For the fourth anniversary of Session Pilates, founder Brittany Grignon was planning to open a fourth location of her hyper-local, music-driven studio. But the week before she was set to sign a lease, Covid-19 arrived in the United States, and her attention understandably shifted elsewhere.
“Immediately my mindset went to: How we were going to stay connected to our clients? And then, how do we take care of our team financially? So we hit the ground running and got the [email protected] platform up in just a few days,” Grignon says. “Our clients responded to it really well, which was such a relief, but full disclosure: we didn’t know what the hell we were doing.”
The platform launched on March 18, and during the months following—ones Grignon and the Session team would have spent preparing the fourth brick-and-mortar studio—proved the digital extension to be an equal boon to the Pilates brand, and an unexpected game changer.
To mark Session’s fourth anniversary (which officially lands on Saturday, August 29), [email protected] is launching once again; this time with a full makeover.
“This year’s new studio just happens to be virtual,” Grignon adds. “We’ve reopened our studios and are feeling better about managing life with Covid-19. It feels really good to be able to take a step back and be like, ‘All right, let’s take time to do this platform right, and give our clients the quality they deserve.’”
[email protected], which officially launches today, is in stark contrast to its thrown together predecessor. The picture is crystal clear, with seamless intros and upgraded sound quality. Both mat and reformer Pilates are organized by body part. Short, focused videos (ranging from eight to 20 minutes) can be searched by instructor. New content is posted weekly instead of every other Monday, and the price has decreased: $30 a month (the equivalent of a drop-in class) instead of $45.
Users can also bookmark their favorite workout, which just might include one filmed all the way back in March. “We’ve kept every video we’ve ever done on there,” Grignon adds. “I wanted people to be able to see that progress; the real story of [email protected]”
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Spreading the Dallas Pilates Gospel
The original plan for studio expansion focused on the suburbia surrounding Dallas, but the reach of Session’s virtual workouts, aided by influencers and advertising on social media, could prompt the team to change course.
“We have subscriptions all the way from London to LA, Miami, New York, and Nashville. That was something I didn’t expect,” Grignon says. “The plan has always been to keep growing, so it’s been eye-opening to understand the reach that this tool could have. If we really take off in a community somewhere, it’s like, OK let’s go cultivate and grow with that.”
A Pleasant Change of Plans
Grignon, who is also preparing for the birth of her first child, is a self described “brick-and-mortar girl.” And while the pandemic has forced some studio owners to develop their digital component quicker than they had planned, [email protected]—useful business tool it may be—would never have happened at all if it weren’t for the events of 2020.
“I’m a face-to-face kind of person. That’s always been my MO I guess. But I’ve really come to enjoy film day,” Grignon says. “There’s something to be said about getting in the studio and knocking out six workouts back-to-back. You’re slightly delirious, but at the same time you’re like, ‘Yes.’”
PaperCity readers looking to try [email protected] can use the code “PaperCity50” (through September 30) for 50 percent off their first month, which they’ll be charged for after a seven-day free trial.