Starting the Pilates Movement in Ireland
Sarah MacLachlann and Paul Hickey are on a journey to spread wellness through education, community and growth. Moving from the corporate and legal worlds into the wellness industry allowed the two of them to achieve balance, and to help propel the industry in Ireland.
In 2002, Sarah left her job as a lawyer and decided to focus on Pilates. After freelancing at a number of gyms, she opened her first studio and in 2011, took the plunge and opened Pilates Performance in Ireland.
It was on a visit to a studio in Miami that Sarah first encountered Pilates software. “They let me behind the desk and I had a good look at it and was able to briefly understand the system and how it would be useful for me in my studio.” That was all it took for Sarah to become a Mindbody customer.
Sarah knew that by opening a studio in a property that had 3 rooms and was too big for her to manage on her own, she would need staff and systems to support bookings and multiple classes.
An engine for growth
Sarah notes that the biggest cost savings Mindbody was able to provide were through decreasing the reception desk hours from full-time to a couple of hours, a few evenings a week.
As Pilates Performance grew, Sarah added more Mindbody products to support her growing needs with branded app and branded web tools in particular, allowing customer to self-manage their accounts and book classes online, as opposed to calling the studio.
As the technology side became more complex, Sarah’s husband Paul became an absolute asset to the studio.
Whilst Sarah has been a Pilates Teacher and Educator for 30 years, Paul first was brought into Pilates Performance 16 years ago when Sarah developed her business model of “community classes” – these were set-up where they hired independent venues to host classes. With over 200 students per year becoming certified Pilates teachers through their unique Teacher Training Mentorship Programme, Sarah and Paul have found a way to spread wellness and retain loyal customers.
Paul has completely immersed himself into all things classes, bookings and beyond by becoming a certified Mindbody consultant. Paul loves helping other studios implement and use Mindbody because of the system’s customer centric and open sourced nature, allowing for integration across multiple partner platforms in a flexible manner. His business, Digital Mind, helps studios in Ireland and all over the world work to implement and run Mindbody software along with all other integrated digital marketing tools. A piece of key advice from Paul is to try to follow the “3-click doctrine” to help customers buy with 3 clicks of a mouse which “makes it as easy as possible for clients to purchase.”
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