Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and fitness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Anna Klapec, Co-Owner of Impel Pilates and Yoga Studio, located in Franklin, PA, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

We are a fully equipped Pilates and Yoga Studio with classically certified instructors. We offer Pilates equipment classes, private sessions, and Yoga classes that stem from Heated Vinyasa to Ashtanga to relaxing sound baths. Our clientele ranges from ages 16 to 85. Some are rehabilitating an injury, while some are fitness experts. Most clients are just trying to improve their quality of life by strengthening their minds and body. We take pride in truly offering something for everyone. From experienced yogis to the ones starting from scratch later in life, beginners to the most advanced athletes, male and female, you will feel welcomed and comfortable coming to our studio.

Tell us about yourself

At age 18, I returned to my hometown of Franklin, PA, after a year of traveling abroad. I had no direction on what I wanted to do next, so my older sister asked if I'd move with her to Ft. Lauderdale, FL, while she completed a classical comprehensive Pilates certification. We both had been introduced to Pilates by our dance teacher as it was a part of a mandatory stretch class we took. So off we went! Watching my sister go through her Pilates training and the work she was doing at that studio there once she had finished was inspiring, to say the least; she encouraged me to pursue a classical Pilates certification as well. I did just that, and after about a year and 400 logged hours, I, too, finished my comprehensive certification. My sister, Danae, and I lived together in Ft. Lauderdale while working at the same studio for many years. We would sit outside at night and talk about our dream of opening our own place someday and how our old dance studio in our quaint hometown would make the most beautiful space for that.

I became pregnant with twins and decided to move back home to be close to my parents for their help. When my twins were about six months old, Danae came to visit. Just for fun, we called and asked to see our old dance studio that had been closed for seven years. When we got up there and heard the price of rent, we knew this was it. It seemed too good to be true. Danae moved back two months later. Our dad and uncle, that had been working with the biggest designers in the country, came in and redid the entire space making it breathtaking with that "big city" feel. We were so pumped and ready to introduce Pilates to everyone, thinking we'd have a line out the door! We Opened on October 1st, 2009. Much to our surprise, we were the unknown and were not overflowing with clients. We taught class after class with just one or two people and pushed and pushed to get anyone in for private and duo sessions. It was a struggle, but never once did we doubt that we would grow the way we wanted to because we knew and believed in what we had to offer.

After about two years, Danae decided to get certified in Yoga. When she completed that, we rented out another room in our space, the old "tap room," and turned it into a heated Yoga sanctuary. Again, something completely new to the area. As the years went on, we made the changes needed to create more accountability for people to help them stay consistent. We bought more apparatus and stopped offering mat classes, switching strictly to small-group equipment classes. That changed everything and really gave people more of a sense of value and accomplishment. Danae was flourishing as an instructor in Pilates and Yoga. Her teaching was dynamic and passionate; she believed so deeply in what she was doing that you could feel it. Her yoga classes were reaching 30 people a class. Clients were driving from over an hour away in all different directions to take from her. Our Pilates classes were booked, and there were more private sessions than we could take on. We had been open 10 years now and finally felt like we could take this anywhere. We complimented each other as business partners better than ever. We were on the same page and vibing and ready to just blow up. We were at the top of our game and on the brink of multiplying that.

That's when my sister started getting sick. She was gradually becoming sicker, canceling classes last minute, barely being able to teach but trying so hard, trying every direction known to man to get healthy again but getting all the wrong answers and treatments. Finally, in the spring of 2020, she was diagnosed with cancer. She got through treatments while me and one of her closest friends, Crystal, that just finished her Yoga certification, carried the Studio. Danae came back in the fall teaching as beautifully as ever. In November, she had her three-month checkup, finding out her cancer had spread. We were all shocked and devastated yet so hopeful. She kept going trying it all but by January 2021, she was spiraling downhill. She passed away in May 2021.

Up until the day Danae passed, I would sit with her, and we'd talk about the studio and when she made it back. She was constantly sending me new exercises to try in my classes even though she couldn't even walk. She talked with me about what clients I should approach about becoming certified so I could get some help. She left behind a 5-year-old little girl at that point whom she loved doing Pilates and Yoga with at the studio. When I lost my business partner, best friend, and sister, I had to think seriously about if I wanted to continue what we built without her. There is nothing more "Danae" than Impel. Not only do I want to continue seeing our dream through, but I feel like it's a way I can honor her and what she loved.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Building from the ground up. Literally starting with nothing, controlling our growth by not going into major debt but building slowly as we created the demand and value for what we were offering.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

Carrying the responsibility of staying afloat and being the ultimate decision-maker.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Be ok with the fact you will work for free for many years. It's worth it. So don't ever figure out what you make an hour.
  2. Control your growth.
  3. Always face your clients and employees with complete honesty and respect. Treat them like you are beyond thankful they are there... even the hard ones... because if it wasn't for them, you wouldn't have a business.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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