Business Owner, Pilates Teacher / Good Times Pilates
There’s just something about Cat Webb. Firstly, this glittering human is a wonderous Pilates instructor. Secondly she is 100% honest and inclusive in her approach, but probably the most addictive trait to this wonder woman is her authenticity.
Melbourne born and bred, Cat wanted to be a singer when she was younger. She was utterly consumed with music, creating music, singing, dancing and making playlists (a woman after my own heart), but alas her path took her down a different route.
Cat graduated with the Certificate IV in Pilates in 2015, and the Diploma of Clinical Pilates in 2016. After working full-time as a Pilates instructor for 3 years, in 2018 she opened Good Times Pilates in Melbourne’s Fitzroy.
In this interview Cat share her thoughts on high school, working life and why she started her own business. It’s SO good, enjoy!
Where you grew up and how your experience shaped the person you are, and the career that you are in today?
I grew up in the outer suburbs of Melbourne, the eldest of three girls our dad owned and ran (still does) his own business and growing up my mum worked as cabin crew for ANSETT (for 14 years until the went bust). My parents always worked, hard and it was my dad who actually gave me the idea and courage to do my own thing. My career prior to Pilates was in fashion; office management, account management, wholesale agent, styling, retail management – all of which I never really felt at home doing. At 27 I took my first Pilates class (having really not been into exercise or fitness at all prior) and I knew I’d found something that got me excited, something that felt meaningful.
When you were a young girl what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a Singer, like Kylie or Tina Arena. I was consumed with music, creating music, singing, dancing, making playlists (which back then meant recording songs from the radio on tape) watching rage and MTV. I was part of the Johnny Young Talent School and performed at competitions in shopping centres and recorded myself singing to send to agents and everything. I loved performing and making people feel something through music.
Where did you go to High School and how was that experience for you?
I went to an all-girls Catholic College in Kew, Melbourne. Living in the outer suburbs and having a pretty sheltered childhood, I longed to feel independence and connection to something bigger, so high school gave me a taste of that. I was not scholarly, PE and RE where the subjects where I would always have period pain and go nap in the sick bay. My experience at high school was pretty good day to day, we were all pretty supportive of one another and I generally felt safe to be myself. Only looking back can I see how my high school years is where I really learnt that the patriarchy runs supreme.
Did your high school play an important role in helping you choose your further education and future career?
Throughout my time in high school I never knew what I wanted to do with my life or career, to me, high school was more about the social experience than education. I took all of the creative subjects because I enjoyed them, and I assumed I’d end up in some kind of creative further education and career. Studying art and history lead me to the notion of research and development which is essential to business development. Understanding the history of culture and human experience (which is the study of art and history) is important when creating something new. So, there definitely are things and methods I learnt which help me today.
Did you complete any internships or work experience placements in high school? Tell us about that experience.
Yes! The place where I undertook my year 10 work experience is the company I ended up working in for 5 years from the age of 20. My family friend owned the business in the rag trade specialising in denim and I was always into fashion as an outlet for creative expression. When I did my work experience there wasn’t one particular division within the business I was interested in, but I really liked the family-like culture they had. After realising further study wasn’t for me, I worked there full-time from the age of 20 as their Office Manager and Receptionist, I grew my career within the company and left as Wrangler Account Manager for Victoria and Tasmania when I was 26.
Did you go to College, University, Tafe or another equivalent? Take us through the courses that you studied and why you chose them?
When I first left school I had no idea what I wanted to do. I thought I’d found my thing in Interior Design – it was the perfect mix of creative and practical. I got into Interior Decoration and Design at RMIT (which back then was a TAFE course). I really enjoyed the course and learnt a lot from it, but after about a year I knew it wasn’t my thing. That’s when my family friend offered me the full-time Reception position and I jumped on it!
After some fashion career blows and struggles I started a Diploma of Business (Public Relation) at Swinburne in 2012, thinking I wanted a change of course. My plan was to do the Diploma for 1 year, then side step into the Bachelor of Communications for years 2 and 3. My plan was to specialise in Fashion PR, business and communications.
Again, after a moment of not knowing what to do and finally finding something that I was really passionate about, I began my Certificate IV in Pilates and Fitness in 2014 at Breathe Education and after teaching Pilates full-time for about a year I went on to study my Diploma in Clinical Pilates at Breathe too.
Tell us about your career journey so far. Who you have worked for, and explain any highlights?
I worked my way up within the first company I worked for which owned Wrangler, Lee, Riders, Golf Punk and more, and during my time there was owned by Pacific Brands and True Alliance. I went from Receptionist to managing Wrangler wholesale for multiple states and major accounts. I then moved to Sydney to work at an agency, which I really didn’t love and left after only three months. I came home and while I was studying, I began working at Green with Envy which was THE high-end retail experience in Melbourne. I was there for about 2 years and ended up working as a full-time Stylist. Before Green with Envy shut its doors I moved to Scanlan Theodore as an Assistant Manager, but after around 6 months I knew retail was not my long term thing. While I studied to be a Pilates Instructor I took on casual retail and studio coordinator roles until I’d certified and started working for KX Pilates (a big reformer Pilates chain which was only in Melbourne at the time). A huge highlight of my teaching career was working at different studios where I was supported to find my own authentic style and learned valuable skills in how to run a business.
How did you get into the job that you are in now?
I gave it to myself ;)
My job is a very many things all at once. But I got here through self-development, family support and education.
What is the hardest part of your current job?
Doing all the many things all at once! I run the day-to-day of the business, work in the business and am always working on developing the business too. I have 10 teachers to manage, an active community of over 2000 to support, two businesses – the physical studio and online studio, I manage our growing retail business, and I manage our socials and all customer service (at the moment).
What does a day a typical business day look like for you in your current job?
There really is no typical day when you run your own business… Wake up about 6am, have coffee, read the news, get ready (sometimes I do stay in my PJs until later in the morning) start on emails/tasks for the day, at some point I’ll either be teaching a class or go to the studio to check everything is ok (in particularly now, making sure things are clean and COVID Safe) and maybe fulfilling some online orders or checking stock levels, more emails/admin/tasks like socials and MindBody management, sometimes I try to even fit in my own Pilates workout too.
Who has been your hero, or greatest inspiration growing up and why?
Growing up, I didn’t have a lot of hero’s or people I sort great inspiration from. I have always been encouraged by my family, to do the things that make me happy.
What advice would you give girls who are interested in your career?
I feel as though I have two simultaneous careers; a Pilates teacher and Business owner. They both require different skills and passions. For Pilates teachers I recommend going to as many classes at as many different studios as you can to find your people and build connections within the community. For budding Business owners I always say that to be sustainable in business you have to get used to change, you have to constantly questions yourself and others, you have to always ask yourself what problem am I solving?
List your most valuable resources that you turn to constantly for inspiration in your profession?
- Favourite Websites: Breathe — Because their blog and podcasts are where I learn all the current best practice and evidence in regard to human movement and Pilates. Canva — where I create artwork and content for our socials/website.
- Name an Instagram Account that you can’t go a day without checking: @radpilates — Rachel is a no BS Pilates teacher in The States. We’ve recently connected on Instagram and I’m so grateful for the work they’re doing in sharing movement that teaches body autonomy and joy.
- Favourite Podcast: The News on 7am Podcast — because staying informed means I.
- Favourite Netflix/Stan/ Series: I watch TV more to tune out than to find inspiration, but recently I’ve really enjoyed Lovecraft Country on Foxtel. Like the Watchmen (which I also really enjoyed) it mixes sci-fi and history to explore the roots of America’s identity crisis.
- Who is your mentor? (This can be a person you follow for advice, or an IRL person). My biggest teaching mentor is Raphael Bender, the CEO of Breathe Education. When I studied my Diploma of Clinical Pilates he taught me how to use critical thinking to reassess my language, my thought process, my relationships. He is also a friend and someone I look to constantly for guidance in my teaching.
- Favourite all time book/s: The Brain that Changes Itself by Norman Doidge — Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science is a book on neuroplasticity by psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Norman Doidge.
- Favourite App that you use every day: MindBody Business App ;) — the business app for our booking and back end system