Hungarians, so she's fine with my saying it to her.

At one point, I wanted her to do something. And then I wanted her to do something, and then she didn't do it and da-da-dah. And I said to her, well listen Marika, if you don't work, and she goes what do you mean I'm busy all the time. I've got 96 answers health I have to take care of. (muttering) I said yeah, and you know what I don't call that work.

That's not work. You're really good. You're the best at this, right? And all those people respect you, right? And you're real comfortable.

Work is doing what you either don't like to do or your uncomfortable with. That's my definition. So from now on, when I ask you to tell me, you say I don't want to work. Okay so these people have had this fabulous honeymoon. They can earn a living easily doing what they love.

And okay, fine. That's great. So can Renee Fleming or somebody who had great talent. But I don't look at that as work. You're not working.

Working is what you don't want to do. That's why you're getting paid. That's why it's called a job. It's a very interesting way to look at work, rest, and play too. I don't know how else to say it, but the play and the work has been combined at least verbally.

I think there is work. I think more people are working, but there's almost a shame in admitting it's hard, or that's not the part they want to do. And avoiding the part they want to do. Or worse avoiding it. Right avoiding it.

Try to get by, and then... That's interesting, very interesting. They really need to face it. And I'll tell you then the ultimate example of this. A studio owner who's now, right now 2017 doing fabulously, volume keeps going up, and up, and up, up, and up, and up.

It's great. Because as we know, what's the most important thing in retail? I don't know. Location. Oh, of course.

And what's the second most important thing? Location. And the third most is location Location. And she's got location in spades. She's in the perfect place in the USA for a Pilates studio and whatever.

It's just perfect. Almost perfect. Prefect, perfect. Anyway. So why would she contact me?

Why was she contacting me? Because her business is great. She has a big Pilates studio. Why would she contact me? She's interested in some of the things we're doing, whatever.

I have to dig in, and dig in, and dig in. She doesn't come right out and say it. Her lease it gonna be up soon, very soon, and she thinks they're gonna double the rent 'cause it's a hot area where she's in. Well even with this volume, double rent, she's not gonna be able to make it. So fine, now of course I would've been planning five years ago for this event.

She's a little late in planning. But I come up with (snapping fingers) a business plan for her like that. I ask more questions, more questions. Okay focus on this, add this, take this away, do that, blah, blah, blah. And I can walk into any retail place.

I mean if I were there, I could do it better. But I know how to do this kind of thing. She hasn't done any of it. She's afraid. And the business is rolling in.

It's not easy when you come into Pilates. It's not an easy answer. It is if you just look at it that way, but fear is a big deal. Sure, but she already knows the thing. Now maybe she'll be lucky.

Maybe they won't raise it that much. But they're gonna raise it. It comes back to just facing what is and everything. And the earlier you pay attention to that, the better you're going to be. There's always gonna be an event.

Club Pilates will come across the street. They'll raise the rent. I got one studio owner. This woman I'm very friendly with, I like her. She's starting to do some of the things we're doing because her clients are gonna die.

They're in their 80s. They're gonna die. There is that, yeah. Is there any hope you know based on what you're saying? Do you find any hope?

We're gonna close it here. And I wanna come back. There's always more when we talk. I think it's an exciting time. Not exciting in the way the '90s was which was combat or 2000s when you were so on top of it because it was going.

But, and I think the last part, I think from 2009 to now has been not so great. I mean it's just not been interesting, not been that very interesting. I think it's gonna be interesting now. It's interesting in America because of the state of America, right? Everybody accepts the need for exercise.

We got these people with the body problems, right? I think it's a lot of opportunity. It's interesting, right? And people now are seasoned. They know everything they need to know about teaching clients exercise on Pilates apparatus, and they can use that in many ways.

You know if they don't have any ideas, they can ask people, or they can ask me, whatever. You know ask, right. But that's the thing. That's the shift. Ask.

Ask, think, look, participate. Respond. Respond if you can. Respond in some way. I saw Michael Moore's show Terms of my Surrender Friday night, and at a certain point, he stands there, and he says just do one thing, just one thing, everybody's gotta do one thing.

Of course you know he thinks Trump's a disaster. (muttering) But anyway. And I mean he was begging them. Begging a big audience just do one thing. Is that what you're saying?

Just do one thing? Yeah, do something. Until next time. Thank you. There's way more to say I know it, but thank you very much again.

And please do contact Joan because she will respond and quickly. Quickly, very quickly. And you'll think oh God she must be unpopular because she responds. (laughing) No, no, it's all very good. Not always easy honestly.

I've asked questions. But it's always helpful. You have to ask, and you can't be embarrassed about the question. And if you are, ask anyway. Ask it anyway, right, yeah.

Thank you very much. I'm not gonna let anyone know. (laughing) Thank you. Unless they gave me permission, the way Karen did. She said tell the whole story.

Thank you, Karen. Thank you, Joan.

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Comments

7 people like this.
Very good discussion. This perspective reminds me to look in the past for planning ahead, watch trends, know my competition, anticipate change and push past fear. I really like the conversation about Body Mind Studios. I was taking notes and writing down ideas as I listened. I continue to learn a lot from Joan. Thank you for sharing!
9 people like this.
Thank you Joan. I absolutely agree that this is going to be an interesting time, and if you want to survive you better start looking outside the box. The shift has already begun online in so many ways. I also won't travel around any more to get more education. I want to do it online and be able to profit. I run a home studio and intend to keep it that way, but even so, I have to work at marketing myself to what I offer and what the predominant population is at the moment.
Thanks for being so candid as usual. Everyone needs to here your message.
4 people like this.
Great discussion!
Interesting talk on the PMA. I remember studying, stressing for that exam and my husband saying to me, does anyone really care whether you have that certification. I agree with Lynn, I do not travel to workshops anymore. I love being able to access online so that I can do them at my pace, when my mind is right and ready to learn. Nothing worse than trying to focus in a room full of people on a sunny Saturday afternoon when your head is not in the game! Thank you Kristi and PA for making so many great workshops available to us! I have not heard part one the conversation with you ladies but I will definitely make it a point to listen.
3 people like this.
I just loved this! Thank you for this very very realistic outlook on the future of the Pilates industry. I’m glad you said it’s an exciting time ‘cos truly I have seeing it as a slightly scary time with being a small studio owner. But the onus is definitely on me to keep an eye on the moving target yet merchandise myself well!
Thank you Kristi, Thank You Joan. Very inspiring! Interesting to hear about the Names of corporate companies and not using “Pilates” in them vrs. Mind body Studios, I never really thought about that, makes me look at things differently. I agree the turns of the industry from the past to present is going to be online & fewer live courses. How do we make ourselves profitable! Yes I have been looking for those Answers for a number of years especially after relocation of state, being in the industry for over a decade keeping updated with what everyone is doing out there.
2 people like this.
Wonderful!!!!...Absolutely brilliant!!
1 person likes this.
Hilarious
Len
1 person likes this.
Thank you Joan for your experience and insights and thank you Kristi for doing this interview and sharing it. So much food for thought! For the record, I am an instructor and not a studio owner. My experience is that many studio owners opened their studio because they wanted to teach Pilates and that making it a business was secondary. What you've highlighted is that a Pilates studio is a business and is no different than any other business and that if you want to survive as a business you have to pay attention to what the trends are, who your competition is and what you need to do to make your business successful for the long term.
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Thank you for publishing an interview series that deals with the need to look at a Mind/Body business from a financial perspective. Many of our industry founders (like Joseph Pilates, Romana, etc...), didn't make their income solely from teaching clients. That leaves us with a dearth of leadership regarding gaining financial independence. Too few studios are fiscally viable stand alone businesses, & many follow in the path of our elders as passion projects/hobbies in the guise of financial (and therefore inferred professional) stability.
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With so many leaders in our industry demonstrating the teaching model of frequently "being on tour/guest teaching" in abeyance of keeping a consistent client schedule it begs the question: "How can we expect our industry to gain the financial traction necessary to become perceived as a Professional Vocation?"

In other news: Imagine if your Dr. said "I can only work 5-6 hours a day, otherwise it's too exhausting". Would you consider that Dr. to be a professional or a dilettane? If we are an industry of part time employees, then can we ever expect to gain Professional Status?
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