Today we’d like to introduce you to Gretchen Wagoner.
Gretchen, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I started my Pilates journey as a student of the method for over six years before ever thinking about teaching. In NYC I was introduced to mat classes around 2001. I danced as a kid and abandoned it in high school to pursue Fine Arts, which is what eventually led me to NYC. From my very first class, I loved Pilates! It helped me to connect to my body in a way that I hadn’t since my childhood dance classes. Also, having an hour class to focus only on my movements and breath calmed my stress that sometimes came with living and working in a busy and dynamic city like New York.
My mat Pilates instructor (still a friend) encouraged me to do a training. In 2008 I completed my mat training and started teaching evenings and weekends to see if I enjoyed teaching enough to leave my day job in interior design. It turned out that I did! In 2009 I moved to Miami and completed my Comprehensive Teacher Training at Polestar Pilates. From there I continued on a path of learning with taking as many continuing education workshops and courses as I could. Eventually, I also got involved in education and discovered that I really enjoyed teaching soon to be teachers as well.
After purchasing some used equipment on Craigslist, I started conducting Private sessions in my home studio as well as teaching in studios around the city. I’ve always had a bit of an entrepreneurial spirit and when I started getting overbooked at my home studio, I knew it was time to make the leap to something bigger. In November 2016, I officially opened BREATHE PILATES Miami after much thought and planning.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I don’t think that anyone who owns a small business can honestly say that it’s a smooth road. You have to really love what you do because you end up working all of the time. I’ve always been a bit of a workaholic so to be working so hard for something that I built instead of for someone else’s business, makes it much more satisfying.
The initial start-up of the business was probably the toughest. Finding the right space, negotiating a lease, getting all the right permits, licenses, etc. included many stressful moments. I had a limited budget and did most everything on my own, including painting our beautiful floor with the help of a dear friend. This year Irma throw us a curveball as well, thankfully the studio made it through unscathed but it took some time for our students to come back to focus on their Pilates.
BREATHE PILATES Miami – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
BREATHE PILATES Miami specializes in small group classes, private and duet sessions, and continuing education for instructors. Whether you are looking for your Pilates practice to be a workout or more of a post-rehabilitation movement experience, we have you covered! I think we have the best team of instructors who are passionate, unique, and professional. I truly feel very lucky to be surrounded by fellow “Pilates Nerds”.
I’m very proud of the continuing education that we have brought to BREATHE during this past year. Amazing educators from all over have come to share their expertise. Pilates should be for everyone and the courses we’ve hosted reflect that, Pilates for MS and Neurological Conditions, as well as Pilates for post Knee and Hip Replacements to name a few. On a smaller scale, our “FriYay Instructor Classes” have become one of our most popular classes. It’s an opportunity for our community to come together and move, ask questions, discuss clients, etc. I love seeing the connections and friendships that have come out of this class.
What sets us apart from other studios is our small class sizes and the individualized attention you’ll receive from our well-trained instructors. We believe in quality over quantity and only have a maximum of five students in our group equipment classes. This allows us to make necessary hands-on corrections, offer modifications if needed and most importantly, our students progress very quickly. When people progress, they feel great about themselves and that is what we want, to see our students leave with a smile on their faces.
What is “success” or “successful” for you?
There is a great Tom Petty quote about success that pretty much sums it up for me. “Do something you really like, and hopefully it pays the rent. As far as I’m concerned, that’s success.”
BOGO Buy one class, get one free! $32
Intro Promo – 5 group classes for $95
Private Sessions Intro Promo – 3 for $180
Address: 715 NE 79th Street, Miami FL 33138