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Why The Pilates Studio in Hadley Left Wellness Living for Mindbody

Laurie Johnson taking Pilates at The Studio in Hadley

Choosing the right fitness software can make or break your business—just ask Laurie Johnson from The Pilates Studio in Hadley, Massachusetts.

From instructing to owning

The Pilates Studio’s story starts in 2001, when Laurie Johnson and her business partner Katrina Hawley worked as employees. Fast forward ten years to when Johnson and Hawley both earned more certifications and accreditations and decided to purchase the studio.

Making the jump from instruction to owning a studio was natural, but the two newly minted owners knew that they needed to make the leap from the old pen-and-paper system of managing bookings to online management—they decided to go with Mindbody.

“We got on Mindbody and everything was awesome,” Johnson said. “But after two or three years, we were like, ‘it’s getting too expensive’ and we were able to get a Wellness Living discount.”

A new software with broken trust

They decided they would move the studio from Mindbody to Wellness Living, and at first, everything went well.

“Wellness Living was totally attentive in the whole sales process and the onboarding process,” Johnson said. “Little did I know it was a complete nightmare. I can't even express the amount of glitches that they had.”

What started as a plan to save the studio money, ended up costing Johnson her time—instead of spending it running the studio, she was continuously researching software issues impacting instructors and members. Class packages were missing and customers received random emails that didn’t make sense. But the worst was when Johnson discovered she had been paying for postcards for members’ birthdays that were never sent, even though she paid for them.

“After like four or five months, I was like, ‘it's so weird. I'm not getting any response,’” Johnson said. “I pulled a report to see who did I send postcards to? Every single one said failed for four or five months.”

Eventually, Johnson voiced her concerns in a private Wellness Living user group and as a comment on a Facebook ad, wanting to commiserate with other studio owners and have her questions answered.

“They wrote me an email,” Johnson said. “It was the day before my birthday, and they just sent me an email saying, as of now, this is your 30-day notice that we're terminating your contract. You have 30 days and then you're shut off due to your lack of cooperation.”

A familiar home with hope for the future

The Pilates Studio was left with a terrible reality—their busiest time of the year was approaching, and they were going to be left without a software to manage the studio. Johnson, Hawley, and studio manager Mark Firehammer immediately began searching for a new home. They spent hours on the phone with software companies the next day outlining what they needed, and how fast they needed to be set up.

“We had phone calls with all of them,” Johnson said. “Mindbody was the clear choice.”

And after their ordeal, they decided to choose the highest software tier Mindbody offered, opting for automated marketing and a branded mobile app. The rationale? “Yes, it was more expensive, but you get what you pay for,” Johnson said.

Since making the switch, Johnson is back to spending time on what matters, rather than investigating software glitches.

“We haven't had one hiccup, one issue,” Johnson said. “The thing I love most is whenever I do hit something, I know it's something I'm doing wrong. It’s just so nice to be able to trust that something’s going to work so that our clients can sign up, they can pay online, and they’re not hitting these weird disasters.”

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