While Flex & Flow Pilates is a newer entrant to the fitness scene in Melbourne’s West, the studio’s business operations are rooted in the connections and lessons that owner Yasemin Talat has learned over 10 years in the fitness industry.
Talat’s fitness journey started when she was studying journalism at university. In her last year, she got a job as a sales consultant at a local gym. She found a passion for the health and fitness industry.
After university, she continued studying and got her Certificate III and IV in personal and group fitness, which lead her to start her personal training clients and teaching group fitness.
She taught a variety of classes—from Les Mills BODYPUMP to cycling classes—all while working full-time as a journalist.
Then she took a Pilates class and fell in love with how it felt for her body. She took more classes and decided to make her next course in Pilates so she could teach it to others.
Being flexible with change
That decision was coupled with a career change—she left journalism and moved into marketing and communications full-time. But those weren’t the most significant changes in her life: Yasemin became pregnant with her first child.
“The great thing about Pilates is you can do it at all different parts of your life,” Talat said. “It’s very adaptable to your lifestyle.”
While Pilates is adaptable, getting a Certificate is not—Talat couldn’t be assessed on her skills until after she gave birth. When she took parental leave from work, she put all of her energy into Pilates and her newborn, completing her Pilates course in short order.
After completing her course and while still on leave, she decided to start teaching mat Pilates to her friends and training clients.
Growing a business
Soon after she began teaching classes, they started filling up. So, she looked into renting out some places and found a space in Essendon.
“I was only charging $10 a class, and I honestly didn’t expect how popular it was going to get, so my classes could only fit 15 people per class. They were getting full every weekend.”
Once she saw a demand for her classes, she expanded where and when she taught. She added weekday classes and additional rented space in Derrimut. And as those classes start filling, Talat realised that she could open her own space.
“It started to seem like it could be a reality,” she said. “It took me a long time to find a studio that I could imagine ourselves growing into. My dreams are always to keep growing, bigger and better.”
When she finally found the perfect location, she knew how she wanted it to feel: a warm, welcoming community.
“I wanted people to feel like they weren’t just another person stepping through the doors—they were important to us, and their bodies were important to us,” she explained. “I wanted to pride myself and my studio on not just making people move but helping people move better.”
She also knew that she wanted to use Mindbody to help manage the studio. She signed on to use the software while still teaching mat classes, but due to some unforeseen complications, she had to leave Mindbody and try other software providers.
“It was really disappointing for me because I had set my heart on being with Mindbody and using Mindbody to grow my business. Nothing could give me as much as what Mindbody was offering.”
Making a dream come true
After leaving Mindbody, Yasemin began researching other options, eventually landing with another appointment-based software provider. But when she finally opened Flex & Flow in April 2019, she knew that software no longer met her needs.
“It didn’t cut it anymore because one of the things they’re lacking is they don’t have a waiting list—and when your business is booming, you want to give people the opportunity to jump on a waiting list.”
Then she tried another software platform, which was the most expensive thing she had tried thus far.
“They promised all of the bells and whistles, and that they had pretty much everything Mindbody has. They were new in the game, and we were new in the game—why not?”
What started well did not end that way. Flex & Flow customers began sending emails to Talat with complaints—complaints about app issues, booking issues, or scheduling issues.
“Being a new system, it had a lot of glitches,” she said. “We were getting quite a lot of emails, almost daily. Time management is crucial when you’re running a business, and my time started being all held up with software and all the inquiries and issues that were coming in all based on that.”
So she left.
This time, though, instead of going with something else new, she went back to what she knew she wanted from the beginning: Mindbody.
“I really wanted to give Mindbody another go, because all of my favourite businesses and all of my business owner friends are using Mindbody, and not complaining or having any issues.”
Since making the switch back, she’s been able to focus on the business and her customers—not her studio management software.
“I’m happy and glad that we made that decision. I’m not wasting time with member issues, with apps or glitches with the app. I’ve been able to put my time back into the business where it needs it more. I’ve been enjoying the different features that Mindbody is providing.”
Functional app? Check.
Peace of mind? Check.