Meet Cat Webb.
Pilates instructor turned entrepreneur. Following the opening of her studio, Good Times Pilates, Cat tells us what it's like to be her own boss and how she stays motivated to show up with a smile everyday. From self love to business advice, she covers it all!
Tell us a bit about yourself and your pilates journey. How did you get started?
I started doing pilates four years ago. Previous to that I hadn’t done any exercise whatsoever in my entire life. It totally changed me. I became obsessed with it and would go every day. It changed my body, it changed my outlook on life. Since then, I’ve had this huge journey of self-discovery through teaching people and becoming connected to the people I teach. Also, learning to understand that it’s not just about pilates. It’s about the connection with the humans that come into the studio and the students I teach and share with. That journey has taken a really long time and it’s still continuing.
What is your pilates philosophy?
My philosophy is to empower people and to make self-efficient movers. The way I teach is by focusing on skill development, so I’m teaching them skills they can take outside the studio as well. They’re not just coming in to workout, they’re coming in to learn to move better in daily life. If I were only concerned with teaching them for the fifty minutes, they’re not really learning anything; they’re not getting that continual growth and understanding of their own body. I teach people skills in a way that they don’t even realise they’re learning, so they become self-efficient and can apply what they learn elsewhere too.
What is your favourite part about pilates?
My favourite part is seeing growth and learning. When I see somebody getting it, that is exactly why I teach. You see that lightbulb moment and that’s it, that’s what drives me to keep going.
At what point when you were teaching did you realise you wanted to open your own studio?
It was around February last year. My friend Laura, who owns Rise Pilates, opened her studio and I thought well, I can do this! I have something that I really want to focus on and share with everybody, so I moved back in with my parents, saved a lot of money, and ended up owning my own studio!
Tell us about the name of your studio - Good Times Pilates:
The name is a little bit tongue in cheek. I wanted to create a space that I wanted to go and work out in. Pilates can be a very serious form of movement. People think there are a lot of rules, regulations, and certain ways you have to do things. That’s why I wanted to open a studio that was a community space, where people were included and welcome. I love seeing everybody walk through the door with a smile on their face before they even start class. That’s what the name Good Times was meant to be about, it’s about having fun and making connections with other people.
In what ways did you want your studio to be different than others?
I wanted to really focus on that community type of vibe. When we’re all having a class it’s like we’re all having a chat, everybody’s laughing. It’s the opposite of every man for himself. People come in and make friends, you talk to the person on the reformer next to you. That’s what I really wanted to make different to the other spaces. To have somewhere where you can try things and give things a go, and know there’s no right or wrong way. Everybody’s empowered and encouraged to give it a shot and do their version of things. Everybody’s bodies work slightly differently, so I encourage people to explore movement and just have fun with it.
What do you say to people who have never been to pilates when they come to your studio?
Usually when someone comes in for the first time they say, “Oh, I’m not going to be very good,” or “I don’t know how to do this,” so I try to encourage them in a way they feel relaxed and at home. That’s the whole idea of the space, making people feel relaxed. I encourage them by telling them it’s okay and that we’re all just doing our best. When I’m teaching I do things wrong all the time, I say the wrong thing or set the wrong spring, but in the end I own it and encourage people to allow themselves to be vulnerable in the same way. I encourage them to be relaxed and tell them you can’t do it wrong, you just have to try.
What was the most surprising thing about opening your own studio? Were you surprised by the amount of work it took?
I wasn’t too surprised because I sort of expected the hard stuff. It’s different now because I don’t want to leave, I find myself just hanging around! It’s hard to disconnect because I want to be here all the time. Taking the time to put the phone down or not think about the studio for a moment, that’s the hard part. It’s always in the back of my mind, so disconnecting can be a challenge, but you just have to do it and not get stuck in your own head.
Do you have any business goals?
My goals change day to day. I really just want to focus on what I’m doing right now and hopefully the next steps will reveal themselves further down the track.
Do you have advice for people who want to start their own business?
My advice would be to talk to as many people as possible. I built this place with my dad. We used all of his friends and all of my friends to do it. I’ve got so many friends that own their own businesses and studios, so I was able to ask them questions. I also used to bounce ideas off people that aren’t in my industry. When I first opened, I got friends of mine that are architects or working in hospitality to come into the space and tell me what they thought. I asked them if the space made sense, if it flowed properly, if it felt nice or had the right vibe. My advice is to just ask a lot of questions and get a lot of advice from different people, not just people in your industry.
What’s your biggest inspiration?
I have lots of different inspirations for different reasons. I would say one of my biggest inspirations is my friend Anula, who runs Sixth Street Pilates in New York. She inspires me because she goes to different workshop all around the world. She really knows how to empower self-efficient movers and teach people in a way that gets rid of all of the nitty-gritty stuff and just gets people to move. Her philosophy is that she makes good old people. It’s not just about pilates, it’s about giving you the skills to move and feel better.
How do you stay motivated?
I stay motivated by talking to a lot of different people, I have a lot of friends in the industry, so I stay motivated by seeing what they’re up to. Also, just chatting with the people that come through the door and becoming friends with them. They’re not just my students or my clients, they’re my friends. I stay motivated by wanting to show up for them everyday, being accountable to other people. Creatively motivated is where I struggle a little bit, especially after opening a studio and flirting with the exhaustion of all of it. The creativity comes from going to other classes, watching Pilates Anytime, and following people on Instagram.
What do you love about activewear?
I worked in the fashion industry for eight years before I started in pilates, but I never worked out so I had no activewear. Now I live in it! Days that I don’t wear activewear are very rare. I like it because you can eat what you want and it holds you in. Your pants grow with you! I’m a big believer in self love no matter what size you are. I love activewear because it's comfortable. It makes me feel good because I love the way I am in and out of it.
Catch up with Cat on Instagram at @catwebb.pilates
& stay up to date with her studio at @goodtimespilates