Meet Our Favourite SoLmates, Peaches Pilates Founders Tori Clapham & Bec Chidiac

by Rebecca Veksler on August 07, 2020

Over the course of the last few months, the majority of us had looked to at-home alternatives for fitness solutions, when gyms closed its doors due to the impact of COVID-19.

Thankfully, our Solmates at Peaches Pilates have the perfect solution. Their monthly subscription means you get access to a bank of online fitness videos,  ranging from equipment-free options to using minimal equipment, such as a chair or 1-3kg dumbbells. The ladies have kindly also provided Solcups readers a free 14-day trial! Here's a direct redemption link, and the promo code is SOLCUPS (duh!)

Before founding Solcups, I was a personal trainer and am a huge advocate for keeping healthy, both physically and mentally, so naturally, health and fitness is extremely important to me. I personally recommend Peaches Pilates. My favorite thing about their sessions is that they are super fun and easy to follow, and it motivates me to do them every day. 

Here, I sat down (maintaining a safe distance of course) with the founders  - Tori and Bec - to hear about their origin story, how COVID has impacted their business, and how they keep motivated whilst maintaining a sustainable lifestyle.

Solcups: Tell us a little bit about peaches pilates and the team behind it. 

Peaches: Peaches Pilates started on the living room floor of founder Tori's apartment. Clients would turn up at 6 am in the dark to work out with Tori in her small 2 bedroom apartment in Bondi. Two at a time. Obviously this wasn't sustainable and Tori found a small space to rent at the back of a spin class studio. The clients continued to turn up. Her customer list grew quickly and she decided to formally rent a small space on Bondi Rd with just enough room for 8 mats. More clients began to turn up at 6 am in the dark. 
Fast forward 4 years and Peaches Pilates now employs nearly 20 people - including Tori's husband Chris and business partner Bec (who was one of her first clients) -  in 3 locations across Sydney with more on the horizon (COVID has stalled the new locations a little). In addition to this, Peaches Online has helped thousands of women in over 30 countries around the world improve their physical and mental wellbeing.
Peaches has a relentless focus on community and holistic health, they do not focus on an image or the number on the scales but on support for their clients and an unwavering desire to make everyone the brand touches feel amazing. In fact, their mission statement is to MPFFA - Make People Feel F**king Awesome. Every class, whether in studio or online feels exactly like those first classes on Tori's living room floor. Everyone is welcome - no judgments ever - the fitness industry can be a vapid and pretentious place but Peaches is a place where anyone can feel at home.

Solcups: How has the business overcome COVID...What have you done to innovate? 

Peaches: With our studios having to close from March - June, our only option was to shift all our energy towards our online program. In the first 3 weeks of the lockdown, we were lucky enough to experience record sales, with our online platform users reaching several thousand, in over 32 countries! In addition to this, we were suddenly live streaming 6 classes a day - something we had never done before - and this allowed us to keep around 70% of our studio members on board and also attracted a whole new range of clients from Tasmania, WA and all over the world.

Obviously there was something to this online stuff so we have now combined our live streams and pre-recorded videos along with recipes and a range of other benefits into a brand new online platform hosted on Vimeo OTT. Our biggest note for small business owners here is that customer service prevails above all - if you treat your customers right whether there's a pandemic or not they will look after you in return. 

Peaches is based on community more than anything, and that has kept us alive through this whole thing. We literally had clients rejoin our studios so they could support us during the pandemic - even though they were closed. They wanted to make sure we were still there when the world opened up again. And because we have such a great team of dedicated people we were able to jump on new opportunities and get our instructors live streaming from their living rooms within 24 hours of our studio closures.  We made sure all our studio and online clients had flexible options with their class credits; we were happy to refund, transfer, pause, or gift them whatever they needed to stay with us. 

Solcups: I know I can spend some days sitting down in front of the laptop from 9-5. 
I personally love to do one of your online sessions at lunchtime to get the blood flowing, can you give us some tips on how to keep motivated while working from home?

Peaches: Each month, we release two new challenges for our clients to enjoy - this is a great way to stay accountable and motivated. You can tick off the workouts as you go, which feels oh-so-satisfying!

One of the best things about our online classes is that they DON'T drag on. They range from 15-30 minutes, so they're the perfect pick me up - but they pack a punch. Doing 3-4 sessions a week will get you great results if you're consistent! Our challenges this month are a 7 Day Booty Camp and a 14 Day Pilates Challenge!

Solcups: What are 3 rituals you live by every day?

Good Mood Guarantee: Waking up and thinking how grateful we are just to be alive, to live in such a safe and beautiful country, and to have loved ones.
Good Energy Guarantee: COFFEE! In our Sol Cups, of course! Honestly, one of the best parts of the day is taking the time to enjoy the ritual of a coffee in the morning, knowing that you have the whole day ahead of you feels so great.
Good Sleep Guarantee: A beautiful dinner that is made with love and fresh ingredients - followed by a dose of magnesium powder before jumping into a hot shower then straight to bed. We find putting our phone on airplane mode after setting our alarm to be a really handy thing too - no temptation to check your phone when you should be winding down/reading/enjoying pillow talk/actually sleeping!

Solcups and Peaches Pilates

Solcups: How does Peaches Studios stay sustainable and what makes you a Solmate?

Peaches: At Peaches have water dispensers but no disposable cups - clients must bring their own water bottles. Our cleaning products are made on-site then stored in glass bottles, and our business really creates very little waste indeed. The studios basically have none - apart from some of the necessary COVID cleaning things like paper towels (we had to replace our hand towels for the time being) and disinfectant wipes.

Our online program has been a little harder to stay sustainable, but we have been careful to take measures like sending the equipment out in 'Hero' posting packs, reusing packaging like bubble wrap of paper, and enuring our sliding discs are not individually wrapped (this took a long and jolted conversation with our supplier - and has resulted in every shipment having scratched items up the top and bottom of the boxes, but we can happily use them in our studios).

One thing we are admittedly struggling with is the pilates balls we sell, unfortunately, they need to be in a plastic sleeve otherwise they stick together and become unusable. However, we have pledged to try to work with our suppliers on finding a more Earth Friendly solution, such as a corn-derived sleeve. The thing to remember about being environmentally conscious is that no one is going to be perfect. If we all do the best we can, then we have the opportunity to set an example for others and continue to aim to improve our behavior as consumers.

It's important not to judge when it comes to sustainability - the person you see with a plastic bag might have been composting for 5 years and been using Sol Cups for another 3 - we need to trust that everyone has their own story, and sometimes you get caught out - but will always aim to do better.

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