Park Slope entrepreneur brings new tech-equipped Pilates studio to Cobble Hill

Marisa Fuller at Studio Pilates in Cobble hill
South Slope entrepreneur Marisa Fuller will open a new Pilates studio in Cobble Hill on June 10.
Photo by Ximena Del Cerro

A new, but already well-known, Brooklyn Pilates studio is opening in Cobble Hill. 

With two-and-a-half successful years in business in South Slope under her belt, Marisa Fuller is ready to bring Studio Pilates to Pacific Street this Saturday, June 10. 

After working in advertising for 20 years, always looking for fitness exercises to do after work instead of always going to a bar or a party as an outlet, Fuller received some news that made her question a few principles of her life. Her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, and she found out she too had the BRCA breast cancer gene that could lead to her developing the disease.

“When I got the blood results back, it was a punch in the stomach,” said Fuller. “Even though I knew I was going to test positive, it was still really hard to hear those words, ‘Yes you have it,’ and right then and there I was like, ‘Okay, I’m gonna take control of my life,’ and I did all preventative surgeries. Then I asked myself, ‘What makes me happy? What can I do that’s gonna make me feel fulfilled and how to make sure that I’m staying healthy?”

About one in two adults in the U.S. don’t get enough aerobic physical activity, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Annual health care costs related to low physical activity add up to $177 billion.

“I just needed to have a purpose,” Fuller said.

Fuller didn’t have any experience running her own business. Even now, she flinches at the sound of the word entrepreneur, but she wanted to turn her life around. Now her Park Slope location receives 700 visits a week over 60 classes. The clientele’s ages range between 20 and late 70s. 

“I realized I was going to be the only one that was going to make myself happy,” she said “I got my computer out and started looking for franchises and, with Pilates, I just always felt well.”

Pilates is a series of exercises inspired by yoga and ballet. It promotes mobility and strength of all the major muscle groups in the body with a focus on the deep core muscles, and can be done on reformers — exercising tables with springs to pull from — but it rarely works an area of the body to the point of exhaustion.  

Pilates studio
Fuller and her team carefully designed the studio, and classes are welcoming and inclusive to all students.Photo by Ximena Del Cerro

“You can do so much,” Fuller said. “When I incorporated Pilates in my workouts, I saw such a quick difference in my body. Especially, as I’ve gotten older, some of my injuries from running or any other type of exercises that were just not going away, I felt those issues I was experiencing, started to subside.” 

The studio is equipped with screens overhead so that exercisers can follow the routines and see clearly how to perform each move laying on their backs, while instructors  walk around and give them individual attention. 

From the ground up, Fuller and her team designed the new space to be completely practical and exciting — when it’s time for class to begin, the french doors to the studio swing open to unveil the space. They carefully considered the aesthetics of the space so people can enjoy the view of chandeliers hanging from double-height ceilings while they’re on the reformers. 

“Anytime someone comes in for the first workouts and orientation workout, I gift them a little goody welcoming bag,” Fuller said. “I wanted to make it special. Those little extra details go a long way.”

Fuller also taught herself how to use Canva, the digital design tool, to create her own Pilates-inspired apparel line, over the Covid-19 pandemic, and received orders from overseas. 

“I had never learned what wholesale meant before,” Fuller said. “I had to learn what margins were. I never knew any of these aspects of running a business that actually helped me a lot once my South Slope studio was able to open.” 

At Studio Pilates, she has formed a community. The first workout is offered for free. After a few sessions, she learns all her clients’ names and she is always looking to hire staff who are passionate about making a career in wellness. 

“When you walk through the doors, everyone’s embraced,” Fuller said. “We are inclusive. We make it very flexible for people who come in to find whatever works for them. It’s not about age. It’s not about the size or shape of your body, it’s not about your gender. Everyone has something going on for themselves so we really do tailor our every workout for them.”