Sandy Shimoda of Vintage Pilates
(Today’s guest post is written by Sandy Shimoda, owner of Vintage Pilates, in Los Angeles. has been a private student of Jay Grimes since 2004, and opened Vintage Pilates with the hope of providing a place for students to access the wealth of understanding that Jay has to offer. I have conducted a workshop for Sandy’s instructors, and I asked her to write about the experience and how it benefited her team.)
My studio, Vintage Pilates, is very unique in the Pilates world, and our clientele has always been built on word of mouth. (L.A.’s Splash magazine, for example, called our studio “L.A.’s best-kept secret.”) A lot of patience was needed to build Vintage Pilates in this way, but the studio has enjoyed a 30 percent annual rate of growth since we opened our doors in 2010. I credit much of this success to my talented, first-rate teaching staff.
I asked Lesley to tailor a one-hour workshop to inspire my teachers to talk about why they love Pilates and why they are so passionate about teaching it. Lesley was perfect for the job because she possesses an innate business sense and really understands how to market herself and apply social media to develop a presence in the industry.
L.L’s Workshop to Inspire
The workshop that Lesley created for my instructors helped them build their own personal “elevator speech”: a short sentence or two that helps each of them succinctly define Pilates and explain how it pertains to others and allows each of them to showcase their enthusiasm for what they teach. Lesley also demystified Yelp, Facebook, and Instagram, and positioned each platform as a resource for my instructors to become more available to their students and be identified as teachers in the fitness community. My studio manager, Anne Keehn, continues to apply the insight Lesley shared as she manages social media for Vintage Pilates’ online word of mouth channels.
Lesley teaches “everything but the exercises”, which refers to the business of Pilates. My studio teaches “Pilates beyond the exercises”, delving into Joe’s (Joseph Pilates) method, philosophies, and intentions. I am so pleased to have Lesley as a student at my studio. My hope is that she will mentor other studios to teach Joe Pilates’ version of exercise. That, in my experience, is key to having a profitable and rewarding Pilates business!
One more thing: Lesley’s enthusiasm for effective communication is infectious. She provides clear and simple guidelines to help us define who we are, then gives us options to communicate this information to others. As the world only increases its use of online sources for information and choices, Lesley helps us stay current in this evolving environment. She makes social media so accessible that after taking her workshop, you are excited to go home and dive right in!