TPJ Boutique Studio of the year 2023: Emerald Pilates

Di Dall'Oglio, Emerald Pilates

Di Dall'Oglio, Emerald Pilates

PAA member, Di Dall’Oglio gives us a behind the scenes look at her business and studio Emerald Pilates winner of TPJ Boutique Studio of the year.

Recently, my business, Emerald Pilates, won one of The Pilates Journal Awards –Boutique Studio of the year. My staff and I are honoured to receive this award – we are so grateful.

My husband Mark, completed the application, so it was a great surprise to receive an email from CJ of The Pilates Journal in late January reading:

.. I am delighted to extend our heartfelt congratulations to you for being awarded the prestigious title of Boutique Studio of the Year! Your outstanding contributions to the Pilates community have not gone unnoticed, and we are thrilled to recognise your dedication and excellence in the field.


Here is a summary of the Emerald Pilates journey!

We founded in November 2015 with a home-based studio, then opened in August 2016 in a commercial space that we purchased in our self-managed super fund – with 4 Reformers, 1 Caddy; 1 barrel; 1 chair, some small apparatus including Mats, and a ballet barre.

Staff were simply me, and 2 other colleagues/qualified Pilates teachers.  It was fun building a business from the ground up – being a one-woman-band – I taught 50 classes per week; plus, all the administrative roles required, and cleaning.

Fast forward to 2024 – where we now have 2 studios in Emerald – one that offers services of studio Pilates and private lessons; the other offers Reformer Pilates; Mat Pilates, Yoga; and Barre. We have 7 Diploma qualified staff working at the studios – between us, we offer 70 classes per week – 54 on our timetable, then many privates/duos’ etc.

I also offer Pilates teacher training – I partner with Tensegrity Training and deliver Certificate IV, Diploma and Group Reformer Courses. I have been doing this since 2018.


Some things that set us apart – lets look at what we DON’T do….

  • Specials – the price is the price – so many reasons for this, and the mentality of offering specials needs to just stop. Let the gyms continue to do this. We are unique, and its about time we advocated this for ourselves.
  • Free trials/introductory offers. Adding more to the above point – we do not follow the model of a franchised Pilates studio. We offer an outstanding service with quality apparatus and qualified staff – that is our point of difference – we don’t need to entice people with a free class/offer.
  • Tik Toc/social media advertising
  • Email marketing/salesy conversations.


What we DO:

  • We are open every day.
  • We offer lots of classes.
  • We work dam hard.
  • We answer the phone/ or call back promptly and offer good old fashioned, have a chat service.
  • Accept all kinds of payments and bookings – making it easier for our clients to book.
  • Know all our clients’ dogs’ names. Trivial things are not trivial things.
  • Have champagne classes when anyone over 70 has a birthday.
  • Encourage positive conversation only in the studio – at times, clients are attached to their injuries/concerns with their body, and this can hold them back – we have special ways of negotiating these conversations – this can be for another article another time though.
  • Following the above point – some clients bring their personal troubles to class, and this can bring others down… we also have unique ways of handling this.
  • Have staff dinners/lunches every 2nd My shout.
  • Celebrate after every class – acknowledge their efforts, ethic and commitment to their health and life, and how this is simply, but massively – awesome.


Emerald Pilates has wonderful clients, and I am sure I share with all other Pilates teachers the joy of seeing how Pilates improves and changes lives. Keeps us young. Vital. Energetic. Abundant. Patient. Calm. HAPPY. So many other wonderful things. Isn’t it just the most satisfying work!!!

It is still fun, and I love working hard. I know I need to get better at many things, including spending more time on the administrative part of my business – however teaching classes, being with my clients and staff have ensured the success of Emerald Pilates – and this is the space I am sitting in for now.

The cool things about my business and how we got there:


Owning vs Renting commercial space

  • It started with running Pilates from home, into purchasing a commercial space in our self-managed super fund – I was the tenant, and the landlord – financially, this is an excellent way to set up a business – and gives peace of mind that the rent pays off the premises. Pilates teachers/business owners grind at times to make our businesses work – knowing that I will eventually own the space makes the grind worthwhile and enjoyable. It feels abundant, not scarce, and we bring this energy into the studio.


Staff and Pilates teacher training

  • When I opened, I quickly realised that I needed more staff – I advertised, and was presented with a bunch of lovely potentials, however, their standard was not up to how I had been taught (by Rachel Wilson and Chris Isaac from the Intelligent Body/APMA Level 2 course) – I took them on, but found I was teaching them more than they had formally learnt – I decided I needed to become a Pilates teacher trainer, and to cut a long story short – I am now lucky to have a partnership with Tensegrity Training, and run the Pilates teacher training courses.
  • After delivering the Pilates teacher training to some outstanding students, who were keen to work at Emerald Pilates, I had adequate staff who had a high quality of Pilates education – this enabled me to expand into 2 studios. These new recruits already knew the clients and systems at Emerald Pilates, so the process of induction and employment for these students was seamless.


Expansion/Asset building

  • Growing from 1 studio to 2 – in 2021, we realized that we were running out of space, there was too much manual handling for all the changes required to the studio for the different services we provided, eg, moving all the apparatus to create floor space for Mat, Yoga and Barre was physically hard. We had more clients and more classes – a space was available to rent, so I grabbed it!
  • We then divided our services into the 2 spaces we had – that were literally 22 steps apart – one for Reformer/Barre/Mat and Yoga: the other into Studio/Clinical.
  • In May 2023, a 2nd commercial space – even closer to my original studio! became available for purchase, so I snapped this up quickly.


Onboarding clients/Client Retention/Full Classes

We use Mindbody as a way clients can book into classes, however, many of our clients prefer us to book them in – they outsource this to us. If they cannot attend, they simply let me know in writing via email or SMS. We have taught our clients how to follow this etiquette – this happens during their onboarding/induction process.

The onboarding process for our clients includes an introduction to the studios, finding out their goals/reasons for wanting to do Pilates, and any injuries/concerns with their body.

The initial session goes for one hour and about half that time is spent going over studio Policies/Etiquette and getting the client booked into the classes. We prefer to work with our client 2-3 times per week.

Prior to the client coming in, we will have a conversation, so I often have lots of information prior to meeting them in person.

I always take the initial session – this is so the clients get to meet the owner of the business and realize how passionate I am about their Pilates journey. They also learn that I run a serious business/have a very strong work ethic and that Emerald Pilates is a high standard and quality studio – with high quality clients. I clearly explain our 24-hour cancellation policy.

Our prices are reasonable – reflective of the demographic of where we are located. Prices are cheaper for clients when we make the booking for them, rather than if they use the MBO app – despite this being more administrative work for us, it gives me control over the bookings and ensures I spend time in the space of “full classes” – the abundance side of my business.

I do not outsource this important role – it’s vital that I do this- it is a way I can always be on top of my “numbers” in my business. I can celebrate often and feel good about my business – 40% classes are fully booked out; 40% are at approx. 85% capacity, and other classes have spaces available for new clients, so they are not discouraged if they see “waitlist” or hear “we are full”.

I get to spend at least one hour per week teaching each client, then about 10 minutes of administrative/follow up time.

If clients cannot get into a class – we simply add more on the timetable – we have 2 studios, and 6 other qualified teachers ready and willing to work. I pay the staff well – $60 per class plus super.

It is very easy for us to teach our clients, as they attend often, and are in the same class each week. Some clients have been in the same class, for 8 years!

Our prices discourage attendance of just one class per week – we find that these clients are not often retained, as they don’t have enough opportunity to feel the effects of Pilates in their body and mind.

Treating people well/theory of abundance.

We deliver tailored classes to the needs of all our clients, and we treat them like VIP’s – because they are, and not in that “cringey/fake/salesy” way.  We know loads about them due to their regular attendance.

Staff are paid treated well. Communication is the key and keep all of them up to date. We have dinners/catch ups every 2 months and I always pay. If I hold a meeting, I pay them to attend. They are like gold to me, and I treat them as such.

We make everyone welcome – there is a hanging poster in my studio – it has images of a variety of birds, and the wording is “every birdy welcome” – which is the same as “every BODY welcome”.

This is our motto/our mantra.



I look after myself. I mediate, go to yoga, and run. We have 3 children, our youngest is 17 – we have horses, and we all surf. I go on a good holiday every year, sometimes for learning purposes, but also for adventure, stimulation, and fun.

My energy, physical, mental, and emotional health is vital to the success of my business. I protect this – it is my greatest asset. I listen to podcasts and read widely. I love learning.

I have decided I will never stop – why would I when I love it so much?

Comments are closed.