From pastry to Pilates
Starting up your own business is never an easy task, from creating a business model to considering finances, and even creating a website, it’s a lot for anyone to take on. However, Hollie Grant seems to be taking it all in her stride, as a successful award winning trainer with two studios, a book, a blog, and more, Hollie Grant is unstoppable.
Having taught thousands of Pilates classes over the years, Hollie discovered the incredible benefits of including High Intensity Interval Training into her Pilates workouts, and thus her book ‘The Model Method’ was born. This has garnered attention from multiple news outlets such as The Evening standard, The Sunday times, and The Sunday telegraph, as well as having been featured in the likes of Cosmopolitan and Women’s Health. Much of the driving force behind what has led to her success is her passion to change the way women view their bodies, ‘This is my main focus and I won’t rest until it becomes the norm for women to love their bodies no matter what the size, shape or colour. The problem for me is I have so many ideas I never know which one to do first’.
What makes Hollie stand out from the crowd is instead of focusing on women’s insecurities and appearance, she encourages her clients to become healthier and happier in their bodies' performance and reminds them of the effects of mental health on their own physical health. ‘To watch clients come to us with low body confidence or self-esteem and grow into mini athletes, who love their bodies and are empowered to push themselves, makes all the 4.30am alarms worth it’.
However, it hasn’t all been smooth sailing to the top. After graduating from university with a degree in psychology, Hollie then went on to land what appeared to be a dream apprenticeship with her top-choice chef, having always wanted to become a pastry chef herself. Alas, things didn’t quite turn out as hoped, ‘The dream very quickly shattered a year later when I found myself overworked, underweight and suffering with depression. One day I just found I couldn’t bear to go back into a commercial kitchen again.'
Hollie then took this time out to reflect, ‘A friend of mine was working in a Pilates studio and mentioned they had a receptionist’s role that I should take so we could spend time together and I could get my head straight’. It seems she couldn’t have made a better decision, as within a few months she had already been promoted to studio manager, all the while her passion for Pilates was gradually growing. She then later left to complete her Pilates instructor training, before being rehired by the studio and was eventually made head trainer for many years.
Despite facing setbacks and hard times early on, Hollie serves as an example to all those out there who perhaps feel they are not in the right industry and want a change, as above all things it is important to take into consideration your health and your happiness, ‘It was amazing. I just loved the lifestyle shift. To be honest there were still long hours involved and you’re stood on your feet all day, but I knew I was going to be happy in this industry’.
Having faced many challenges and obstacles along the way, Hollie has still managed to come out on top through hard work and perseverance; ‘my personality type is that I am very driven and energetic. I grew up with not much money and my parents are both very hardworking so that rubbed off on me’. With two fabulous studios in London, one of which being in the stunning Mandarin Oriental Hotel, we wanted to know just what is it like having a studio in such an iconic location? ‘It’s just amazing. The hotel is so beautiful and is held in such high regard, plus what we have created there is so unique.’ She explains, ‘The hotel approached us almost a year ago and loved that as the owner I am a woman, our instructors are all women and that we promote performance over aesthetics.’ Hollie has even had the opportunity to teach in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Kuala Lumpur and speaks about her excitement with collaborating with the company, ‘The Mandarin Oriental are really forward thinking and that’s what makes them one of the best luxury hotel chains in the world.’ Watch this space!
Hollie’s studios have also caught the attention of quite a few famous faces, ‘Our studios are completely private, in that it is only ever yourself and the client in the room. For this reason we attract clients who can’t train in public, want to remain anonymous or are feeling a little self-conscious.’ Due to client confidentiality, Hollie can’t reveal too many names, however, Jourdan Dunn, Melissa Hemsley and Ella Mills have often been very open about their training and experience!
We know juggling all of this can’t be easy, so we wanted to know just how does Hollie do it? When it comes to motivation, Hollie states one of her biggest motivators in life is strong women, describing how she chooses to surround herself with as many strong and supportive women as possible, and doesn’t let anything stop her, ‘I grew up with a mother who taught me that you can do anything a man can do, you may just have to shout a bit louder.’ It also helps having a strong and clear message that you’re passionate about, in Hollie’s case, she is strongly against the sexist culture around dieting and women’s appearances, ‘I am constantly inspired by the women who speak out against diet-culture and sexism, and those whose aim is to inspire young girls to care more about their actions, than their appearance.’
We adore Hollie’s refreshing approach to focusing on feeling good especially considering the ever increasing pressures of social media, and luckily, she was glad to offer up as much advice as she could to anyone struggling with low self-esteem right now. The journey to loving and accepting your body all begins with respect, ‘Realise how incredible your body is for all it does each day. Understand that it doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s - it’s your body and it’s amazing. Once you start respecting your body and treating it like you would treat a friend it takes the pressure and negativity away and you might even start to notice qualities about it you hadn’t been able to see before’.
Hollie also suggests doing a major clear up of your social media feed. Seeing one too many ‘#fitspo’ posts a day? Or is that certain celebrity promoting another product that is designed to get rid of insecurities you never even knew you had? Unfollow! ‘Anyone who makes you feel anything other than awesome can be deleted’. Not only that, you can start to take other small steps to gradually improve your confidence, ‘Each day write down one compliment to yourself, for example, I have beautiful skin, or my amazing body grew my daughter’. And don’t stop there! Hollie is also firmly against punishing your body into becoming fit ‘Find an exercise style you enjoy, not dread. There is one out there for everyone’. Furthermore, she also suggests it’s time to say goodbye to diets, ‘give up diets and block any diet culture or chat from your life’, (hoorah!)
As a brand designed to encourage women to embrace their sensuality and feel good about themselves, we wanted to know what Hollie particularly loves about her favourite Bluebella pieces, ‘I am totally the target audience as the products feel luxurious without being unaffordable. Bluebella seem to get the balance just right regarding items that are a little bit daring but can easily be worn under daytime clothing without feeling too risqué.’
Tabitha Tie-Front Bra and Tie-Side Brief Set (Rose Dust) - Aside from being incredibly comfortable this bra looks beautiful under a, slightly see-through, crisp white shirt. The lace detailing is subtle, and I really love the fact it has no underwire.
Paige Kimono - This kimono is soft; the perfect length and I love that it hints as to what is underneath. Comfortable enough to wear around the home but flattering enough for special occasions.
Saffy Wired Bra and Thong (Black) - Comfortable, just the right amount of uplift, supportive and looks smooth under tight clothing. I’m wearing this a lot at the moment and there’s subtle details (such as the ribbon folds on the straps) whilst also being a good staple in my wardrobe.
Harlow Bra and thong - I love the detailing and embroidery on this set. The peekaboo style is sexy whilst still feeling feminine and it’s surprisingly comfortable, and the halter neck design is really flattering.
Anya Bra - “As I wear very tight, supportive sports bra most days I really love to wear something a little softer and more comfortable when not working. The Anya bra is perfect for this without being boring or unsupportive.”
Natalia body in black - “This body is so flattering and I love the ribbon halter-neck. The scoop back detail adds interest and the fit is just perfect”
And finally to all those budding entrepreneurs out there who are itching to get started but perhaps don’t know how, Hollie has some wisdom to pass on. Her first tip is to get as much experience as you can in the industry you want to go into, ‘I managed to practice my business out on someone else’s business, as a receptionist, manager and then instructor, and I learnt what I did and didn’t want to do, or be, as a business owner’. Her second tip is to never underestimate the value of finding a mentor or a business coach, ‘You sometimes need a personal cheerleader’. Thirdly, ‘Surround yourself with other businesswomen’, not only will this help you gain contacts, advice, and allow you to share horror stories she says, ‘you need to hear that other people have had similar challenges to you in their entrepreneurial journey’. And lastly, ‘Don’t ask your mum what she thinks of your business plan as she’ll tell you it’s great’, when venturing into the unfamiliar territory of starting a new business it’s important to get unbiased feedback, ‘You don’t want to spend thousands creating a product only to share it with the world and realise it’s not well received’.