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Couture Pilates on 54th
by Mario Morone
posted: Sept. 02, 2021

Small business owners are a special breed...it takes a certain amount of guts to forgo the potential safety net of a salary in favor of the high wire act that is inherent in being responsible for every decision in the life of a business. As many small business owners can attest to however, the move that kept them up the most at night was the choice to expand. Rarely is this decision ever cut and dry, risks and rewards need to be measured, but the very maverick nature that pushed many of these individuals to give their dreams a shot in the first place is what drives them to take things to the next level, but to expand in the midst of a pandemic? That might be sheer madness.

Couture Pilates is located at 1057 East 54th Street, Suite B.
Couture Pilates is located at 1057 East 54th Street, Suite B.
image courtesy of Mario Morone
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Enter Joanna Couture, the soft spoken yet incredibly energetic owner of Couture Pilates. While today she is comfortably ensconced in a brand new space in the upscale adult playground known as the 54th and Monon shops, March of 2020 found her, like many other business owners, in the middle of a professional crossroads. Every day brought news of changing regulations and there was an atmosphere of uncertainty that crept its way into every discussion between her, the studio's teachers and their clients. Couture, who has been teaching Pilates for over 20 years, had been contemplating an expansion out of the location she occupied at the time. The small cottage on the grounds of the Riviera Club that had been home to her studio for the past 6 years was beginning to feel claustrophobic and ultimately limiting. "I had ideas, dreams really, of what I thought a Pilates studio could be. The problem I kept running into was just not having enough space! The cottage was set up well for private and duet sessions, and I'm proud of what my teachers and I were able to accomplish there, but I was also restless and had this nagging feeling that the future of my business depended on me being able to really explore my vision," she explained.

Joanna Couture owns Couture Pilates.
Joanna Couture owns Couture Pilates.
image courtesy of Mario Morone
Quan


Created by German emigre Joseph Pilates almost 100 years ago, the exercise medium that bears his name has undergone a host of changes that today might leave its inventor scratching his head in amazement. Gone are the pieced together machines that used the old springs from hospital beds as the basis of its resistance work. Today's modern machines are complex pieces of engineering that pay homage to Joseph's belief that balance, core strength and flexibility are the foundation upon which an exercise regimen should be built. Joanna goes on to say, "When I first started my training 20 years ago the curriculum was based on what the industry now warmly refers to as Classical Pilates. There was a very dogmatic approach to what you could and could not do with a Reformer machine. As someone who never really enjoyed coloring within the lines as a kid I started asking myself why can't I do it differently? So the last decade or so I've worked to develop a teaching style that is informed by the past without being beholden to it. I love the Reformer," says Couture. "But I think that it only provides one dimension to what Pilates has to offer. What excited me about the idea of a larger studio were the choices I would be able to offer clients. When it comes to exercise it can't be one size fits all! The challenge in being a good teacher is not in knowing the most exercises but in being able to keep your clients inspired and motivated long enough to allow them to see what Pilates has to offer them. This is why my staff and I teach a variety of styles and use a number of new devices to engage with our clients. Our new space has allowed us to hold larger group classes and the response to our introduction of the Bodhi rope suspension system, think a more cutting edge version of TRX, and MOTR, a small tube focusing on balance while providing resistance training via its internal pulleys, has been a game changer for us and the feedback we've received has been overwhelmingly positive. Coupled with some of our more exotic pieces of equipment like the Cadillac and Core Align systems we really feel like there's nothing we can't offer our clientele" she added.
Couture goes on to say that, "As any business owner, or real estate agent for that matter, will tell you it's all about location, location, location. I was fortunate enough to connect with the most amazing local landlords, David and Suzie Reese, who are absolute local legends when it comes to supporting small businesses. They understood what it is I was trying to accomplish and their wonderful building at 54th and Monon shops felt like home the moment I walked in. I am incredibly grateful that in the midst of last year's nuttiness I was able to utilize the help that the SBA was offering. They really gave me the means to see my dream come true."
When asked what the biggest challenge in growing a Pilates studio is, Couture noted, "Getting more men to recognize the advantage of Pilates! What we do is truly a functional type of core strength training. I would see men who felt that they were in great shape but were getting hurt tying their shoes if you can believe it. They could bench press 200lbs but were humbled by what 2lbs and the right exercise could do to and for them. I will say it's been great to see Pilates move more into the mainstream and collective consciousness as a result of so many athletes discovering its benefits."
Joanna and Couture Pilates can be found at 1057 East 54th Street, Suite B, just east of the Monon Trail. You can learn more by visiting: www.couturepilatesindy.com or e-mailing her at: Joanna@CouturePilatesIndy.com You can also let your fingers do the stretching by calling or texting (317) 506-1269.


mario@broadripplegazette.com
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