1. Tell us your story of how your company got to where it is today?
Fitness Design Solutions, LLC is a functional fitness movement education experience offering Pilates, Yoga and Massage Therapy. I work with desk dwellers in desperate need of posture rehab, courageous survivors working through treatment and recovery from cancer, and people who want to look better, feel better, and live stronger if they could just get moving! The only problem is you are in pain, hate to exercise, or don’t know where to start. That is where I can help.
The studio was founded as a LLC in 2007 and the doors to the first 550 square foot studio opened to Pilates and Yoga clients in March 2008. At that time, I was a certified Pilates teacher and a 200-hour RYT (registered yoga teacher). Early in my Pilates career many clients recovering from cancer of several types were coming to see me. As a result, I sought out additional training and became a Cancer Exercise Specialist. Little did I know the influence this work would have on my own personal health journey later. In my client work I was seeing a gap that was limiting the improvement some clients were seeing in their movement. I became a Licensed Massage Therapist in the fall of 2015 to better address muscular imbalances to get people moving again more quickly.
In February of 2017 the studio moved to our new location in Ashburn, a 1650 sq foot space with separate spaces for the Pilates equipment studio, Restorative Yoga nook and Massage Therapy treatment room. The studio is fully furnished with a full suite of professional studio grade Pilates apparatus; Cadillac, 2 reformer/towers, 2 chairs, 2 core aligns, Avalon arc barrel, Avalon Chair and box; yoga bolsters, blocks, chairs and other props for restorative yoga; and a massage table.
2. What would it mean to you and your company to win a Small Business Award?
Winning a Small Business Award this year would not only be an honor, it would help to further elevate my brand. Personally, it would validate that no matter what challenges you are facing, showing up every day to the best of your ability, being positive, continuing to support clients on their journey even when your own journey is throwing you curve balls is how to be. Being a finalist this year after a year of battling cancer is already a tremendous honor and humbling recognition for staying the business course in the face of adversity.
3. If you weren’t running your own business/working at this business, what would you be doing?
Prior to starting my business, I was a Technical Project Manager in the software development field. The work I do now helps people physically feel better. Being able to do that within my own business also enables me to volunteer in the community more. I cannot imagine doing anything else.
4. What book are you reading right now? / What is your favorite book?
I am currently reading The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion. I am an avid reader. I am not sure I can choose just one. We have shelves of books, even in this digital age, I love the feel of a real book.
5. If you have 24-hours off, and your family was out of town, what would you do?
In general, I might read a book, knit, watch a movie my husband is not interested in, or hang out with my dogs. We moved recently so I think my next chunk of free time will be spent painting my mud room and hanging some hooks and shelves in preparation for winter coats and gear.
6. What is the smallest thing that has made the largest impact on your business?
Five years ago, I was working a full-time job and running my business as a side job. I was traveling and working more than 40 hours in my full-time job and seeing 15 hours or more of clients. I said something had to give. My now husband looked at me and said, “and it should not be the thing you do that is helping people move and feel better.” He was seeing my clients when they left sessions feeling better then when they arrived. That encouragement propelled me forward to commit fully to my business. I left my “day job” 6 months later and have not looked back.
7. What did you want to be when you grew up as a child? / What was a childhood dream that you had?
I wanted to be an astronaut. Which is a little silly because as a kid I was always better at English and History then I was at Math and Science. As an adult I love science and use it all the time in my work.
8. Who is the one person that has influenced you the most in your career?
My Dad. Both my parents modeled working hard, getting an education and balancing it all out with having fun. But I remember one day as a kid being frustrated with a part time job I had. My dad looked at me and said, “If you don’t like it change it or quit, complaining about it is not going to get you anywhere.” I have never forgotten that advice.
9. What is your favorite thing about running a business in Loudoun County?
My favorite thing about running a business in Loudoun County is the diverse community of people I work with.
10. If you’re not in the office where can we find you?
If I am not in the office you can find me volunteering as the Head Coach for the Girls on the Run Catoctin Elementary school team, helping on the planning team for the 2018 Relay for Life Loudoun event, or working with the amazing team of people planning the Loudoun Free Clinics premiere event this fall. Or I might be out with my husband and dogs on our local trail hoping for a bald eagle sighting and counting the deer we spot on the island. Or maybe on a cruise. Taking time away a few times a year where electronics are shelved and email can wait is super important in our house.
11. What is your favorite weekend activity in Loudoun County?
My husband and I can regularly be found on a Friday night catching dinner and a movie at the Alamo Drafthouse in One Loudoun.