Ali Hall was originally from Thomasville and grew up in a pre-professional ballet company in South Georgia when she said she had severe lower back and hip pain in high school.
“I had been through a lot of different physical therapies and nothing really worked. And it got to a point where I couldn’t get through a day of school because I was in so much pain, “Hall said.
As a last-ditch effort to get rid of the pain, she finally saw a new physiotherapist who also happened to be practicing Pilates. She was pain free within a month.
Pilates is a low impact exercise founded by Joseph Pilates. He built his strength through physical fitness, which focused on strengthening muscles and realigning posture after suffering from various medical conditions as a child.
A journey to success
Hall said she originally planned to go to the University of Georgia and study exercise science, possibly go to physical therapy school, and then go back and work for either the Pilates studio her mentor owned or one of the studios Owning a franchise in another city.
Hall’s plan changed completely when she cut ties with her mentor after realizing they disagreed and that her vision and mission for Pilates did not match that of her previous studio.
“It was like a little push into the shallow end without jumping straight into the deep end,” Hall said. “And looking back, as a child, I always liked leadership roles and the like. And you know, is that the little girl who was called bossy all along? “
But starting a journey to start a business is not an easy task. Hall said while her family and friends supported her, they still did not fully understand the pressures and stresses she was facing. She said entrepreneurship can be “really, really lonely” and “very isolating at times”.
Challenges as an entrepreneur
“I think my age and the fact that I’m a woman … I feel like I have to fight extra hard to be taken seriously at times,” said Hall.
She said she felt like people looked down on her because she was college age and constantly had to prove that she had legitimate plans for a business. She also faced a lack of support from her former mentor, who is also a woman.
“I think it kind of hurts worse to come from another woman because you expect there to be support and there wasn’t,” Hall said.
Hall said this and the loneliness she faced as an entrepreneur led her to seek entrepreneurship collectives in Athens. She is a member of the Southern Coterie and Athens Chamber of Commerce and is currently researching business coaching groups with other women.
This is how Hall met Hannah Groseclose, another entrepreneur who owns Hinge Creative Co., a branding and graphic design company. Groseclose said she went to Hall’s Pilates studio and took classes, but didn’t officially meet her until they both went to a women’s business seminar for her business coach.
“I would say friends, but I also feel like she’s almost like a little sister, so I guess you could say being a mentor,” said Groseclose. “She’s so wise beyond her years that I feel like she really isn’t much younger than me. I think she plays a big role in trying to encourage all women entrepreneurs. “
Beginning of pure equilibrium
“The doors kept opening and I just kept walking through them. And before I knew it, I had a stationary room, ”Hall said.
Pure Balance was officially opened on September 18, 2018. The Pilates studio offers three different courses at different times. The philosophy behind the name is to find a balance between mind, body and spirit, Hall said. She said the studio embodies this by trying to change the mindset of its clients to make it clear to them that “their worth has nothing to do with their weight”. She said she hoped to actively fight diet culture in the studio’s future.
Hall said she was still struggling to maintain balance in her life. She said she had a history of dieting culture and struggling with eating disorders. While she is now in recovery, she still occasionally manages the thoughts and thought-shifts that return. Physically, she also has difficulty finding time to rest because exercise is her job.
“It’s that mixture of grace when I think, ‘Okay, I really need to rest, I just can’t do it today.’ And that’s okay. It doesn’t make me any less of a Pilates teacher, ”Hall said.
At a recent conference on female entrepreneurship, Hall shared her love for the color teal – the color of the Pure Balance logo and the studio’s main ceilings – with a woman.
“She stopped me halfway and said,” You are your color, “Hall said.” You are strong, empowering and also very calm. “