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A Conversation With… Cassandre Mugnier, Founder Of Reformation Pilates

The Paris-based Pilates guru tells us how she swapped her office job for entrepreneurship

Cassandre Mugnier is the founder of Reformation Pilates, a studio that opened in the heart of the upper Marais in Paris in 2017. Offering a range of classes that use both Reformer and Tower machines, the studio promises inspiring and addictive workouts that aim to strengthen, tone and stretch the muscles thereby transforming the body. We caught up with Cassandre to learn more about her infectious passion for Pilates, and to find out how she balances business and pleasure.

© Cassandre Mugnier | Reformation Pilates

Q: Where did the inspiration to open your own studio come from?

A: I opened Reformation in November 2017, one year after moving back to Paris from New York. When I was living in New York, I was practicing Pilates every other day and loved the energy and the vibe of the classes. I realized there was nothing quite like that in Paris. The reputation of Pilates was sort of old fashioned and I couldn’t find a space where I would happily go on a regular basis to get a great workout, in a sexy and friendly environment. That’s why I decided to create Reformation.

Q: Why do you think Reformer Pilates was slow to emerge in France?

A: I think the image of Pilates in France is outdated and people don’t necessarily see it as a ‘real’ workout… yet! Plus, the whole fitness scene in general has been slow to emerge in France. Things are changing though, and there is a real need for innovative and effective workouts set within a great environment.

Q: What were you doing before this?

A: I was working for a digital marketing agency first in Paris and then moved to New York to open an office there. It was a great experience and I met amazing people, but I have been active my whole life (I grew up in a ski resort in the French Alps) and at some point I just could not envision my whole life being spent behind a desk. I felt the urge to do something different and to start my own project.

Q: What does it mean for you to be an entrepreneur?

A: I mostly enjoy the feeling of creating something new and building something from the ground up. It is still very early days for me as the studio has been open for less than a year but I love the challenges and the freedom—to define your own rules, to create a different work environment, etc.—that goes with running your own business.

Q: Who designed your studio?

A: My sister! She is an architect and we worked together hand in hand to build this place. I had something very specific in mind as I wanted to create a space where people would feel comfortable hanging out before or after the class. The whole experience is designed to offer complete peace of mind: the music, the light, the check-in at the front desk, etc.

Q: As the busy founder of your own business, how do you switch off? What do you do to make your life more mindful?

A: I am very strict about keeping a healthy balance between my work life and my private life. To recharge my batteries, I make sure I spend as much time as I can with the people I love and to always have an exciting project to look forward to—I’m a bit of a control freak to be honest—whether it’s a play, a trip, or a night out with my friends. Knowing that I have these events planned helps me stay focused on my work when I have to put in long hours.

Q: If you’re not teaching class, or at your desk, where can we find you?

A: With the people I love: on a terrace catching some sun, trying new restaurants in Paris, travelling, or at home in the Alps with my family.

Q: What do you think about the times we live in, in particular the pace of life today?

A: We have probably never had as much free time as we do at this moment in time, and still it always feels like we’re running out of it. So many options, so many requests - it’s hard to stay committed to one thing. But at the end of the day, I think this is a great problem to have: better to have too many options than not enough. It’s up to each one of us to ask ourselves the right questions and to make the right decisions about how we want to allocate the time that we do have.

Q: Aside from Pilates, what else do you do to exercise?

A: I run to get some cardio, spend time outdoors and to clear my head. I also ski during the winter, I dive whenever I have a chance and I try to stay active as much as possible every day.

Q: Do you have a specific diet that you follow? Gluten-free, vegan, etc.?

A: Not really. I love food and I try to eat healthily but I don’t drive myself crazy about it. I want food to be a pleasure so I try to listen to my body and to give it what it needs. And that’s it!

Q: Finally, can you tell us what your favourite piece is of Ernest Leoty clothing?

It would have to be the Ilona Bodysuit. So elegant and classy.

Ilona Bodysuit in navy/teal, £250, Ernest Leoty | 175 Rue du Temple, 75003 Paris, +33 1 48 04 73 15

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