Joe's Disciple: Shari Berkowitz
Name: Shari Berkowitz
Name of My Pilates Studio: The Vertical Workshop
# of years open: 4 years
My Certifications: Power Pilates Teacher Trainer, Pilates Inc. (Romana Kryzanowska)
# Of years teaching: 8 years
My inspiration for opening my own Pilates studio: I had built up my own clientele so large that the rent I was paying at other people’s studios paid their entire month’s rent. The time had come. In addition, I had become a Teacher Trainer for Power Pilates and wanted the apprentices to have a place to observe their senior teachers.
My vision/mission for my studio is: At The Vertical Workshop we teach the finest in Classical Pilates. We work hard, but have a great time!
My initial fears: I just wanted to make sure I could pay the rent each month.
If I knew then what I know now: I would do it all over again…the same exact way!
My favorite thing about owning my own studio: I love having a space where I can put forth exactly what I dream: Great Pilates in a beautiful setting. Nothing more, nothing less. No drama, just the goods. I get to call the shots, so I can keep it the sanctuary that I desire.
Useful skills of a successful studio owner: You have to want the business side of it. You have to be a business person. You can’t just be Pilates instructor.
Services offered at my studio: Classical Pilates - Private and Semi-Private Sessions
What makes my studio unique: The Vertical Workshop is the training center for Power Pilates. This means that we have apprentices. That keeps the quality of teaching higher than anywhere else. Plus, our apprentices teach at a reduced rate making private Pilates available to more people.
How I initially got clients in the door: Word of mouth. It’s precious. If you do great work, then the word of mouth follows.
How I retain clients: We keep our clients by understanding what the clients’ needs are: What their goals are, what they bring to the studio that day and by progressing the client appropriately.
# of employees: 4 certified teachers, 9 apprentices
What I look for in my instructors: My instructors must have great ability on the technical side, but equally as important is that they have great and easy-going personalities.
My greatest challenges as a studio owner/employer: There’s a Pilates studio on every corner in my part of town. So, keeping new clients coming in is an important thing to consider on a daily basis.
My inspirations: I’m inspired by so much! Seeing my clients’ bodies change for the better each day is what inspires me each and every session. Watching my apprentices grow and join this amazing community is a great thrill! And equally as important, my daily practice. My daily workouts inspire me. I grow through my teaching and my workouts every single day!
How I maintain my passion: I maintain my passion by seeing every person, every session as something brand new. It’s as though each session is a puzzle and I have to figure it out. I have to help that client grow from the moment they walk in the door to the moment they leave. It’s wonderful!
Words of wisdom or advice for future Pilates studio owners: Only open a studio if you want what comes with it: A lot more hard work. You have to want the business side of it. It’s no walk in the park. It’s tough. There are huge ups and downs. If you really want it, it’s thrilling, but you must know what you’re getting in to.
When I’m not running my studio I’m: Playing pool.
One question I would ask Joseph Pilates: I have too many to write down!
My mentors: Dr. Howard Sichel, Bob Liekens, Romana Kryzanowska, Dr. Clive Segil, Tim Millet, Germaine Salsberg
My favorite T-shirt from Joe’s Pila-T-Shop: I have them all. I love them all! If I had to choose... Got Powerhouse? All styles!