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Inspiring Conversations with Karen Wilder of Wilder Pilates

Today we’d like to introduce you to Karen Wilder. 

Hi Karen, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
I started out in the fitness business teaching step aerobics because a teacher quit and the gym needed an instructor. I was also working as a pharmacist in the hospital at the time. I was introduced to Pilates and really enjoyed it plus it helped strengthen my core which helped with an old lower back injury. I taught mat Pilates for many years then took the leap into my formal Pilates training back in 2010. I have done many trainings, workshops, and certifications over the years but most recently finished the Creme de la Creme of Pilates training. It took over 2 years and many hours of being and old-fashioned apprenticeship (I stopped counting at 1200 hours) but it was totally worth it. I worked for a few studios and large gyms early on but came to realize I wanted to go on my own so in 2013 I started teaching out of my home. In 2015 I moved to a brick and mortar and have been in the same location since. I haven’t worked as a pharmacist for a few years now because I wanted to devote myself to Pilates full-time. I have 2 other wonderful Pilates instructors that also teach in the studio and we are very blessed to have such a wonderful community of clients. COVID has definitely added challenges to owning a small business but we believe in what we do and we are building strong bodies for life. It is my mission to empower people to realize that getting older doesn’t mean you can’t be strong! 

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
There are always struggles! The daily grind can be enough some days to make you wonder what your life’s mission is! Raising 3 kids while opening my studio and a husband that is a surgeon makes for an interesting and busy life, not to mention the cats and a dog! On a more serious note, though, my mama passed away this past April and she was my rock. She had been through so much, 3 cancers over 33 years. She was one tough farm girl and I’d like to think I have some of her grit in me to never give up hope! It’s my superpower! 

As you know, we’re big fans of Wilder Pilates. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about the brand?
We specialize in Pilates! While other studios teach a multitude of fitness formats, we focus on what we do best and that is Pilates! We also specialize in teaching privates, duets, and semi-private small groups. (4 people). We do not teach large classes because we believe you cannot maintain integrity in the work teaching to the masses. We offer a more hands-on, attention to detail approach so the client reaps ALL the benefits Pilates has to offer. We recently started offering Trio sessions, a maximum of 3 clients and this has been popular because it’s small enough that you can use multiple pieces of equipment, yet save a little money if private sessions are in your budget. We have in recent months; made a switch in equipment we use in the studio. We use Gratz and Pilates Designs equipment. Both of these brands are world-renowned for being truly classical equipment. And yes, there really is a difference. You need to personally experience it to understand it! We love it and so do our clients! 

We offer an Introductory Package to all new clients in the studio, it’s 3 private sessions for $210. We want clients to be successful and be safe when they are just starting out and we require a minimum of 3 privates for all new clients in the studio. 

Who else deserves credit in your story?
I have 2 wonderful teachers in the studio. Julie is my right-hand man (woman actually!) and we teach side by side on the daily. Amy is a ray of sunshine and covers the evenings. I’m very fortunate to have them with me. My family has been so supportive during my entrepreneurial journey. Pharmacy school does not teach any business training so owning my business has definitely been a learning experience! They have stood by me and supported me. The kids think I’m crazy sometimes and hubby, well, let’s just say he has good ears and strong shoulders when I’m needing to lean on him. I wouldn’t have had the courage to jump into studio ownership without my family, including my mama. 

Lastly, my clients are my cheerleaders! They believe in me, they support me. They keep me in business! They mean the world to me. I’m very thankful for them. 

Contact Info:

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Image Credits
Rachel Witt

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