Pressure Pillows

Monday, May 23, 2011

Make a Ballet Barre!

In researching ballet barres for my studio, I came across this adorable video on how to assemble your own from pvc tubing. This is a very low-cost and trusted way of making ballet bars. I remember these handmade barres from my college dance department, they are strong and long- lasting.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Thank You Cards - The Original Social Media

The other week I was reading a Seth Godin's Blog post, Treating Best Customers Better. The importance of taking care of our best customers really made me think about how as Pilates studio owners, we are generally giving our best prices to the newest customers.

As I have just opened another small studio, my mind has been whirling with marketing ideas. Within the pressure of getting new customers, I stopped for a moment and asked myself: Is the new customer I should be going after?

Maybe the answer to getting new clients is right under my nose - my own clients.

I looked at my clients records and started to appreciate how lucky I was to have such loyal, quality clients. What would the returns be if I gave my A-list clients a certificate for a free session to either keep or give to a friend? So, instead of of pouring my energy into making fliers, and paying for ad space to bring in new clients - I made these little certificates that read:

"Well I am loosing money because of this gift" - but that is simply not true. _The benefit of rewarding your long-time clients are many. You may not find the instant satisfaction of a few new calls from a newspaper ad, but the returns are longer lasting and built on respect and appreciation of the clients you already have. Hello? Find a advertiser that can offer that in their overpriced ad space.

The two outcomes of giving away a gift certificate are:

1) Staying Power: The client keeps it for themselves and feels great and appreciated. Feeling as though they have build credit at your studio -will make it less likely for them to shop around for a better deal.

2) Golden Referrals: The client gives it away to a friend - making them feel proud that the studio appreciates their continued support and of course, makes you a potential new client that has a lot more staying power than a quixotic magazine ad could bring.

Price to you:
The studio is spending money on labor - to teach new sessions, but weigh that with how much time and money is spent on putting together an ad - you may be surprised by the equation.

Q: Taking care of the people around you first is not a new idea, but how often do we really reward our regular, bread & butter clients?

Q: How does it make them feel when they see new client specials? 3 session intro packages to new clients who may or may not stay with it?

Put your Thank You's Through the Mail (for goodness sake)
Putting your thank you card through the mail takes longer - but no other medium, social or otherwise, can replace the feeling of receiving a hand-written thank you card stamped with a stamp, and delivered to your home.

Whether or not you give away free sessions now and then to your preferred clients; sending a thank you card is a great way to show appreciation to the client and respect how the client trusts your business to their friends & family.

Don't forget to say thanks in these moments:

  • Chiropractor, doctor physical therapist refers a client
  • Clients show up to your open house
  • Clients rave about your studio on their Facebook / Twitter pages

Saturday, February 12, 2011

A Small Town Studio

The other week I substituted a few mat classes at Body in Balance in Lynden, Washington. This little country Pilates studio offers Massage and hydrotherapy along with Pilates and yoga group classes. - I really loved the simplicity and serenity of this little studio in my hometown. One of my violin teachers from the 3rd grade was in the class.

Spring boards from Balanced Body are space saving and versatile.

I really love how the owner used these display ledges to store the therapy balls for classes. You can find these at Crate & Barrel for $30

My first violin teacher, Ms. Visser, who came to my Pilates class.

The view from the window of the surrounding farmland.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Elizabeth Larkin's video treasures!

Elizabeth's Studio : S2EP04 : Improve Your Roll-Up from Balanced Body Pilates on Vimeo.

Elizabeth Larkin is one of my most favorite Pilates instructors to watch on video: I love her modifications and her teaching style. This is a wonderful instructional video for improving the roll up. Ever since I saw this exercise it has become my absolute favorite especially for my clients whom I have inherited from other Pilates instructors._ I find it to be a great "audit" for a client who seems to have a lot of core strength. The part of this series that I love the most is the crossing of the legs portion. How a client reacts to this can be a true indicator of hip flexor involvement during the roll up.

One of my clients asked me how they could recreate this exercise at home, so I came up with this variation using a door and a thera-band.

A soft foam roller and a mat - or sticky socks: Make sure to line up the mat and foam roller with the point at which the door closes, so the center of the thera-band is directly in front of you.
It is wise to find a door that can be locked, and to tie a knot in the thera-band behind the door.

I have noticed that a 1/2 foam roller can work quite well for someone who has the deep connection required to fulfill this exercise form- but who is struggling with the fear of being up so high on the full foam roller. A 1/2 foam roller is a good recommendation
for the older client's variation. Find some great foam rollers on the links below and at the Balanced Body Pilates Rollers page

Like Elizabeth Larkin remarks in her video,
"It can be a bit of a rodeo"
- indeed!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Yoga Jeans - awesome!

I love finding new designs and products that fill a need in the marketplace. These new Yoga Jeans are such a great idea. They are really comfortable and have a diagonal stretch - as a Pilates instructor, I sometimes get tired of wearing stretch pants everyday to work - these are great to teach in. _I chose a looser pair because skin-tight is not really my look, and they are wonderful.

Check out the Consumer SOS on this cool Montreal company called Second Clothing.

Yoga Jeans from Second Denim on Vimeo.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Rachael's Holiday Survival Kit

Thank You Cards

There is nothing like a prompt thank you card. Carry them in your car's clove box and when you leave a party or receive a gift in the mail, write it promptly before it slips your mind. The only think better than a prompt thank you card is on which is beautifully original. Buy hand made if you can. This one is from the Craft Pantry on Etsy 6 cards for $9.50


Acidophilus helps in the production of a number of chemicals that aid the process of digestion. Over the holidays we are eating out more often, going over to other homes to eat; acidophilus is a wise choice to reduce the bloated after dinner feeling, it also helps boost the immune system. This particular brand is room temperature stable and it comes in individually wrapped pills making it easy to take them with you in your purse.

Refresher Course in Manners

This is one on my most favorite books. Jane Austen's Guide to Good Manners. Embarking on the holiday's festivities we are sometimes taken off-guard by mixed company. Sharing the table with friends of friends and other peoples' families - some of whom may not be sharing our same political and religious beliefs. _ I find a good refresher course in my high table manners is always a good thing during this season. This book - laughable in parts - has great reminders on conversational etiquette: steering clear of the 'me me me' in conversation, and always remembering to truly engage the other people at the dinner table through conversation and kindness - without being overbearing. Sometimes it is so nice to leave the political issues outside. Even if others don't feel the same way; you can use your Jane Austen super-powers to kindly and patiently hear them out before you offer them more gravy.

Jane Austen's Guide to Good Manners

Detox Tea

Again, a lot of times throughout the holidays we are eating out, and eating MORE than we usually do. Consuming a lot of meats, not always knowing if they are organically fed. Baked goods, alcohols all contribute to a build up of toxins in the body. Add the usual amount of holiday stress to that and we are setting the stage for some nasty feeling mornings. Keep up moderate exercise and also try drinking a good detox tea whenever possible.

What? ..

Hey, the saying goes: ".. and good cheer" - right? Stow away a flask of good cheer in your purse for when you go out for that
walk before dinner around the neighborhood to check out the Christmas lights. Pulling out a flask is a fun cheeky thing to do to surprise your friends. Makes looking at Aunt Beverly's scrap book a little more fun too. Of course be moderate, and don't drink and drive - but I don't have to say that right?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Fall Color: Butterly Pressure Pillows

I found this beautiful butterfly fabric yesterday and made Pressure Pillows out of it last night.

100% Cotton

Fall is my favorite and most productive season. It reminds me of my childhood with the air cooling, and the days getting shorter, we moved our projects inside. My mother always had a delicious soup on the stove or a apple crumble in the oven. The record player in the living room working away on Chopin; filling in the open spaces while we focus on our projects. These moments (and the record player) are still alive, and I cherish them..

My mom was searching for the right button to sew onto baby Henry's new socks.

She is a very gifted knitter. Our nephew Henry is always outfitted in hand made knits.

I love fall.