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WHY I started a business during a PANDEMIC?!

Hi, my name is Rayna - Owner of Pilates Haus, located on the gorgeous south coast in Wollongong.

I'm a busy mum of 2 boys, Mavric 3.5 and Xavier 22 months and a pug mum to little Otto, who is 14.

Growing up I competed as a gymnast, eventually becoming the NSW state champion. It was my absolute passion until an injury prevented me from competing in my late teens.

Gymnastics is pretty gruelling on the body, I disclosed my knee, elbow and shoulder (7 times!)

Now at 41, my body is completely different, however, my love of body movement has never changed

I discovered Pilates Reformer in my early 20's and was instantly hooked - a fabulous studio in Bondi called Elixir. Pilates allowed me to strengthen my body safely, with minimal impact on my joints and left me feeling amazing afterwards.

When I moved back to Wollongong in 2010 I was devastated there wasn't any Pilates Reformer studios around. This was when I discovered Yoga - the lovely Deb and Russ from Younga Yoga became my new addiction and soon did my YOGA training.

I had always wanted to run my own studio, however, it was never the right time. I was working full time as a crew leader for Virgin Australia and spent years going through rounds of IVF treatments (that is a story for another time)

PLUS as many entrepreneurs will tell you, that niggling fear of failure and self-doubt can hold you back and stop you from taking the plunge IF you let it.

When COVID hit in 2020, I was on maternity leave from my 15-year career with Virgin Australia and stood down. I loved my job at Virgin and taking redundancy was a hard and emotional decision, but the seed of building my own studio had formed.

That time I had during the first lockdown, had enabled me to slow down and think about what I wanted in life. I realised if I didn't follow my dream now, I would always regret it and have those constant "what if's" - this space gave me to courage and confidence to start planing.

" I knew that If I failed I wouldn't regret that, but I knew that the one thing I might regret is not trying" Jeff Bezoz, Amazon Founder

I wanted to follow my dream to open a boutique Pilates studio, a safe and welcoming space where people could experience Pilates Reformer without feeling nervous and without judgement, regardless of their age, body shape or experience. I wanted people to fall in love with Pilates as I had, and experience that wonderful feeling you get after a class and welcome the positive changes, both physically and mentally.

I had been to too many studios in the past where you didn't feel welcome, where the instructor would ignore you, where you were too scared to ask a question and just felt like you weren't good enough. I wanted to change that experience for people.

When COVID hit my husband (a pilot for VAA) was also stood down, we were surviving off Job keeper, we froze our mortgage and could barely pay the bills.

It seems crazy to then gamble our live savings on this business right?! Especially with a new baby and a toddler.

BUT I knew I had to do it, I knew I could make it work and more importantly, I knew it would benefit our community.

As a business owner, it is important to trust your gut, that niggling feeling that you get when it just feels right, don't ignore that. So many people have dreams and ambitions and are too scared to act on them. The same can also be said for when something doesn't feel right, trust your instinct.

"The only thing worse than starting something and failing is NOT starting something at all" Seth Godin, Squidoo Founder

After 9 months of full-time planning and a LOT of due diligence Pilates Haus, Fairy Meadow opened its doors on January 4th 2021. Australia had all but eradicated covid and people were keen to get out and try our studio.

My first team member Jade was my right-hand woman, she was integral in those first few months. Jade and I use to work together at Virgin, I was so happy to be able to provide her with a new place of employment and so proud to see what an amazing instructor she had become. From day 1 our studio was a success, people loved the classes and the vibe of our little sanctuary.

I could say I got lucky, but it's not luck - it's a LOT of hard work and the most important thing to me and my team are our beautiful members!

We have an engaged Pilates community where everyone feels welcome and part of the family. Many of our members have become friends and connections formed.

I know my team (Jade, Maeghan, Kate, Laura, Shannon, Ilana, Chan and Amy) care about my business and members as much as I do - My team of instructors are a huge part of why Pilates Haus is so successful, they offer such vibrance and passion, love what they do, and care deeply about the brand and are invested in our success.

"You are only as good as your team" Dominic Wilkins, NBA player

I started a business during a pandemic because I backed myself and trusted my instincts.

While we are now in our 2nd lockdown, I know there will be more challenges and hurdles to overcome, but I have complete faith in my business, the team and our members and cant wait to welcome you all back to our oasis in the heart of Fairy Meadow soon!

Rayna xx


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