Today we’d like to introduce you to Gabrielle Saran.
Gabrielle, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
It’s a classic story of how a life-changing hobby became a passion and a career. A little more than a decade ago, I spent 10 to 14 hours a day sitting in front of a computer; so is the life of a graphic designer in an advertising firm. As too many of us know, sitting for long hours at a time can cause imbalances in the body that lead to headaches, neck and back pain, and tight hips – not to mention bad posture. On one crisp autumn day, as a gust of motivation swept through me, I decided to try a Pilates mat class. I had heard that Pilates helps correct body alignment, improves posture, and strengthens the core muscles, which helps relieve back pain. I can honestly say, YES, it absolutely does.
And so began my Pilates journey. I became hooked on Reformer Pilates, which is a machine that uses springs and pulleys to create progressive resistance. I became nationally certified through Balanced Body and opened my own studio, Saran Pilates, in Los Angeles, and later one in Asheville, NC. I have recently relocated to Atlanta and opened a private studio, focusing on personal training. Being a studio owner and Pilates instructor is now my full-time job, and it has been so rewarding! Not only do I get to share my passion for Pilates, but I also get to SEE what a regular Pilates practice does for my clients: they are stronger, more flexible, pain-free, and have more energy. Most importantly, my sessions encourage the mind-body connection. Being present in the moment and letting your body know how it should move to feel better both physically and mentally is truly priceless.
From graphic designer to Pilates instructor and entrepreneur – it’s a pretty big career change. Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It’s crucial to love what you do if you’re going to be starting a business, that much is true. Once that passion is established, there’s another piece of the puzzle necessary to run a successful business: business management know-how. I never attended business school, so I learned how to manage my small business from experience – oftentimes learning the hard way! In this case, I would highly suggest doing individual research on marketing, accounting, legal, and competition to better manage your business. Surrounding yourself with other small business owners is also tremendously helpful, whether it’s simply to share business knowledge, or to pair up in order to promote both of your businesses.
Since running Saran Pilates, I’ve met many other women business owners. What I’ve appreciated from these encounters is the honesty and willingness to help each other out. Not being afraid to share embarrassing stories, fears, and concerns about running a business is actually going to encourage dialogue with other women experiencing similar situations. Together, we can help each other thrive.
Throughout the years of owning and operating Saran Pilates, I can honestly say that people want your business to be successful – they are rooting for you. If you are starting a journey towards small business ownership or social media branding, don’t be afraid to talk to people. Run your ideas by friends and neighbors, get your brand out there, see what your clients/followers want and need. And most importantly, be genuine. Be yourself and show people that you care – about them and your business.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Saran Pilates – what should we know?
Along with my brick and mortar businesses, I have also been concentrating on social media. I have nearly 40K Instagram followers and 18.5K YouTube subscribers. For me, social media is about getting my brand out there while communicating with the world I live in (fitness enthusiasts, other Pilates instructors, physical therapists…). I want to remain genuine while sharing the benefits of what a Pilates practice can do, and being as welcoming as possible. It’s not easy for people to open up about their body issues and limitations, and it’s absolutely necessary to create a safe environment to establish trust.
As a service provider, I’m actually most proud of the environment I’ve created – at my studio and on social media. People have told me they feel welcomed, safe, motivated, and free to move and express themselves at my studio. Wellness is not just about the physical, it’s also very much a mental state-of-mind!
A mind-body connection is the core of my teachings. My training method uses Pilates exercises on the Reformer to focus on precise and controlled movements with special attention to alignment. We work on both mobility and stability. This technique is not only proven to help sculpt strong, lean bodies, but it also helps correct muscular imbalances, improves posture and balance, increases flexibility, and releases tensions, all of which combined help your body work at its most efficient level. I use low-impact techniques to let you focus on correct muscle engagement. It’s taken me years to learn (and accept) how essential it is to take care of myself in a mindful way. It changed my self-image, my relations with others, and has given me the confidence needed for a happy life. I take pride in helping people feel better about themselves.
Do you recommend any apps, books or podcasts that have been helpful to you?
I love the “How I Built This” podcast with Guy Raz. If ever you need a motivational boost as a business entrepreneur, do yourself a favor and download a few episodes. You will soon feel that anything is possible with a lot of hard work, determination, and a little luck!
The book “Unfu*k Yourself: Get out of your head and into your life” by Gary John Bishop was also really helpful. As a person who loves “to-do lists” and conceptualizing, this book has pushed me to just go out and take ACTION. Action is what will help you get unstuck and get the ball rolling!
One of my favorite fiction books is “Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine”, by Gail Honeyman. It’s a poetic tale of how opening up and trusting others can help you in so many magical ways.
- New Client Special: Two Personal Reformer Training Sessions for $99
- Virtual Training via FaceTime or WhatsApp: $75/session
- Website: www.saranpilates.com
- Phone: 828-747-9362
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/saranpilates
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/saranpilates/
- Other: https://www.youtube.com/SaranPilates
Gabrielle Saran, Jared Dostie