Jane Bingham and Lane Gibson opened Reform Fitness in 2011. As partners in crime both professionally and personally, Lane and Jane were exposed to this specific form of exercise while living abroad in London. Both trained in a range of sport medicine and rehabilitation, they instantly fell in love with it. When visas expired and the longing for home became too strong, a dream formed to look at starting up a studio back home in New Zealand, ‘At that point, there was nothing quite like it being done back here.’
The pair are both from Taranaki, but weren’t sure it was the ideal location for the new venture. After research and deliberation, the selected destination was Mount Maunganui. Initially it was just the two of them, but they have since added a third trainer to the team and increased the number of pilates machines from 5 to 7.
At first glance into a reformer pilates studio, it may appear that you’re looking into some sort of torture chamber. Speak to some of the class attendees and they might say that, in fact, that is exactly what it’s like. Although it’s a gruelling workout, the results speak for themselves and the majority soon find themselves hooked.
The machines, or beds, are kitted with ropes, pulleys and springs that take the holistic approach of mat pilates to a whole new level. It’s a high intensity full body workout that encourages strength, toning, flexibility and coordination. The benefits extend to assist with rehabilitation and enhance ease of movement in day-to-day life.
As any new business will tell you, it’s not always plain sailing, but the duo have been lucky not to have too many grand scale challenges. The biggest hurdle though is the next one, taking the business to the next step. ‘We are currently looking for a bigger studio but we don’t want to plunge into anything too quickly. We want to be sure we can still provide the same level of service to our clients without changing too much.’ And keeping clients happy is clearly of the utmost importance, ‘we have a high expectation on ourselves to give our clients excellent service. Seeing them return each week gives us immense satisfaction, plus they’re great fun to be around, so it makes getting up at the crack of dawn well worth it!’
The successful pair have sound advice for small businesses starting out, ‘set goals, both short and long term. Have a backup plan and although it sounds dreary, plan for the worst-case scenario so you’ve got steps in place to deal with anything as it arises. Set clear and realistic financial goals and have a “fold your cards” point to avoid getting in too deep.’
Although Jane and Lane are driven and independent, they understand the importance of help from the right people. ‘We would highly recommend any business to have an accountant. Making sure you cover all your bases when it comes to tax can be hard, and this is something your accountant can take care of for you. And our accountant keeps us out of jail!’
Reform Fitness in Mount Maunganui is one to watch with a plan to take their business to great heights. Currently running 35 pilates classes and 15 to 20 personal training sessions per week, the intent is to become a one stop shop for health and fitness. As Jane says, ‘the next step is branching out to bigger premises then hopefully other cities, eventually going nationwide. The fear of failure is huge but the only way to go is to take a risk.’