‘It’s nice to know you’re doing exactly what you’re doing’

“I’m very proud of my community – it’s because of them that we’re recognized.”



It’s a reward

Tiffany Mason, founder of Harlem Pilates, was buzzing and could hardly stand still when I talked to her about the upcoming episode of Real Job Podcast at Gate. This is understandable when you consider that he runs an exercise studio dedicated to the movement of people and also that he has been nominated as a winner of the Make It Award.

Harlem Pilates is one of four winning businesses offering Squarespace and New York Knicks a 30,000 grant, including a one-year subscription to Squarespace, the use of selected Squarespace marketing inventory, including an annual Unfold Pro subscription, and a feature segment on the MSG network. . “It’s very exciting,” he told me, “and to be honest, I’m still processing it.”

Related: 7 Reasons Every Entrepreneur Should Start The Day With Exercise

I spoke with Mason about the introduction and growth of Harlem Pilates and got his insider tips for any entrepreneur who is going to pitch their business to competing judges or investors. Highlights of this conversation, which have been edited for length and clarity

It all started with emotion

“Before I started this business, I was an executive assistant for an advertising agency. And as much as I love my work, what I really love to do is help people. So there was a bit of a void for me. There was a lack of emotion. So I decided to try Harlem Pilates. But I didn’t just jump. I founded the company two years before I started seeing brick-and-mortar spaces. I kept my job and planned very carefully. At that time my apartment was basically a bedroom with a large closet. So I moved all my personal belongings to my closet and was going to turn the larger space into a studio. But when we had our first class in my apartment, it was like, I’m much bigger than I reduced it. That’s when I started taking it seriously. I moved a little faster with the paperwork and started looking at funding options. Then I start meeting the brick-and-mortar spaces and we’re here! “

There is a unique vision

“I definitely think being a woman of color gives me a glimpse into some of the things that black women in particular are looking for when they visit these places. But at the same time, we are available and meet all people. I am very intentional about all the little things in the studio like soap, lotion, scent, feeling, color, music. We have a very clear, minimal feeling because I have experienced places where there were pictures and I could not identify with them. That way, everyone is welcome. “

Related: Buy your own Pilates franchise

Pitching your business

“My biggest advice is to never count yourself. When I first thought about applying for the Make It Awards, I thought there was no way they would notice my small application. We had this little studio in the middle of Manhattan upstairs. By no means! But you can’t disqualify yourself. I’ve been looking for ways to finance Harlem Pilates without going into debt, and I’ve learned and tried this competition. Now, I like paperwork – that’s my strength! . “

Support around you

“The $ 30,000 award is based on the fact that Squarespace founder and CEO Anthony Casalena was lent 30,000 by his father to launch his idea. The story really resonated with me because when you have someone – a family member, friend, bank – within you When you invest and sometimes believe in what you are doing, it makes you more passionate about finding the rest. ”

Empower your business and community

“Word of mouth is the most powerful marketing tool for us. Good thing fast travel! You know, people on the side of the road who have their coffee after dropping off their kids at school might see the sign and peek at the door and then they become a client. And then they tell another parent at school about it, and then they come. It’s a lot of old school, but word of mouth has helped us tremendously. And that feeling of community building is what I plan to use the prize money for. We are going to offer scholarships for people who may face financial difficulties to access a class with little or no cost. We want them to feel empowered and to be around community members so they don’t feel so alone. “

Related: Why Casey Ho, a viral YouTube fitness video star, will never diet again

Getting results

“When our class is over, my clients get great workouts and they are kind of beaming. And I’m beaming with them and I didn’t even take classes! The power of the room is something that can’t really be explained, but it can certainly be felt. There is a lot of gratitude. There’s a lot of alignment here because it’s related to liking me just feeling like I’m doing exactly where I should be, doing exactly what I want to do. “

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