No one said starting a business was easy, especially during Covid. But challenging times are often followed by opportunities. Kaitlyn Rhoades and Casey Green are two entrepreneurs who were extremely active their whole lives but suffered from injuries and were looking for ways to recover.
Katilyn was a professional ballet dancer before her injury. “I left the stage with a torn labrum. My hip was shattered.” She was frustrated by her physical therapist’s recommendations and thought getting back into pilates would be the only way to rebuild her strength.
“I had been doing pilates since I was ten through ballet, so I knew what needed to be done to heal. I knew what needed to rest and what muscles needed to work.” Kaitlyn went on to start her own studio 3 years later
Casey also found pilates through an injury. “I got into a really bad car accident. I was basically imobile from the back pain. I played sports my whole life and was used to being the strongest person in class. Now I couldn’t move, soo my PT recommended Kaitlyn’s studio.” Casey wasn’t as familiar with pilates but was open to trying anything to feel better.
“I played sports my whole life and I thought pilates was for dancers. But in trying it out I realized no one ever taught you how to move in sports. No one taught you why you are lifting weights or how long you should be stretching. Pilates showed me that.” Within 3 months of going to classes at Kaitlyn’s studio, Casey’s back pain was basically non-existent.
Kaitlyn and Casey grew very close in the following years. Casey was going to classes about 5 times a week as Kaitlyn’s studio was growing. Kaitlyn loved having Casey in class. “Casey is just this amazing ray of light. Anytime I saw that Casey was on the roster I knew it would be such a good night. You just wanted her to be in the studio because She always made everyone laugh, she made people comfortable.”
The two grew even closer when Casey became president of a women’s group similar to YWA in San Francisco. “I was dealing with so many things and managing this board and Kaitlyn gave me such sound advice. She had much more experience managing people and she helped me navigate this new role.”
Kaitlyn recalls her first experiences managing people. “I became a business owner at 26, and the hardest part was that everyone I was hiring was older than me. Or if they were younger, they had no experience. This was my first time managing anyone, so I was not good at it yet.” Both Kaitlyn and Casey shared how difficult it can be to manage different personalities, but they have grown comfortable and confident with that skill now.
In March of 2020, Kaitlyn started training Casey to teach pilates at the studio…and covid hit. The studio was closed for months when Kaitlyn’s husband got an opportunity to move to Texas for work. Casey thought about taking over the studio, but covid was still in its height with no signs of slowing down. They decided to close the brick and mortar, and it worked out for the best because six months after Kaitlyn left SF, Casey moved to Austin.
When both women were in Texas, they started doing pilates together again. Kaitlyn had started the online platform “The Pilates Reformation” to offer pilates classes to anyone in the world. Casey offered to be a teacher on the platform, but Kaitlyn suggested they co-own the business instead. “I knew I wanted someone to do this with me because it’s way more fun to do it with a friend. But honestly I view Casey as a sister now.”
They began recording dozens of pilates videos. They tried different cameras, microphones, angles, and equipment. They made videos for people who have been doing pilates their whole lives and for people who had never tried it before. They made videos for people with injuries, for prenatal women and can totally customize their classes. “The Pilates Reformation is personalized attention for $30 a month” Casey states. “We both had to customize our workouts for so long due to injuries, we wanted to make sure anyone can get what they wanted out of our classes.”
When asked what types of people they think their business is a good fit for, Kaitlyn says “The person who thinks they can’t. We’ve all been that scared person at one point in life. We want to empower those people.”
Owning a business can be an incredibly fulfilling experience. There are also perks like having a flexible schedule, working with people you like, and building something you are passionate about. However, even though you have that flexibility, successful entrepreneurs often work more than 40 hours a week, have to learn interpersonal skills every day, and spend most of their time working on the not so fun part of the business.
Casey has definitely felt the stress as an entrepreneur: “Owning a business is freaking hard! You always see the numbers, you see the ups and downs, it’s so hard to convince people to be on your platform.” Founders are responsible for every aspect of their business and sometimes there isn’t an easy solution when things get hard. Great entrepreneurs keep trying even when there isn’t an obvious answer or next step. They get back up when they are down and don’t give up when times get tough.
Kaitlyn finds optimism in hard times by thinking about times when it has been even harder. “Everyday is just a new challenge. Hard things don’t seem as bad when you’ve been able to do it for so long.” Everyday brings new challenges, but these women are ready to face them and continue growing their business together.
Kaitlyn and Casey are growing their team and recently hired another YWA member, Chloe Thies, to manage their social media. “It’s great to work with women who really support each other. That’s why I love YWA.”
You can support Casey & Kaitlyn and The Pilates Reformation by signing up for their online platform or attending their events!
sign up for The Pilates Reformation Online Platform
YWA members get a one week free trial!
Puppies and Pilates Event, Saturday February 12th
ATX water doodles, ethical doodle breeders in Austin, will bring puppies available for adoption! There will also be snacks from Nutrition 512.
Use code, ATX for 20% off
The Pilates Reformation Miraval Retreat, August 5th-8th
A long weekend filled with sound baths, pilates twice a day, and spa access – The ultimate way to unplug! Even you’re phone gets a sleeping bag
Sign Up, here.