Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and fitness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Kimmy Kellum, Founder and CEO of East River Pilates, located in New York, NY, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
East River Pilates is a Pilates studio based in Brooklyn, NY, on a mission to empower, educate, and inspire all people through the life-changing benefits of Pilates. We offer feel-good contemporary Pilates workouts with a focus on form, function, and flow. With exceptional instruction, expert programming, and a supportive community, we are dedicated to helping people successfully reach their fitness goals in Brooklyn and beyond.
Tell us about yourself
When I originally moved to New York, I never imagined opening a Pilates studio. I had every intention of continuing my dance career at the time, but life opened up a different direction for me when I started teaching rooftop Pilates classes on top of my apartment building. I realized how much joy it gave me to teach and how much people wanted to move and learn more about their bodies. We had so much fun together! Gradually, over the course of 8 years, I grew my client following from our rooftop to a small basement studio, then a second, then a storefront space, and now I'm proud to own three beautiful spaces for our community to move in. It's truly life-giving, and it brings me so much joy to see the same clients as I had eight years ago. I'm motivated every day by bringing people together in a safe space. For me, East River Pilates is not just about moving your body, it's about connecting with people, and that alone is so powerful to our existence, our sense of belonging, and happiness.
East River Pilates' Story
East River Pilates was established on a rooftop overlooking the East River in the Spring of 2014 by Australian transplant, dancer, and movement enthusiast, Kimmy Kellum. Since its creation, ERP has expanded to multiple studio locations in Brooklyn and has quickly become home to the feel-good workout, thanks to our all-star dream team.
In 2019, ERP proudly launched a comprehensive Teacher Training Program, which prides itself on graduating world-class Pilates instructors through both in-person and virtual courses. More recently, ERP launched ERP Online, an online video platform that offers hundreds of live virtual and on-demand specialty classes, workshops, and educational series. Today, ERP is proud to provide a welcoming space for New Yorkers to share a sense of community and connect with others all around the world who are passionate about healthy living.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
In the eight years, I've been running my business, my biggest accomplishment is building a phenomenal team of confident and capable leaders who, together, navigated COVID successfully despite the most challenging circumstances. I am proud to say that this summer, we achieved our strongest revenue numbers of all time, and we are overjoyed to celebrate a full post-lockdown recovery.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
One of the most challenging things about being a business owner is navigating financial stress and risk during unforeseen circumstances like COVID, while at the same time, being in a position to be able to provide financial and emotional support to my team, lead with confidence, and maintain an optimistic attitude despite uncertainty.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Take calculated incremental risks. That doesn't mean not pushing yourself, but knowing what level of risk you are willing to take on and reassess regularly.
- Listen and learn from your clients. After all, some of your best ideas will grow organically from within your community.
- Avoid entrepreneurial poverty by practicing 'profit first' accounting. This is a powerful practice of setting up fantastic and sustainable spending habits.
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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