Real talk, you don’t need a BIG space to be a successful Pilates Instructor, and as a small studio owner, (400 sq feet of workout space plus massage room), I’m often happy that I own a studio and that the studio doesn’t “own” me. (Right!?!) Overhead is lower in small spaces which opens up the potential for you to explore your craft as much as your business mind. Here are some tips for making small spaces feel less low rent and more high value
- Let’s talk location. That walk-by seen and be seen retail location is NOT necessary. My address is in industrial flex space and for years had an unmarked door. People found me through word of mouth and the vast network of friends and peers I’d created along the way. Industrial / Flex / Shared spaces are a great ways to think outside the standard box and keep overhead low.
- Natural light is pivotal in small spaces, but be mindful of window direction. West facing windows are toasty on summer afternoons.
- When considering equipment think of the type of work you prefer to do – Privates / Duets / Classes – and gear the design of the space toward your preference. I teach mostly private and duet clients. For years I had underused Reformers stacked upright along the wall cluttering the space. A couple years back I decided to no longer offer equipment classes, and instead only offer mat classes to supplement my clients’ programs. Not only did I not lose any clients, but clients visited more frequently because they loved the mat classes and also wanted time on the individual apparatus. My studio looks better, there’s more space, clients are happier with diversified programming, and my bank account prospered.
- Small spaces have to be transformable. In order to create space for my mat classes I have to shift some equipment around. With strategic equipment placement I’ve designed the space to make this transition as smooth as possible.
- Investing in custom studio furniture is not as expensive as you assume. It’s designed to fit your space, and looks exactly how you want it to look. Craigslist and Etsy are great resources when looking for local artisans to create that perfect storage cabinet, and since organization is crucial in small spaces every inch of storage counts.
- I do a lot of photo and video projects at my studio, so each area is set up as a vignette – Reformer, Cadillac, CoreAlign spaces – it looks clean on film, and creates the feeling of private spaces throughout my studio so that concurrent sessions can feel private and individual.
- Keeping the overall aesthetic of the space light and airy is important as small spaces can feel heavy. I used neutral colors, indoor plants, mirrors, aromatherapy, and negative space to create the illusion of more space.
Bottom line and best advice ever = Keep your studio CLEAN!
Clients often remark that my studio feels intimate, relaxed, inviting … and no nonsense. Thinking small is the newest trend in homes, maybe it just might be the newest trend in studios too!