How Lusthaus Law Enabled An Innovative Twist on Pilates Franchising

by | Oct 5, 2023


Marisa Fuller was a fitness enthusiast who met her health goals through pilates and boutique fitness memberships. Driven by her own positive pilates experiences, the native New Yorker wanted to close out her career in sales and transition into the health and fitness industry. 

Fuller wanted to own a franchise and align with a reputable pilates brand that focused on exceptional, client-driven experiences. A chance encounter with the Australian founders of Studio Pilates blossomed into a serious partnership discussion. 

Fuller turned to Lusthaus Law for guidance, as she was a first-time franchise operator. Furthermore, since Studio Pilates had not yet entered the U.S. market, both parties would have to learn a lot very quickly. We wanted to enable Fuller’s decision-making as she entered the industry, especially since she had a long-term goal for multi-unit ownership.


Even the most ideal relationships need the guidance of a qualified NY franchise lawyer, particularly if one of the parties is new to a territory. In this case, there was much at stake since Studio Pilates wanted to establish its first U.S. presence in New York and Fuller would be the first franchisee. 

Through our review of the documents and discussions with the client, we ensured that Fuller understood the terms of the agreements and the potential impact of those provisions on current and future business operations.  

Negotiations are obviously crucial to a successful agreement. Sometimes they can even be the most challenging element and the reason why some parties never align. But Julie Lusthaus’ franchise legal knowledge and vast network proved integral to this agreement; she knew the franchisor’s attorney thanks to her longtime presence in the ABA Forum on Franchising. This provided an extra layer of comfort for all sides during negotiations. 

This detail underscored the benefits of hiring an experienced NY franchise lawyer, especially one who is approachable and can leverage relationships and networks at the negotiating table.

Our deep experience representing franchisees and multi-brand operators uniquely positioned us to provide a holistic strategy for our client and we negotiated favorable terms. In 2019, Fuller signed a franchise agreement to open the first U.S. Studio Pilates location in Park Slope, Brooklyn and obtained the option to open two additional locations.


Upon opening in 2021, local customers began filing in. Clearly, the distancing caused by the COVID pandemic led to a pent-up demand for in-person pilates classes, and word-of-mouth about the unique experiences traveled. The focus on personalized service and digital innovation has literally put Studio Pilates on the map in the U.S. By tapping into their knowledge and enthusiasm for health and wellness, the franchisor successfully entered a coveted market. 

Fuller is now the face of Studio Pilates in two New York locations – Park Slope and Cobble Hill – as well as a unit she operates in North Carolina. Other franchisees have opened locations in additional domestic markets. Fuller’s success has since been featured in health and wellness articles published by major media outlets, including Vogue and

As previously discussed, an increasing number of women have entered and excelled in the field of franchising. Learn about other women in franchising Lusthaus Law recently represented
If you are considering acquiring the rights to develop franchises, we would love to help you. Contact Lusthaus Law.


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