Career

How did she do that? Claire Mitchell on bringing Studio Pilates to New Zealand

From fixing people’s finances to fixing up their physical form, Claire Mitchell shares her story on transitioning from a corporate role to branching out as Studio Pilates business owner.

With an impending wedding set for January 2019, Claire, 31, brings us up to speed on how she launched the internationally renowned franchise on Auckland’s North Shore hub, Takapuna.

How did she do that? Claire Mitchell on bringing Studio Pilates to New Zealand


Can you explain your career path to date?
Before opening Studio Pilates, I spent ten years working in finance. I started off in accounts and ended up in financial planning then, as a client of Studio Pilates in Australia. I fell in love with the practice and saw the opportunity to bring the amazing brand home to New Zealand. I’ve been the studio manager, instructor and instructor mentor at my own studio for the last year.

What do you love most about your job?
Our amazing clients. Seeing a positive difference that you can make it someone’s life. Is it particularly rewarding when you see how hard a client has worked after coming back from long-term pain or injuries and able to do more than ever. Even when you are tired, seeing their smiling (or sometimes grimacing) faces can re-energise you!

What is your biggest accomplishment at work or a moment you’re most proud of?
The best moment to date has been to see a lot of our classes book out, such a great feeling. It means that we are doing something right. Also landing another amazing site for a studio in the Auckland CBD – stay tuned!

What is the biggest obstacle you’ve overcome, as it relates to your career or industry?
Being a new business owner in the first year, there have been many learning experiences and trying moments. Putting a big smile and brave face on and not showing signs of stress to the clients was certainly a challenge, but it soon becomes second nature when you have the mindset that the number one most important thing is that the clients get the best experience every single time- that’s been a very new skill for me.

What motivates you?
I want to make this studio successful; I want to be successful and I want the brand to be a household name. I’m motivated by knowing that the hard work now will pay off for myself and my fiancé Paul later. It’s a pretty good feeling knowing that you are working to your full potential.

How did she do that? Claire Mitchell on bringing Studio Pilates to New Zealand


What do you believe has been the key to your success?
Having great people around me, at work and at home.

What do you wish you’d known at the start of your career?
There will be lots of twists and turns along the road, but don’t beat yourself up because you learn something from every wrong (or right) move you make – it will help you and provide you with lots of different skills.

What’s something that you’re really excited about or energized by in your industry right now?
I just love that pilates and pilates reformer is becoming more prevalent for the masses. Until recently – in New Zealand in particular – it has been such an uncommon form of exercise. I love seeing lots of Pilates studios popping up around the city. It means we have a common goal!

What’s the best piece of advice you would give to your younger self?
Everything seems to work out the way it should; enjoy the ride, meet people, have fun, explore and be nice.

What are your top three tips for landing a job in your industry?
Make sure your reasons for doing it are because you love helping people; study lots – you can never stop learning about the human body; and know that your clients will always appreciate you going that extra mile.

In another lifetime what would you want to be when you grow up?
A naturopath, nutritionist and osteopath all combined into one. I’d be studying for half my life!

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How do you relax away from work?
Typically I’m on the couch with my cat and fiancé, and in summer, you will find me at the beach as much possible. I’m typing this from Bali and I have to say that I am very relaxed sitting in the sun with a cocktail, away from work.

Technology you can’t live without?
My phone – I’m an email addict from way back. I’ve recently set a curfew so no emails (that could lead to lack of sleep) once I get home and hit the couch.

Who do you most admire in business?
My dad; he started his own business at 30 and I’ve always wanted to follow that path too.

What do you believe is the secret to success?
Do something that you genuinely love. I have been far more successful in the year of operating the studio than the ten years in finance that wasn’t really suited to me, but I tried to tell myself it was for a while.

The one beauty product that keeps you looking fresh?
Dior Addict Lip Glow. I love all of the colours but Berry 006 is the best! The colours adapt to your skin tone so it looks a bit different on everyone! Also doesn’t get that old worn off lipstick type situation that seems to happen on me!

What’s the outfit that makes you feel confident and empowered?
I’m currently addicted to my multiple pairs of Mother Insider Cropped frayed jeans in white and in black. You can dress them up or down, plus they’re super comfy which is a bonus.

You have already achieved so much, but what’s next for you?
The next studio in Auckland’s CBD. Stay tuned those of you who don’t want to cross the bridge!

Photos: Supplied

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