For Muse Pilates founder Allana Frisken, it’s been a whirlwind few years.
Opening her first studio in 2019 in Dulwich Hill, New South Wales after falling in love with reformer Pilates and wanting to create a sanctuary for others to feel empowered by their workouts, the entrepreneur, business coach, and mum to two adorable children now owns a staggering 10 studios – and she’s not slowing down. While she might be based in Newcastle with her family, Canberra has quickly become Allana’s second home, having opened three beautiful Pilates studios across Kingston, Dickson, and Woden in 2022.
So, ahead of the exciting opening of a fourth Muse Pilates studio in Campbell, we sat down to chat with Allana about success, self-love, and the growth of Muse Pilates – including how one lucky Canberran can own a Muse studio for themselves.
Falling in love with reformer Pilates after undergoing knee surgery and experiencing complications that saw one of her quads deteriorate from nerve damage, Allana says she started Muse Pilates to create a studio that reflects what she loves – an aesthetically pleasing space that is not only functional for Pilates but also inclusive for clients.
“I was living in Sydney at the time, and I was going to a few different studios, but I didn’t find anything I absolutely loved,” she says.
“I love beautiful things but there was nothing aesthetically pleasing. But I also didn’t find anything that was really inclusive…I just thought it could be done better.”
Creating a series of luxurious studios where the instructors are committed to making everyone feel welcomed and comfortable, Muse Pilates was born – and the Muse effect spread across New South Wales, seeing seven studios open in quick succession. And with each opening, Allana began to shake up the Pilates industry with her focus on self-love.
To her, healthy minds equal happy bodies.
“I just wanted to do something different with the spaces. People are so busy, and we live in such a stressful and fast-paced environment, and I just thought that we could make these studios really beautiful and really serene – somewhere that people enjoy being,” she explains.
“We’re here because we want to encourage people to be well, keep moving, and just get the most out of life. It’s completely different from a lot of other places that are focused on calories burnt and what you look like – lots of people love those places and there’s nothing against them whatsoever. They have their place, but I did not want Muse to be like that…what we’ve created is resonating with people.”
Focusing on the functional wellness of Pilates – like how it’s allowed Allana to recover her strength and run around after her children post-knee surgery – the magic of Muse is its ethos of getting the most out of life.
Recently announced as a finalist in the 2023 Australian Young Entrepreneur Awards for the fitness category, Allana is incredibly proud of everything she has achieved so far and has plenty of plans for the future.
“When I heard I was a finalist, I was shocked, to be honest. I like to throw my name in the ring for all sorts of things and you’re never quite sure what level other people are going to be at,” she says.
“I just felt I was really proud of what the team has created, how many people the business reaches, and how it affects their day-to-day life and their wellbeing.”
With the winner set to be announced on Saturday 25 November at a special ceremony, Allana credits the success of Muse to her dedication to inclusivity and diversity. And as she prepares to launch Spicy Pilates – online reformer Pilates instructor training – in 2024 and turns her focus to franchising Muse Pilates, she won’t be slowing down anytime soon.
“People just absolutely love Muse and love the community. I think that’s why we’ve been able to spread Muse so quickly,” says Allana.
“People are just keen for it, and I love that people love Muse in Canberra. I want to keep spreading that love.”
On the growth of Muse
Thrilled to be opening a fourth location inCanberra, as the yet-to-be-announced opening of Muse Campbell creeps closer, Allana is searching for a like-minded Pilates lover to join the Muse family.
Now franchising the brand, the hope is that a local will buy the stunning new studio and help Allana continue to make Muse the special place it is – and to her, the stunning Campbell location is the ideal spot to kick everything off.
Perfect for someone who is thinking about opening a business or getting into the Pilates industry, with Allana leading the way (and guiding you with everything from how many classes to hold to how to employ instructors), she says the benefits are that you’ll be walking into an established brand that’s well known and loved for its kickass workouts and amazing community.
Still focusing on real Pilates for real people, the new location will continue to carry Allana’s belief that when busy people take the time to attend a Muse reformer Pilates class, it should be a positive experience on every level.
“We’ve done the trial and error ourselves over the years and we know what works. I think if someone is interested, they wouldn’t have to go through that – they’ll just be able to come into an established brand and use all of our nuts and bolts to get started,” says Allana.
“I’m really excited about everything that’s happening…there’s so much work that the team and I put into the back end of Muse so I’m excited to see it come to fruition.”
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