written by Carol Crincoli, Pure Pilates Director
As I share my thoughts, there is a calm in my body that has not been accessible for quite some time. And when I say, quite some time, I am going back many years to 2007. 14 years ago, I set out to open Pure Pilates. I had it all figured out. My vision was clear and I had a solid business plan. But we know how the saying goes, “The best laid plans…..”.
You see, I was already an entrepreneur, running CMP Fitness Inc. I traveled all over New Jersey, as a personal fitness trainer, aerobics teacher and creator and director of Fit Kids. I dragged my weights into client’s houses, became a punching bag for them (literally folks – I was certified as a kickboxing instructor), taught hours of Step Aerobics everyday (LOVED Step) and danced, sang and encouraged children to move with delight.
To the outside world, I was the captain of my ship, the president of a company – a female business owner. But if you brush off the “sparkle” you simply had a sole-proprietor doing it all. I did this for over 15 years and I started to think. This is not working.
In order to balance my non-stop career and save my kick-boxing body, I started taking Pilates. I started with private appointments and added in mat classes. I did NOT want to be a certified Pilates instructor. I was looking to calm my brain and body. I fell in love with Pilates and enjoyed being a student of the method. Then I got the itch. I knew that Pilates was the next step in my career.
Over the next year, I was an apprentice and studied and practiced. I got certified and became a Pilates instructor. At this time I am still CMP Fitness, still running around, teaching fitness, children and now Pilates. It was time to settle down. Find a home for my business. And what would that look like? Pure Pilates.
Fast forward to October 2007 and the grand opening of Pure Pilates. I had a team!!! Women who would teach by my side, women who supported the teachers and offered the best customer service to our clients. I had receptionists!!! Do you feel the excitement with all the exclamation points?! I had loyal fitness clients who trusted me and this new thing I was into called Pilates. I was organized, had that business plan and all the energy to show up and create success.
But success is not guaranteed with a good idea and a solid business plan. Timing is a factor and the timing was off. Enter the financial crisis of 2008. Most of my best laid plans had to go out the window. I was in survival mode and my mantra became “Everything is up to me.”
Intellectually, I now understand my unhealthy mantra. A bit of Neuroscience if I may? There is part of your brain that helps coordinate responses to things in your environment. It’s called the Amygdala and it is responsible for your emotional responses. This structure plays a role in fear and anger. Yes, the fear of losing my business, of failure and all the other thoughts running through my head were running the show. Running a business, or living your life for that matter, from a reactionary place is exhausting. My fears never came true. Pure Pilates never closed and the studio started to thrive many years after the financial crisis, but I was tired. On the outside Pure Pilates was a well-oiled machine. But I said to myself, “This is not working.”
Let me clarify that “not working” is a broad statement. Teaching brought joy. Leading a team of smart women – rewarding; and connecting with our clients nourishing. But I realized that my definition of success, personal success, was very different. My work/life balance was out of sync and it needed my attention.
In 2018, I started to brainstorm a new model for the studio. I wanted the studio to focus on what my team and I did best: Personalized Pilates. We never did “cookie-cutter” but by tweaking our services, we could create programming that was a unique Pilates experience for our clients. An experience that met the client where they were and encouraged them to be the best they could be in that moment, with breath and movement.
In 2019, the “groups” became ensembles with only 3 students and our private and partner appointments grew. Receptionists were replaced with an office manager. Teaching one on one sparked unbelievable joy. To be able to focus on teaching and find balance in my personal life, I needed someone I could trust with some of the day to day admin tasks that I had been responsible for the past 9 years. Enter Tiffany Mortimer, a Pilates instructor and my new office manager. I was on the right track. Could it be working?
I said goodbye to a few clients who wanted a Pilates experience that I was no longer offering. It was bittersweet to see them go, but I was confident we gave them a solid Pilates foundation to go “anywhere” and continue their workouts. The energy changed in the studio. As my excitement became contagious, it spread to our staff and clients.
Yes, it was working… for a split second! Then came a global pandemic.
At first the pandemic did bring fear and uncertainty, but then I embraced the room to breathe. I found space for my brain to reset and started to see a very different Pure Pilates. A smaller space, with a cool and quiet vibe. A simple business model with the emphasis on teaching movement one on one. I was grateful for the ability to continue teaching virtually, but I missed working with my clients in person. I needed the connection and energy of working in the same room with other human beings.
I went from 1500 square feet in New Providence, thinking I would move to just about 1000 square feet and now, here we are building a brand new space, downsizing to just under 800 square feet. Welcome to 45 River Road in Summit, NJ, the new Pure Pilates.
Walk in and you will be greeted by a smiling Syd. Natural light shines through windows that wrap around 3 of the 4 walls, painted in RainForest Dew. The front desk area has been replaced with “The Living Room”, a cozy space with comfy chairs and live plants. And don’t forget the People magazine. The playground is 500 sq ft of workout space, where 2 clients have space dedicated for themselves and their Pilates workout. Modern, uncluttered, super clean and peaceful – the oasis you and I have grown accustomed to.
As I put the finishing touches on this page, I notice the calm in my body. And I say, “Yes, It’s Working.”