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From Backyard Pilates to Thriving Studios: The Pow...

From Backyard Pilates to Thriving Studios: The Power of Community Events

outdoor pilates session

Back in 2020, before I started The Pilates Krewe, there was a thing going on called COVID. Maybe you remember that? During that summer, I got together with my good friend Mindy and a few other guests, and we filmed 100 Pilates mat classes in our backyards using a tripod and an iPhone. We didn’t edit them, and there wasn’t a fancy introduction, graphics, or music. It was just me, a friend, two mats, an occasional Magic Circle, and Pilates. Oh, and if you’re lucky, a cameo by Mindy’s dog.

We had a great time. Even though as the summer rolled on and it got hot and humid, we persisted and hit our goal of 100 classes. I look back at those videos and think about how much things have changed in my life since those giggles on a hot mat under the watchful eye of my overheated iPhone. Fast forward to June 2024, and I’m about to open my third Pilates studio here in Tampa, all self-financed, with the first location on a membership waitlist and the 2nd one nearly there. What a ride it’s been.

I’ve tried not to forget my roots and values throughout this growth and success. I believe Pilates can improve your life and bring abundant joy to anyone. It doesn’t matter if you are big or small, skinny or Rubenesque, coping with an illness or injury, or anything else. An instructor’s job – my job – is to help you find that joy through movement. It has done that for me and so much more.

Recording pilates workouts with an I-phone and tripod.

Our studios don’t run advertisements, promotions, or lead generation. We are built purely on a good experience, word of mouth, and networking. One opportunity that presented itself a while back when we were opening our 2nd location was an outdoor event. A popular local food hall and event space, Armature Works, runs events regularly throughout the year, utilizing its beautiful and spacious exterior grounds. We were invited to do an outdoor mat Pilates event and decided it was a great opportunity to give back to the community through fitness. We don’t collect leads at the event, and we don’t pay to be present. Instead, we focus on high-quality, inclusive, and fun mat Pilates.

Our first go-around was hugely successful, so we’ve been invited to return regularly. We’ve returned more than half a dozen times, and sometimes, we bring resistance bands to mix things up a bit. (My husband and studio co-owner/operator enjoyed cutting 200 resistance bands in equal lengths.)

Armature Works supplies us with an amplification system and manages RSVPs through Eventbrite. We bring a couple of instructors and a lot of positive energy.

We typically “sell out” each event, meaning the maximum number of free tickets/RSVPs are accounted for. That typically means we’re graced by somewhere between 100 and 200 weekend Pilates enthusiasts. It’s a lot of fun, it’s hot, and it brings us joy to provide this service.

Of course, it helps promote our studio, too, so that’s always a nice plus.

If your studio is spending money on advertising, trying to find a complementary partner like ours might make sense. We bring 100-200 people together on a Sunday morning, and everyone wins – the attendee, our studio, and the venue.

Maybe there isn’t an Armature Works type of venue in your town… but there might be a park or nice outdoor space. Spread the word among your clients, create a page on your website, and create a free event using one of the online platforms. Or do a tie-in with a complimentary business, like a café or local coffee joint. But whatever you do, don’t make it “salesy”. Let people have a moment of unabashed joy through movement. If they have a good time, they’ll remember you, and they’ll remember your studio.


Sydney Soschin is the founder and owner of The Pilates Krewe, which has three locations in Tampa Bay, Florida. A shoulder injury led her to discover Pilates and embark on a journey of finding self-confidence and creating a mission in life—to help others find joy through movement.

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