Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Andrea Contin-Chesek, Owner of Proper Pilates Studio, located in Peachtree City, GA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
ProperPilates Studio is fully equipped with Premium Pilates equipment from Basil Pilates and Gratz. Both pride in maintaining the original essence and designs of Joseph's unique mechanical devices. All customers are welcome.
Tell us about yourself
Born and raised in El Paso, Texas, I fell in love with Pilates upon my return to the USA after extensive international travels. I attended my final year of high school in Buenos Aires, Argentina, at Associación Escuelas Lincoln. After graduating, my travels continued, and I relocated to Rome, Italy. In 2001, after living abroad for almost 6 years, I received my BA and minor in Psychology magna cum laude at John Cabot University, an American University located a short distance from central Rome. After several years working at various companies, I once again decided to move back to the United States to Orlando, Florida, in August of 2003. Here I took my very first Pilates class and was instantly captivated.
Throughout my life, I have always turned to physical fitness in helping me manage stress, anxiety, depression, and overall physical health. I have congenital diastasis recti, a separation between the two sides of the abdominal muscle walls. Though I have always been physically active, I was unable to achieve the fit abdominals that those without diastases achieved through regular sit-ups, exercise, and dieting. After discovering Pilates and committing to the work after only 10 classes, I could immediately feel the difference! Continuous practice and I finally was able to achieve a stronger core that defined my midsection and whole body like no other fitness option I had ever encountered. I was able to achieve this not only once with Pilates but again a second time after pregnancy!
Experiencing firsthand the incredible results gained practicing Pilates in 2003, I knew that I had to become certified and teach others the amazing benefits it provides. In 2006, I moved to Atlanta and married in May 2007. My passion for Pilates led me to complete my Classical certification and apprenticeship with Second Generation Instructor Penelope Wyer-Barrow at Urban Body Studios in Atlanta, GA. I continued to teach Pilates at Urban Body Studios and various other locations throughout the metro area, including students at Georgia Tech University, full-time, for a period of over 4 years until the birth of my first daughter in late 2010. During those years, I created a large following, and many of those clients today have also become certified instructors after my departure from Atlanta and continue to teach or have opened their own studios throughout the country.
In 2013, I relocated to Peachtree City, GA. During these transitional years, my passion for the work never ceased. I continued my Pilates education by attending various workshops with well-renowned classical instructors such as Penelope Wyer-Barrow, Chris Robinson, Brooke Siler, Kathi Ross-Nash, Mejo Wiggin, Bob Liekens, Dana Santi, Marie Windsor, and Jay Grimes. All are classically trained and respected and continue to carry on the legacy, knowledge, and spirit of Joseph Pilates, inventor, and creator of "Pilates." A year after the arrival of my second daughter in early 2013 and finally settling into Peachtree City, GA, I felt further challenged to get back into shape. I was now faced with having not only diastases but also an umbilical hernia, amongst other common physical changes that result from pregnancies and lack of exercise. I returned again to practicing Pilates with even more persistence, insistence, and focus on proper technique and methodology. Within 6 months of starting private sessions with Mary-Ann Briggs (owner/instructor at The Pilates Loft in Newnan, GA), I once again began to feel and see the positive changes it did not only for my body as it did the first time but my mind and spirit too, as Joseph professed faithfully.
My growing enthusiasm and belief in the effectiveness and benefits of Joseph's work compelled me to open my own studio to give others access to this incredible fitness concept and share my knowledge and passion for Pilates. With previous experiences working with clients of all strength levels, I insist clients work hard and try things that they have never done before while being mindful of safe and proper body alignment, exercise execution, and equipment use. The cornerstone of the Pilates training philosophy is using mat classes, equipment classes, and private sessions in combination in order to maximize results and gain strength, control, and flexibility.
By persistently progressing through your practice of Pilates, I truly believe it will improve whatever your other activities are - whether it's playing a favorite sport, personally or professionally, just chasing your kids, or even something as simple as walking! Hope to see you in the Studio! In body, mind, and spirit…
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Surviving the pandemic while being such a young business.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Not knowing what to expect and finding balance.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Set appropriate goals. Your goals are essentially your definition of business success.
- Create a written plan.
- Keep reassessing your plan.
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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