Why did you get into Pilates and Yoga?
I have a background in dance and danced from the age of 2 and a half up to 22 but I suffered a lot of injuries and quite often ended up in the Pilates studio at my dance college. I then started working in a gym. Around that time Pilates became something you could teach so I decided to take the qualification as it was familiar to me from my background in dance. I have been teaching for 25 years and Yoga has been my past time for 16 years. It was always something I wanted to do for myself. I’m lucky enough to have a business where I can do what I love to do as my job and my pastime.
When did you first open the doors of Hummingbirds in Chelmsford?
I originally opened a little studio which only had room for 4 mats, that was 13 years ago. Eventually that became The Hummingbird Centre around 9 years ago. The studio that I now have with my business partner Ellie has been open for 6 years and we rebranded ourselves to Hummingbird Pilates & Yoga 3 years ago.
What made you choose to open your studio at Reeds Farm?
Well I always had a small studio which had parking in the town centre and this is where I met Ellie. She originally attended my classes and is a physio. She then went on to train as a Pilates teacher rented a treatment room from me to set up her own private physio practise called Stretch. Ellie and I had a chat about our future and as we worked well together we decided to go into partnership. That way we could have a better studio. Literally after having that conversation we found the empty barn at Reeds Farm and after a bit of negotiating with them they converted it into what you can see now which is a pretty amazing space with ample free parking.
What is it you love about what you do there?
Number one because it’s my own business and I prefer being my own boss. A lot of people choose to do something to make a lot of money and they don’t really enjoy what they do where as I get to do what I love. I would do Pilates and Yoga if I had a job working somewhere else as it’s my lifestyle. Most days we are helping to change people’s lives, whether that be a client wanting to enjoy going to Download Festival without back pain right through to people who are rehabilitating from knee and hip replacements. Then we have people who run marathons, want to improve their bodies and feel better about themselves. We also help people getting over depression via yoga and meditation. Most of my staff have been clients and I think that really shows how great it is to work there.
So from that I expect your classes are unisex?
Yes. We have male and female teachers and we also have a men’s pilates class which is very popular. Ellie has a mixed physio team too, one guy and three girls do the sports and holistic massage.
Can people pop in on a pay as you go basis or do they need membership?
We have ‘pay as you go’ class passes or contracts just like a mobile phone. You can drop in but we prefer people to commit and make it part of their lifestyle. We have a fully up to date online booking system with an app which is free to download on apple and google play. People can book from their phones, their desk or computer, they don’t have to ring up and wait for someone to answer the phone. They can just book themselves in, cancel themselves, pay online. This leaves us free to organise everything. And obviously the more you come the cheaper it is. If you are fully committed to coming membership is cheaper. We just had someone sign up for a year’s unlimited membership as for them that was the cheapest option.
So finally what is the future for Hummingbird Pilates and Yoga?
Well we really want Hummingbirds to be part of people’s lifestyle, a community, not just an exercise class they feel they have to do to keep fit, lose weight or follow their doctor’s orders. As to the future we have just opened a Hummingbird Lifestyle Store. Here we sell yoga gear so you can buy the clothing and healthy food. Everything we do considers the environment, eco, sustainability and supports local business. So in the future our aim is to open another eco friendly studio in the city. People will be able to chill out there, eat healthy food, do their classes and everything except sleep there. In fact you can sleep if you do Yoga Nidra which is yogic sleep lol. We are now having lots of people coming in giving talks, this month we even have a book signing. We don’t just have workshops about yoga and pilates we have a range of talks on clean eating, self-love, positive mindset, that kind of stuff. Ellie and I also give talks and we are both writing articles for magazines, blogs and a book is on its way.
Thanks Kellie you are a great example of a thriving local business that cares about people and encourages them to enjoy a healthier and more satisfying lifestyle.
Member since: 2nd April 2013
Hi I'm Tom Bosher
I run thebestofchelmsford and am passionate about helping the independent businesses in Chelmsford thrive and achieve their goals.