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14th Mar 2016

Meet the Mumpreneur: Pilates Guru Naomh Kirwan

Katie Mythen-Lynch

Naomh Kirwan opened The Pilates Movement in Dun Laoghaire last year. She and her partner Gary Nethaway, also a Pilates pro, live in Sandyford, Dublin with Ava (8) and Bella (15 months).

“The five words that sum up my business? It’s all about the exhale!

The business was born in June 2015 when we were brought in to take over a Pilates studio. Since then we have become owners and gained two more floors .

We live our values with our clients every day. We don’t just train people to make them fit, we work with them to deliver what they need. Everyone is different and we really care about that. We are not about the quick fix and provide a range of movement classes complemented by body treatments and services, all under one roof, in a beautiful setting by the sea.

The business has evolved so much and still has so much more to go. We started with one floor, which we renovated to make into two studios (one mat and one reformer studio), and now we have three floors. We recognised that the world is changing fast and we are responding to that, evolving our business model with our business partner. The first stage of that is to unify the building and our services under one brand to offer something quite unique to clients, but I can’t give too much away right now because we are doing something different!

The tipping point, the moment I knew the business was going to be a success, was when all the classes filled up so soon after we had taken over. We had to add more classes immediately and all with out any advertising at all.

The one thing I wish I’d known before opening is the importance of having the right staff and support from the start. Employing key personnel helps you bring your ideas to life. There is so much support out there for new businesses, so make sure you do your homework about grants and mentors

Working for yourself allows you to bring together everything you’ve learned from working with others and do it your way. You can pretty much set your own working times (even though at the start it’s seven days a week!) you get to work with the people you love and employ people you know are going to be good for your business.  For me the best part is you can watch your dreams grow.

We have always had an au pair. There is no other way we could do it, it’s great for the girls and great for us as we also get time to go out together, even if it’s just to a movie. Also our working hours are so all over the place nothing else would be an option. We sometimes leave the house at 6am.

The drawback of working of yourself is that you never switch off. If you’re not there, your team is calling you with things that need to be sorted out. Only you can do it. You have to be constantly evolving and changing – as well as making sure you have enough money to pay everyone.

I would encourage my own kids to be entrepreneurs, but I hope they come to me for advice first! I think making mistakes is so important but wouldn’t want them making big ones.

I have had a failed business in the past. Now I have a successful one. I hope I have learned from my mistakes – now I never underestimate the amount of work I have to do to steer the ship. My advice to other wannabe entrepreneurs would be to follow your gut. I know it sounds like a cliche but don’t listen to to many people, it will confuse you and your business. Make sure you have a really good business plan and really clear about where you want your business going. Understand your brand and your ethos and make sure your staff subscribe to both. Also, always come from a mindful place and take care of your staff because they are on the front line.