Clara Baini is the founder of Good Day Pilates, a boutique Pilates studio in Soho, Manhattan. Clara is a trained physical therapist from Australia who moved to New York to teach Pilates. After one year of living in New York City, she decided to open her own studio, which combines New York’s energy with a friendly Australian culture.
Join us for our Power Thread event at Good Day Pilates this Sunday 1/26.
Clara, where did you grow up, and where did your interest in Pilates start?
I grew up in Melbourne, Australia. As a kid, I was a competitive swimmer, so strength training and injury prevention were a big part of my life. I became a Physical Therapist because of my love of sports and working with people. As a Physical Therapist, you learn to work with all different types of people with a wide range of injuries from professional athletes to the elderly – this made me able to adapt well as a teacher and therapist. I became a Pilates teacher in Australia through my Physical Therapy as they often go hand in hand. I then trained to become a yoga instructor to link mindfulness with movement and enjoy using all of my knowledge together to make meaningful changes in people’s lives.
Why do you love physical therapy and teaching Pilates?
I love the ability to connect with so many different people and make meaningful changes in their lives. This began with being a Physical Therapist in Australia and has now translated to my Pilates teaching.
When did you move to New York?
I came on a trip here with my partner probably three years ago and fell in love with New York. That’s when we decided we wanted to move here.
What inspired you to move to New York?
The vibe, the energy, the people. When you walk around New York there’s a constant buzz.
Why did you open your own Pilates studio?
After I moved here, I went to a lot of fitness studios. They all felt fast-paced and a little transactional. I wanted to start something that felt grounded and calming. A place where people could connect and get to know each other. We have such an awesome community at Good Day, it’s all about the people. I want our clients to be able to learn how to move better so that they can feel better, that’s amazing.
What makes Good Day Pilates classes unique?
All of our classes are designed with intelligence and grounded in Physical Therapy principles whilst still being challenging to build strength and endurance. You may be doing squats with a kettlebell, and we will explain to you why they are important for functional movements in everyday life. Through these classes we have created a friendly, welcoming, community space. People come here who are really invested in their own health and wellness.
Did you start with just yourself or did you hire a team?
I started with myself and four other teachers as well as awesome admin staff. I like to go with the flow a little and be flexible to respond to the feedback of clients in terms of adding classes or changing the schedule.
Where did the name Good Day come from?
I was just walking down West Broadway one day and it came to me. I knew it was it. It connects to my Australian background. It also has a literal sense. It’s not obvious, which is what I like. It’s subtle.
What does it mean for you to be powerful?
For me, it’s being able to connect with new people. I really thrive off of the energy of others, which is great for working in the health and wellness industry.
What’s the biggest challenge you have faced?
Being overseas and starting a business. I had no idea about the logistics of starting a business. There were so many little things that I hadn’t thought about. I am lucky to have a great support network over here, including the amazing Australian community in New York, which really stepped up to help.
What did you learn from these challenges?
That community and the people you surround yourself with are everything!
Do you have any products you love that make you feel powerful?
I very much live in my activewear and my favorite is Outdoor Voices. I love the values of the company and the OV team in New York was very supportive through the launch of Good Day. We continue to work closely with them through events and classes at their stores and at our studio.
I’m a big fan of Aesop products, which we stock in the studio, including their essential oils and deodorant.
As a studio and personally, there is a strong focus on sustainability. We use Huskee cups for water and tea, sustainable Sure Project foam rollers and massage balls, and Who Gives A Crap toilet paper.