Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Destinie Slavich, Owner of Pilates In Common, located in San Francisco, CA, USA.

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

We're a classical Pilates studio in San Francisco, CA. We're unique as we are the first worker-cooperative Pilates studio to exist in the USA (est. 2018). This means our teachers have equal ownership in the business, which increases our purchasing power, and allows us to share clientele and the responsibility of business ownership (plus annual profits are returned to our teachers).

We have a broad spectrum of students who are recovering from injury, managing chronic pain, looking to improve posture, and athletes wanting a mindful, full-body workout.

Tell us about yourself

Pilates in Common was bred out of necessity. Most students don't understand the hidden inequities that exist in the boutique fitness industry; they see the cost per session and don't realize most teachers only receive a fraction of the session cost while the majority go to the studio owner. Yet the teacher is responsible for funding their own healthcare, sick pay, PTO, and retirement from that fraction of each session.

Our cooperative allows us to turn profits that would go to the studio owner into employee benefits, such as sick leave and paid time off. These two benefits alone have a big impact on our overall wellness as service providers. As our cooperative grows, so does our ability to care for our teachers (e.g., healthcare, retirement matches) which ultimately makes teaching Pilates a viable career path.

It's without question that our original motivation was helping our students achieve their goals and feel empowered in their bodies. What truly keeps us going is a commitment to each other and the belief that our studio is making the world a better place for both teachers and students.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Our biggest accomplishment is growing our business during the pandemic. We were able to work as a team and quickly pivot our business to be 100% online, which enabled us to take on displaced students whose teachers waited to go online. Our cooperative business structure made it easy to qualify for PPE and made us more competitive candidates for grants and business loans.

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

The hardest thing is compartmentalizing that as employee-owners, we wear both hats and need to look at all business decisions from a business owner's perspective and an employee's perspective. We have to juggle different financial and personal needs, like the future growth of Pilates in Common versus the current needs of our teachers. It's not unusual for the latter to be at odds with each other, so we are constantly improving our communication and conflict resolution skill sets.

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

  1. Ask yourself, do you want to depend on your passion for a living?
  2. Know your numbers. If you open your business with a clear financial bottom line, then you'll make sound investments and know what services will or will not improve your bottom line.
  3. Make sure you have a support network. Whether this means you have business partners, a therapist, or a loyal dog, you're going to need emotional, mental, and moral support as a business owner. In some cases, your support network is what keeps you going.

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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