Yoga Enterprise

The Business of Om: 6 Yoga-Based Businesses

Yoga Companies: Finding an Entrepreneurial Balance

Yoga is often associated with balance, mindfulness, and inner peace. It’s not easy when you are dealing with the stress and chaos of a small business. But as these six entrepreneurs in the yoga market can attest, it is entirely possible. Here are their inspiring stories.

Chakra 5 yoga

Source: Chakra 5 Yoga

McKenna Rowe opened her first yoga business in Los Angeles in 2011. Her studio was born out of a desire to help her clients and to live their careers in a positive environment. Unfortunately, excessive real estate costs, insurance costs, etc. have become too much to manage. It was then that she realized that she had to change something.

It was then that she came up with the idea of ​​bringing yoga to the client rather than the client in a traditional studio. This is how Chakra 5 Yoga was born. Rowe offers on-site mobile yoga classes and schedules appointments for companies that want to offer their employees the benefit of day-to-day yoga.

“I love making people feel better. I’ve seen how transformative yoga is to mental, physical, and spiritual health, both as a student and as a teacher,” said Rowe. “All you have to do is do it – regularly.”

Chakra 5 aims to facilitate this consistency by bringing the instructor to the student. And as a business model, it’s far easier than maintaining a studio. There are no real estate costs and it is easy to operate for the staff. It also helps Rowe customize their services so that they are better tailored to the specific needs of their clients.

“”[Because we’re mobile,] People don’t have to fight LA ​​traffic or find parking space to get to a class at a physical yoga studio. You can connect with coworkers or coworkers in a yoga class right in their office, “Rowe said.” We offer a situation that is more inclusive and “democratic”, especially for people who are intimidated into entering a yoga studio. “

And finally, LA traffic cannot come or go. So you might as well have a bit of yoga available to relax after facing Carmageddon. [See Related Story:]

Wanderlust festivals

Jeff Krasno and Sean Hoess founded the Wanderlust Festival in 2008 after discovering a lack of large-scale musical events for the yoga community. Wanderlust is a hybrid festival of music and movement. It’s part of the music festival and part of the yoga immersion. It enables yogis to practice with renowned teachers such as Jonny Kest and Shiva Rea in a quiet environment while enjoying live performances by well-known bands. Wanderlust has grown by leaps and bounds since its conception.

Hoess attributed Wanderlust’s popularity to basic marketing, direct contact and symbiotic relationships with yoga studios.

“In the first year, we had less than $ 30,000 to market the event. That’s why we’ve developed a database of literally every yoga studio within 200 miles of Wanderlust, California [held in North Lake Tahoe]and then made a phone call, ”recalled Hoess.

The couple offered studios online and via email free tickets, group sale discounts, and cross-promotion tools in exchange for displaying signage and flyers promoting the event. Hoess and Krasno also invited the larger studios in California to “name” different areas of the festival where courses are being held and send their best instructors to teach. While Hoess admitted the process was extremely time consuming, he said it was worth every minute to build the credibility in the yoga community that Wanderlust enjoys today.

One of the great ironies of running a yoga business may lie in the audience themselves. While it offers a passionate, engaged consumer base that most small businesses can only dream of, it also goes against the age-old axiom of keeping business and personal interests separate, since most yoga entrepreneurs are practitioners themselves.

No matter how big a yoga business might get, Hoess advised fellow entrepreneurs to maintain the passion for the practice that their students share and expect. “When [business] I’ve found that many yoga companies fall short. You can tell by things like graphic design, which often falls into a “typical yoga” look and feel, clunky websites, poorly designed email, the use (or lack of) social media, and other topics, “said Hoess . “Yoga entrepreneurs need to figure out what they want to do, and then figure out what makes them different from everyone else – and show it off.”

In addition to music festivals, Wanderlust offers events, products and expert advice for a healthier and more peaceful way of life: what they call “Finding Your True North”.

Jade yoga

Source: Fizkes / Getty Images

While many yogi entrepreneurs start out as students and grow into businesses, Dean Jerrehian, founder and CEO of Jade Yoga, maker of eco-friendly yoga mats, towels, and pads, went the opposite way. At the beginning of the year 2000 Jerrehian dealt with natural rubber carpet upholstery. A chance encounter with a yogi who said that existing yoga mats made of PVC (polyvinyl chloride) do not have sufficient slip resistance inspired Jerrehian to transform his carpet cushions into yoga mats. The mats, which were the first natural rubber yoga mats, were well received in the yoga community. It was only after this time that Jerrehian began to see the wellness benefits of yoga.

Jerrehian said one of the great advantages of being a yoga entrepreneur is the nature of the industry.

Being in the yoga world where people are so balanced, peaceful and giving has actually made my life more balanced, “said Jerrehian.” Yes, we are here to make a profit, but there is no question that we can do good and do good at the same time – especially where your audience really cares. “His clientele’s disposition has driven the success of his eco-friendly yoga mats and his” Buy a Mat, Plant a Tree “program, which funds the planting of a tree for every mat purchased.

“As health and environmentally conscious, yogis recognize the value of quality and sustainable products,” said Jerrehian. While some might mistake the yoga industry for being too “leisurely” for business success, Jerrehian has found the opposite to be true.

“I used to think that calm, relaxation, and serenity could affect my effectiveness in business, but now I think the opposite is true,” he said. “Nothing spreads a situation better than calm, and it’s much easier to say yes, which is what every business transaction is ultimately about.”

Blissoma from Iriestar

Julie Longyear is a self-described “lifestyle entrepreneur” who has always believed in integrating her business activities and spiritual beliefs. This philosophy led her to found Irie Star in 2001 right out of college. The company introduced its Blissoma Yoga Mat Cleanser in 2005. In addition to a network of studio customers, specialty boutiques and beauticians in one location, Blissoma Mat Cleanser is sold in selected Whole Foods markets.

The strong spiritual beliefs that Longyear holds have been strengthened through yoga and have been instrumental in helping her hold her own morally in the business world.

She was asked to “sacrifice our morals about using organic products in order to get a better price for big companies. We said no. I just don’t make products that don’t meet my values. I can’t live with the burden of my conscience or just produce something that is purely marketing value, ”Longyear said.

Perhaps the greatest lesson Longyear has learned from her yoga business is to focus less on riches and more on the rewards themselves. “’Get rich quick’ was never on the list. The money is just a means to keep going, ”she said. “I don’t mind if things get a little more comfortable at some point, but I think that discomfort often contributes to growth. I try to see the sand I’m chewing on as the source of my future pearls. “

Today, the line from the creation of the mat cleaner has expanded to include a variety of vegetarian and organic skin care and body products, from lip elixirs to stress-relieving serums.

Columbus & business consulting

Even the most well-meaning yoga business owners can use best practice guidance. That makes Tracy Columbus, a lifestyle, branding, and strategic marketing consultant serving the entertainment and yoga industries, a valuable asset. Columbus, who is based in Los Angeles, found that the yoga studio’s population had experienced a consumer shift in the early 1990s.

“Yoga had become mainstream and the new yoga believer was more of a stressed-out businessman looking for a place to thrive – and willing to pay for it,” said Columbus.

While there are millions of business advisors out there who can advise on growth and operating models for small businesses, Columbus “focuses on traditional goals while serving the real needs of this discerning consumer”.

She guides her clients through the strategies, partnerships, marketing activities, and products that serve their overall goals while ensuring that all of these endeavors are rooted in the beliefs of the yoga lifestyle community.

“Yoga in America has become a business. It’s neither good nor bad, it’s just like that, “said Columbus. “Business is business. It takes income to get good results.”

Columbus advises other yoga entrepreneurs to be honest about what they want from their work and focus on leading rather than following.

“Take the time to innovate and create a brand that can stand the test of time and circumstance,” she said.


Source: / Getty Images

In 2009 Linden Schaffer was a leader in sales of a multi-million dollar fashion shoe brand. While traveling the world struggling to find time to practice yoga, she founded Pravassa, a New York City-based retreat planning company that brings together teachers and students for healthy retreats.

Schaffer said Pravassa found particular marketing value in serving a niche in the travel market through his blog, which discusses classes around the world. This in turn generates valuable buzz and viral activity when verified instructors share the blog with their students.

Schaffer’s biggest advice to yoga entrepreneurs is to get involved in the yoga community. Develop relationships with teachers, studio owners and students to learn what they like and what is missing in their practice or studio.

Schaffer also recognized the calming benefits of yoga as essential to her approach to business relationships.

“This alone has helped me as an entrepreneur to react to people and their ideas or questions. I can stop and think before reacting to anything. Yoga helps me gather my thoughts and present my ideas in a positive, non-confrontational way. Yoga also teaches you to see the good in everyone, ”said Schaffer.

Additional reporting from Stephanie Taylor Christensen. Some source interviews were conducted for an earlier version of this article.

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