Keep calm and carry on…
Scottish-born Laura has lived and worked in London for 11 years, first working for River Island as a visual display manager, and later becoming a Pilates instructor. She now runs her own Pilates and well-being studio, Shoreditch Pilates.
G: Tell us about your start-up, Shoreditch Pilates
L: I opened Shoreditch Pilates in May 2011. It’s a well-being studio which now runs regular Pilates, Yoga and meditation classes. We also have nutrition workshops, Sunday chill-out sessions, and small art exhibitions.
G: What were the biggest obstacles in launching your company, and how did you overcome them?
L: The hardest thing to do is to be patient! It takes a while to build clients and get your name out there, so you have to just keep on working hard and giving great classes so people will spread the word!
G: What would you say has been your most memorable moment since launching Shoreditch Pilates?
L: Having a picnic on the roof for all the local teachers and practitioners that we know. It’s hard to get everyone together at the same time, so it was nice to show everyone our new studio space, and the sun was shining, which is rare!
G: Can you give us a few ‘Do’s and Dont’s’ for setting up a new company?
- Do get yourself out there, talk to your potential clients and other businesses in the area – it’s the best way to spread your name and make contacts and potential leads. I still go out ‘flyering’.
- Don’t focus only on what you want for your business; you have to keep in mind what your clients/customers want
- Do be prepared for hard work. Rome wasn’t built in a day.
- Don’t work yourself into the ground! Take breaks, delegate, and be kind to your mind and body!
G: Why did you choose Shoreditch in launching your start-up?
L: I have lived in Shoreditch for the last seven years, and love it here. It’s so unique in that in one direction you have the City, and in the other the fantastic Shoreditch, resulting in a real mixture of people and cultures. I also love our location right in between the two, which means we get the best of both worlds!
G: What does the ‘Silicon Roundabout’ have to do to compete with Silicon Valley?
L: I have heard of some business groups in the area, but have never followed them up – which I should. It would be great to meet other start-ups and attend a regular meeting to support and grow business links in the area.
G: Who/what are your favourite entrepreneurs/start-ups in Shoreditch?
- Caravan, which used to be on Redchurch Street, now near Columbia Road
- Amazing Homewares and Interiors
- Comfort Station on Chesire Street – Gorgeous jewellery, of which I’m lucky to have a few pieces (thanks to massive hints to my husband!)
- Adrovuet in the Old Spitalfields Market – Cheese, wine – can’t beat it!
G: What does the future have in store for Shoreditch?
L: It feels a little like the City will take over at some point, although I hope it doesn’t become too commercial, as I love all the old and new small, unique businesses in the area. There is a great use of old buildings used to their full potential. I love the TEA building on the corner of Bethnal Green Road – it’s such a beautiful building.
232 Shoreditch High St.