Fayth Caruso is a choreographer, performer, teacher, and entrepreneur. She currently serves as the education director for bellicon usa, an international fitness company specializing in mini-trampolines, and is a co-founder of bellicon Home, an international online video fitness platform, and bellicon Studio, the first bellicon rebounding heath and fitness studio in the United States. We chatted with Fayth to learn a bit more about the bellicon experience and community.

Tell us about your background. How did you come to own and operate a studio?

I started out as a professional dancer and choreographer in New York City. Throughout my career several injuries brought me to practice Pilates, where I trained to become a Certifying Instructor Trainer. I moved to Chicago and opened a Pilates and fitness studio which I had for several years. One of our most popular classes was rebounding on the bellicon mini-trampoline. I found this to be a unique niche in the market and an opportunity opened up to partner with bellicon in opening the first official bellicon studio in the country, which is how I came to co-own bellicon Studio today.

What makes bellicon Studio unique?

bellicon Studio is the country’s first studio which holds classes exclusively on the bellicon mini-trampoline. We offer several different class styles including bellicon Move, bellicon Bounce, bellicon Circle, SwissJump®, and private bounce parties and corporate bounce events. Each class experience is driven by the music and the personality of the trainer to create a unique journey for all.

What has changed about your practice over time?

I’ve found that lately, many of us are often so busy that carving out both money and time to workout is becoming a bit of a luxury. For this reason, I aim to make the experience unique and memorable before, during, and after class. Small details like how the room smells and what the floor feels like all make a huge difference in experience. I’m inspired by the “Ah ha” moments with guests at the studio – those moments where they “find their posture,” release tension in their body, and are able to enjoy their movement experience fully and be in the moment. For my personal wellness practice, I’ve learned it’s not just about what I put into the 45 to 60-minute class time that’s important, but rather the message that I take home with me. I strive to create this experience where our guests can become lost in the moment and forget that they are exercising – much like we did as children. I hope clients take away a feeling of time well-spent, a fit body, and a relaxed mind.

What’s the most important thing you look for in an instructor?

Authenticity, energy, and the desire to always be a student and continue training. As a studio owner I strive to practice the same qualities and find continuing a movement practice and teaching practice is incredibly important to stay connected to the trainers and community. I look for instructors to do the same. Strong communication skills are also a must.

What questions do you ask yourself when adding new class types, workshops, or retail?

I always ask the guests when adding anything new. I try to send out surveys but more importantly to be there in person to hear the “studio buzz” and what guests are looking for. I find the timing of the new class or workshop and how it’s marketed to be key in adding new additions. Oftentimes we have taken the exact same class but marketed it in different ways and found success just by altering the marketing strategies.

How do you build or foster community at your studio?

We strive to make the experience well rounded from entrance to exit. Building our community starts first and foremost with our team so we often start there with training classes and teambuilding get-togethers. Simple acts like learning guest names, injuries, and goals create a strong community bond. We also host community events in the space, corporate wellness classes, and private parties. We welcome any local event we can get involved in that inspires people to get moving! Although having media exposure and online exposure to bloggers brings many new faces in our doors, we have found word-of-mouth marketing brings the guests that ultimately end up being the most loyal.

What advice do you wish you’d had when you first started out as a business owner?

Everything takes at least 6-12 months longer then you would expect. Location, timing, and your team are everything. New businesses can be stressful so working efficiently and prioritizing time to find balance in your personal life is key to be able to function as a healthy and effective leader.