Bonnyrigg mum turns passion into business success
A mum of two who discovered a passion for Pilates as a teenage apprentice is expanding into her second exercise studio in Midlothian.
Becky Welsh launched Mind Body Midlothian in May 2019 at a studio in Bonnyrigg. And despite the business being hit with the first Covid lockdown less than a year into operations it has not only survived but is thriving.
With a lack of demand for office space, Becky (29) has now been granted planning permission to turn offices in Penicuik town centre into a second studio after the council received 13 letters of support.
And she revealed how she discovered her love of the mind-body exercise of Pilates after leaving school at 16 on a modern apprentice scheme.
The former Holy Rood High School student said: “My modern apprentice in business administration was in a Pilates studio and I decided I was not going to go into administration and wanted to teach classes instead.”
Working as a freelance teacher in Edinburgh and Midlothian, Becky started her own studio with three friends and now has 10 qualified teachers and a client list of more than 200.
She said the majority of her clients are women over the age of 40 with some who attend classes in their 70s.
Becky said: “Our classes are not about making shapes or trying to get skinny. It is about getting people to reconnect with their bodies and how they feel.
“We have around 24 classes a week and provided one-on one sessions with around 15 a week, and at weekends we host teacher training sessions.”
Some of Becky’s own clients have gone on to train as teachers in the exercise and are now among her team.
The new studio in Lamb’s Pend, Penicuik is a reality after the council granted a change of use to the space.
Becky admitted the last two years have been tough as the pandemic forced changes to the way she operated.
She said: “The first lockdown was really tough. We didn’t really want to do online classes and neither did our clients but we found a way to provide re-recorded sessions and when able began blended classes.
“People really did want to get back to face-to-face classes and when we were able to do that it was a relief and we have continued to go from strength to strength.”
In the planning application, agents for Becky said the office space in Penicuik was vacant “to the detriment” of the community and no longer in high demand.
They said: “There is currently little demand for office use in the town centre with changed working practices post Covid-19.”
And they revealed the new studio would also see her giving back, with a modern apprenticeship planned to be offered by her as one of two full-time jobs at the second studio.
Planning officers said they received 13 representations all supporting the new studio with some pointing to the benefit it would give to the mental health and physical health of the local community and others saying it would bring more passing trade to surrounding businesses.
It is hoped the new studio will be open by October.
More information on classes provided can be found at https://mindbodymidlothian.co.uk/.