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Salmon Arm couple builds pilates equipment and foundation of wellness

Vic and Andi Javeri create and innovate with handcrafted multi-use pieces

From his initial assessment of pilates equipment purchased by his spouse Andi, Vic Javeri thought he could build it better.

“My father built cabinetry and when I was in college I worked with him all the time…,” said Javeri. “When I started seeing the pieces Andi had coming in, I rolled my eyes and said, ‘this is ridiculous you’re paying this kind of money for this stuff.’”

Vic admits now that he underestimated the level of craftsmanship that can go into the production of pilates equipment.

“I was very wrong; this equipment is extremely complicated to build,” said Vic, the craftsperson behind The Pilates Architects, which manufactures handcrafted classically inspired pieces of pilates equipment.

Vic and Andi run the business, with a shop in the Salmon Arm Industrial Park as well as a home-based studio filled with their equipment in Canoe, out of which Andi operates AXIS Pilates, teaching classes.

With Andi providing steady input and guidance, Vic’s foray into producing reformers and other pieces of equipment began in a tent in their backyard. He said it was an expensive process of trial and error, explaining each piece represents a mix of woodwork, engineering, physics and the support of other Salmon Arm businesses when it comes to welding and some of the metalwork, upholstering and even the provision of packaging for shipments.

“Now I’d say our product is better than anybody else’s,” said Vic, who is proud of his handiwork and refers to each piece as a work of art. “We didn’t move into our own space (the industrial park shop) until we had the process nailed down tight.”

Vic explained his designs are inspired by those of pilates founder Joseph Pilates. For his reformers, which are based around a bed-like frame with a moving platform inside attached to a set of springs, Vic uses European steamed beech, which he said is very dense, strong and long-lasting. For other pieces, including spine correctors he uses Baltic birch plywood. For metal, Vic employs aircraft grade aluminum.Welding is done by neighbour Alumex Manufacturing, while upholstery work is done by New Roots Upholstery.

“It’s nice to find people who are compatible,” said Andi of their relationship with other Salmon Arm businesses. “It’s a relationship you need to have and they work with you so you can work with your clients.”

One of the ways the Javeri’s equipment deviates from classic pilates pieces is how they are designed to serve multiple uses. For example, reformers are made to transform easily into cadillac tables.

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“It’s important for me that any equipment can be converted in less than 60 seconds,” said Vic, wanting the conversion process to take as little time as possible during pilates classes.

Then there’s the “chairrel,” a piece unique to The Pilates Architects that serves as both a ladder barrel and a pedal stability chair.

“A lot of research went into whether the pilates world would actually get their arms around it because it’s a little different than the other stuff that’s out there,” said Vic, noting interest in, and sales of the chairrel have picked up substantially since the piece was first introduced.

“People would see Andi using it on Instagram or something like that and say, ‘oh, what a great idea,’ but orders weren’t coming in. The first year I thought, well, it was a great idea… and then one order turned into two, turned into 10 and it became very popular.”

Another benefit of the Javeris’ multi-use pieces of equipment is that they enable instructors to have a fully equipped studio in less space.

The Javeris are also proud of the working relationships they’ve developed with clients, including those seeking custom designs, and their ability to produce equipment in a relatively short time. Vic said they recently produced 16 units for a $100,000 order for a Vancouver studio.

“We worked with that company through each individual component to make sure it was still our equipment but met the specific needs of their clientele,” said Vic, noting on average it takes about three weeks to construct one reformer.

Andi’s studio also serves as a showroom, where people can try out their creations before buying.

“It guarantees that there’s no problems – everything is where it needs to be before it goes out the door,” said Vic of custom orders. “Nobody else has that capability.”

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Lachlan Labere

About the Author: Lachlan Labere

Editor, Salmon Arm Observer
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