UWA graduate Emma Anderson moved to Sydney when she finished university for a fresh start. After three years, during which she developed a passion for Pilates, the 27-year-old returned home and opened her own studio, Cardea Pilates, in Claremont.
1. What made you decide to open your own Pilates studio in November 2017?
I grew up in WA but moved to Sydney in 2014 for three years where I worked as a PT at a gym in Bondi. Then I started working in a Pilates studio and a friend and I talked about opening a studio over there. But the fitness market is so flooded in Sydney so I decided to come back to Perth because it made more sense business wise to start here with lower rents and the support of family and friends. The space in Claremont became available and I fit it out in the style of a Sydney Pilates studio – spacious, light and airy – and with 10 Allegro reformers.
2. What have you learned about operating a small business since then?
It’s been very up and down. I’m such a perfectionist so initially I found it hard to delegate tasks to people. I wanted to do everything on my own so I knew it was done properly. But I had to get over that. I learned to delegate tasks and share the load. I’d never held a job for more than nine months because I’d just get bored but it’s so different having your own small business.
3. What has been a highlight?
The little wins. The best thing is when the “walkers” (mums who walk for exercise) who have never been to a gym come in and do a class. The initial challenge is to make them feel comfortable. I love having those women in the studio and making them feel confident. It’s nice to have that community and those relationships. I’ve also tried to change peoples mindsets around movement. I do clinical one-on-ones and that’s so different to a class because it’s about getting them to understand their body.
4. How have you overcome the challenges of being in small business?
Initially I just tried to plan as much as I possibly could and had an excel spreadsheet to predict all the costs. I over-predicted everything so when I got to the end the cost wasn’t as much. I was really lucky with my fit out… my fianc is a builder so he saved me a lot of money. I’m lucky to have met studio owners in Sydney and we share advice all the time.
5. What is your local coffee shop?
Daisies in Cottesloe. It’s just down the road from home and I walk my dog Ziggy down there every morning.