Meet Tahlia Charleson from The Pilates Fix. Tahlia is an awesome example of a self-starter who has grown her business in just a few years.
The Pilates Fix started as a small boutique studio in her home; fast forward and she now runs a loft studio on Elizabeth Street with a team of instructors and 300-plus clients.
The Pilates Fix offers a whole suite of classes, including both mat and reformer Pilates, barre, yoga and more. Their approach is all about feeling good by keeping moving and being mindful of how your body is moving – our marketing manager Laura tried it and is a big fan!
We get to know our Chamber Member a little better.
Tell us a bit about your background – your career to date, your experience… basically, how what you have done has got you to where you are today.
After working for an internationally recognised world-class studio in Dubai, I moved with my husband and son back home to Tauranga in 2017. I managed three clinical Pilates studios for local physiotherapy group Body In Motion Health (who are also Chamber Members).
After two years and having grown their presence in the Pilates industry, I opened my small boutique studio from home in our self-renovated sleepout – Tahlia Pilates.
After eight months, I closed my books to new clients as I outgrew my space. During COVID, I noticed a shift in downtown commercial lease space, both in availability and affordability.
The Pilates Fix opened its doors on January 18, 2021. I brought with me 40 existing Tahlia Pilates clients, and within the first five months of operation, our team have grown to 300-plus clients. In the beginning, I had one instructor working with me from home, and now I have five (which will only grow.)
Why did you start your own business?
Although taking on multiple studio management positions with Body In Motion was incredibly valuable, it took me away from my day-to-day clients and hindered my ability to finish my studies.
Working from home and for myself ensured flexibility and freedom to fall back in love with teaching again. I was on my second maternity leave when Tahlia Pilates opened, and it meant a small stepping stone back into work that fitted around my family’s life. Now, as I have moved into The Pilates Fix, I have (mostly) found the perfect balance of both.
Tell us about your business: What services do you offer? How can you help our business community?
The Pilates Fix team are specialists in all things Mindful Movement. In our state-of-the-art studio, a curated and modern space, we offer Pilates in both a mat work or Reformer setting, yoga and barre classes, high-intensity cardio classes utilising the Jump board on the Reformer, as well as meditation and breathwork classes.
We also run community courses and workshops, catering to all walks of life, including those enduring chronic pain or undergoing injury rehabilitation, are pre or postnatal, actively aging or those involved in high performing sports.
What makes your business unique?
What sets us apart is we are a fully equipped studio ticking the box across all fields of movement, providing a higher variety of mindful movement practice than anywhere else in the Bay. We do not specialise in just one thing; we employ specialists in their craft and offer a variety of service options.
Operating on a weekly membership ‘class pass’ basis, our clients have the luxury of experiencing a holistic breathing class one day and a high-intensity plyometric Jump class the other.
Our studio is naturally light-filled, modern and welcoming. We are the only studio with ocean views in Tauranga. We cater to corporate business groups who like to privately exercise in a team environment boosting staff morale and productivity, taught by specialists in their fields.
Our (young) brand is becoming widely known and is shining in the community as we offer so many community-based workshops, courses and have a presence at many community events. Lastly, we offer educational workshops to young emerging instructors of movement and host international mentors too.
Additionally, I have spent countless hours curating all the best parts of a studio environment I have experienced since the age of 16 and studied other successful business models to bring the best of both worlds together.
When you first got into business, what is the one thing you wish people told you?
That it will take everything you have to ‘switch off’, and even then, your business will always be somewhere in the back of your mind. I have to really practise tuning out when I know I have time off. I am so lucky we have a family bach off the grid and that there is no possible way to check emails! Secondly, they all say it, but I didn’t believe it until now – the first year is always the hardest.
In your first year of business, what challenges did you face and how did you overcome them?
I am still within my first year at 10 months deep. So far, we have dealt with a long-term mass construction site outside our studio, which has taken away the majority of our customer parks. We have had to adapt our service with two Alert Level changes at the start of the year, and now we have just come out of lockdown!
HOWEVER, we are still absolutely smashing our growth goals. So, I guess the lesson is never let ANY of that be a reason to not succeed.
And now, looking back, what have been your biggest learnings?
Ask me again in a year or so. Although, I can imagine my future self-telling me now to ‘have fun along the way (which I am), and just keep going. Don’t get stuck in the tunnel, ask for help, take a breather and avoid burnout’ – E.g. practice what you preach, Tahlia!
What’s the one misconception people might have about your industry?
I recently spoke on a panel of Pilates instructors at an event, and I was asked, “Why is the industry so tight and white?”
I was momentarily lost for words. Not only do I promote, advertise, and relish diversity across all things, but I couldn’t believe that it’s also not commonly known that Pilates was first invented BY A MAN!
Although social media may have led to a misrepresentation of the Pilates industry, there is NO size, shape, colour or age boundary as to who can enjoy, benefit and fall in love with this healthy movement. I am constantly breaking down barriers and converting the most unsuspecting clients to become addicts. Anybody can do Pilates, and everybody SHOULD.
What’s the one thing you want people to know about your business?
We have something for everyone including, high-intensity cardio, breathing classes, Pilates, barre, yoga, prenatal, meditation, corporate packages for our downtown neighbours, community workshops, and more. We are a specialist mindful movement studio, and I would love for everyone and anyone to come and give our beautiful space a try. We are also allied with so many other healthcare professionals around Tauranga, meaning if you have an injury or pain and you’re unsure where to seek help, we can aid in that referral process and have you seen by someone equipped to handle the task.
What are your goals (personal and professional) for the next six to 12 months?
Professionally, I need to find a business mentor to help me harness some clarity around the expansion and growth plan I have.
Personally, my goals right now are minimal. Anything to reduce my load, do something to keep active each day, spend time with my kids each day – things are simple at the moment, and that’s OK. My very long wish list of topics to study is on the back burner for at least another year. Oh, I would also love to join my book club next month and say, “I did actually read something this month, and I am NOT here just for the wine and cheese”, although I am not hopeful.
When you’re not at work, how do you like to spend your time?
I spend it with my family. I am a proud Mum of two of the world’s best (and busiest) small humans and the wife to a wonderful man. We love the outdoors; you won’t often find us at home on the weekends. My girlfriends, my book club, enjoyment of food, fashion and theatre keep me pretty happy on top of that.
I am very lucky that the team I employ I call friends. We have so much fun throughout our days in the studio I don’t feel I am missing my social life too much. We sometimes even sneak a wine after a shift from the hidden instructor’s fridge.
If you could impart one piece of advice to fellow business owners, what would it be?
I have major imposter syndrome answering this question, but here is something CBK Tauranga owner Billy told me when we opened in January: “Don’t let anything happening in Tauranga’s CBD be a reason to not be busy. The moment you give in and blame this is the moment you’ll accept the studio to be quiet.”
I have kept this in my mind this entire year and have repeated it to others opening their doors. It’s become a bit of a mantra for me and even a bit of a challenge to keep the fire burning. I am competitive by nature. Can you tell?!
New members can find it hard meeting people at events, so we want to take some of the pressure off that awkward small talk by shining a light on your business through our member profiles.
Our member profiles are a great way to give the business community a taste of who you are and what you do, so when they see your face at one of our events they won’t hesitate to make that all-important introduction.
If you’re a new member and would like a profile, get in touch with our marketing manager Laura today.