Business

Women in business: Meet Chloe de Winter, founder of Go Chlo Pilates

Women in business: Meet Chloe de Winter, founder of Go Chlo Pilates

For some, the pandemic has been damaging and full of setbacks. For others, it has been completely transformative – a catalyst for the kind of positive change unimaginable.

Chloe de Winter is one such person that has experienced the latter, a change she describes as “amazing”.

She was working as a physiotherapist and Pilates instructor in New York, United States before travelling home to Melbourne, Australia to visit family in March 2020. While she was in Melbourne, the COVID-19 pandemic was unfolding and countries across the world were closing their borders.

Her US employer emailed her to let her know that the studio she had been working at was closed and that she was temporarily unemployed. She never returned to New York.

Stuck at home during lockdown, de Winter decided to offer a Pilates class via Zoom and invited her friends and people in her network to join the class. Sixty people signed up.

Following the success of the first class, she did more, and also put Pilates workout videos on YouTube.

“Even at that stage, I never imagined it would turn into a full-time career. It was very much something I could make a little bit of money from while I see how the pandemic plays out. As the months went on and the business started to take a bit more shape, I realised that this could actually be a full-time thing and I could make a pretty good income from it. It has evolved a lot since then,” she said.

By December 2020, she launched what is now known as Go Chlo Pilates, an on-demand subscription-based platform that offers physio-led Pilates classes to people based anywhere in the world.

Meet Chloe de Winter, founder of Go Chlo Pilates

Deciding to go ‘all-in’ on her business

Even though she had no plan and admits her business had “very organic beginnings”, de Winter was gaining traction with her classes on Zoom and YouTube, and she thought she could do more.

“Offering on-demand classes really came from my clients and community asking for help and encouraging me to do more,” she said.

“In May 2020, my employer in the US asked me to return to work and I had to reassess and recognise that I had an opportunity. I realised I wanted to go all-in on my own business.”

It was at this time that de Winter formalised her business, and while she had plenty of support from people around her to get it up and going, she describes starting her business as “the steepest learning curve” of her career.

“There are endless things to consider when you start a business and it was really overwhelming at the time, but I think I just took it step by step. People were so kind and supportive, and understood that I was just one person and very new to this world,” said de Winter.

She had to create a website and an email list, as well as a lot of content so there would be a comprehensive library of video classes available to subscribers when they signed up to the platform. But she also wanted to offer fresh content on a regular basis, so she decided to upload five new classes to the platform every week.

While that structure has changed, it offered a great foundation from which de Winter could evolve her Pilates business.

She has now shifted to a structured timetable of classes which offers members more guidance and includes a weekly plan of strength training followed by a recovery class.

In the coming months, de Winter plans to release more challenges to keep members motivated, as well as a physio inspired series to target specific ailments and injuries.

Meet Chloe de Winter, founder of Go Chlo Pilates

The importance of physio-led Pilates

When de Winter was working as a physiotherapist, she saw how powerful Pilates can be as a form of healing, from a clinical and medical perspective, and in helping people to rehabilitate from injuries.

“I saw the power that it can have in preventing future injuries… like helping the older generation to build strength and reduce the risk of fractures through building strong bones.

“I saw the effect it could have on people dealing with jobs with lots of heavy lifting and load on their back by building their functional strength through their glutes, hips and core, and how that can help them do their jobs better.

“My style of teaching is definitely rooted in that clinical knowledge. I try to infuse my classes with that anatomical knowledge and that clinical understanding of the body and what people need.”

De Winter said she also tries to educate people a lot through her classes so they can better understand why they are doing certain exercises and the benefits involved.

“People respond really well to that. I think people respond so much better to exercise when they understand why they’re doing it and how it’s helping them. It’s empowering to a lot of clients to get that understanding,” she said.

Meet Chloe de Winter, founder of Go Chlo Pilates

Lessons learned in business

While it’s true that de Winter has experienced swift success and rapid growth in her business, she admits she has certainly had her ups and downs.

“You have some good days where there are big wins, and you have days when things just don’t work. You’ve just got to go with it, accept it, and move on. And you can’t really dwell on these things,” she said.

She has also learned that running a business doesn’t necessarily mean more work-life balance.

“When I first started, some people would say working for yourself that you’d have more freedom and flexibility. And while it’s true, I could be more flexible and work less hours, but it doesn’t happen like that because when you’re not doing the work, the work doesn’t get done. When it’s your business and you care so deeply about it, you work much harder at it.

“I really am so motivated to make it the best it can be. That means I work weekends, and start work at 7am or 7.30am in the morning. I love it, but it’s a lot of work.”

Despite the challenges of starting a business from scratch, one of the best aspects of the journey has been having the opportunity to create partnerships and relationships with people, businesses and brands, said de Winter.

“I’m now part of this extended founder community and everyone is so incredible and supportive, and it was something that I didn’t even know existed before being in this world. It’s been such a supportive community and that has been really lovely.”

 

Anyone interested in signing up to Go Chlo Pilates can do so via subscription at gochlopilates.com

Sharon Green, editor

Sharon Green

https://shedefined.com.au/author/sharon

Sharon Green is the founding editor of SHE DEFINED.

An experienced journalist and editor, Sharon has worked in mainstream media in Australia and the United Kingdom.

Forever in search of a publication that confronted the real issues faced by modern women, Sharon decided to create her own.