Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and fitness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Sarah Shell, Owner of Shell Shape Fitness, located in Ojai, CA, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Shell Shape Fitness is a boutique Pilates studio that offers small group and private reformer sessions, as well as group mat, dance cardio, and rebounder classes. We work with all ages but mostly with people who are looking for a fun and challenging, full-body workout! We love playing loud music and having fun while challenging our bodies in the best way!

Tell us about yourself

I started as a dancer and have always incorporated Pilates into my dance warm-up. I have never been injured, and I really believe Pilates is the reason why. I taught Pilates in Los Angeles for many years, but it wasn’t until moving to Ojai that I decided to start my own business. I noticed a lack of challenging workouts in Ojai, and there were no young people in Pilates! I had just had my two babies and was ready to get my body back in shape, but I couldn’t find a place to do that. That’s when I decided to start my own studio where classes are fun but challenging! A full body toning, sculpting workout set to really good music. I also wanted to offer some cardio classes to get your heart rate up and your blood pumping! Ojai has such a strong community, so to see everyone come back week after week and to see their moods lift and their bodies progress is really what keeps me going!

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Shell Shape Fitness is coming up on our fifth anniversary of being open, and we are thriving and still having fun! I’m just very proud that I’ve built a place that people like coming to week after week and that it makes them feel better!

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?

Finding a balance between being a mom and running a business has been the biggest challenge for me. Adding other instructors into the mix has been a huge help and has given me back my weekends with my kids.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

What’s helped me is, making sure it’s really something you love to do (teaching). Ask for help on the things you don’t love to do (website, accounting stuff), and take baby steps.

I started with one reformer to see if I could get some clients. After some time, I had so many clients I added another reformer to the mix. Now I have 4, and I’m ordering 2 more! But making sure I needed them before doing a blind purchase was helpful.

Where can people find you and your business?


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