How a passion for pilates inspired a flexible business

Phoebe Heyhoe wanted to share her passion for pilates with people all around Auckland. So she started MatWorks, a mobile business that brings pilates to wherever people need it.

Phoebe Heyhoe started doing pilates as a way of finding more grace as a dancer. Now she sees it as a way of life.

She wanted to share her passion for pilates but she knew people were time-poor. So she created MatWorks, a mobile business that brings pilates to wherever people need it, whether that’s at work, at home or even on the SkyWalk at the top of the southern hemisphere’s highest tower.

In a session organised with Xero, Phoebe took five brave people through a pilates routine with their toes gripping onto the small walkway, watching the sun rise over the city. 

“The thing I love about pilates is that it encourages you to go beyond your daily range of movement,” says Phoebe. “And I love helping clients discover things about themselves and their bodies that they never knew.”

It was also a very visual reminder that you don’t need to be tied to an office to run your business, something that Phoebe really embodies with her approach to MatWorks.

She recognises that time is one of the biggest barriers to Kiwis exercising, as we struggle to cram everything into our busy lives. But advances in technology now bring restaurant food to our door, banking to our phones, and entertainment on demand. Why not exercise?

Setting up as a mobile-only company has given Phoebe the freedom and flexibility to offer classes all over Auckland. She understands that now, more than ever, businesses need to be nimble, adapt with change, and go to where their customers are.

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The thing I love about pilates is that it encourages you to go beyond your daily range of movement.

For two years, Phoebe operated MatWorks as a one-woman band. But as the business grew, so did the accounts.

“I was having a nightmare every year when it came to doing tax returns,” she says. “My dad and brother encouraged me to get on board with Xero. It helps me track all my spending and my inventory, so I have so much less admin to manage on a daily basis.”

Using Xero to help run her business has been a big help in understanding how the business is doing on a day-to-day basis. And it’s freed up time for Phoebe to start thinking about the future of the business.

“Moving to Xero has saved me eight hours of paperwork each week, which allows me to teach another five classes. It also saves me about 10 hours each quarter when I used to sort through my expenses and receipts for my tax return. Now I can do it on a weekly basis instead.

“It’s great because it’s freed up my time to think about the future of MatWorks and how to continue to grow outside Auckland. With the help of Xero, I’m able to see what I can afford. I hired my first four instructors last year, with plans to expand to Tauranga, Hamilton, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin this year,” says Phoebe.

Two people on top of the Sky Tower high-fiving

Five brave people did a pilates session on top of Auckland's Sky Tower

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