Why did you start your business, what was the inspiration?
After teaching grade two for 10 years in the public school system, I felt a need for change in my professional life. I desired something more creative and entrepreneurial that would combine my love of children and yoga. Vancouver has a highly saturated and successful yoga industry for the adult population, but very little for our younger demographic. As a teacher, I believe strongly in the benefits of yoga for kids and wanted to share this with kids and families in the community. I travelled to Goa, India last year on a solo yoga retreat and met some young female entrepreneurs who owned kids yoga businesses in Australia and the UK. Upon returning to Vancouver, and ignited by my time in India, I immediately wrote YogaButtons' business plan, developed the studio branding and logo, created the curriculum, hired fantastic teachers, designed and renovated a studio, and opened six months later.
What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis?
I love my career. I appreciate the diversity and spontaneity each day brings. I am responsible for all the studio and business operations: meetings, accounting, banking, class programming, media appearances, PR and marketing. I like being accountable for everything about YogaButtons. I meet fascinating people. I get to experience kids and families coming together to move, breathe, laugh, giggle, smile, snuggle and play. It's extremely rewarding to know that my business is encouraging an active, healthy and fun lifestyle from an early age and promoting physical fitness and emotional wellness.
The most challenging part?
The reality of owning and operating a business independently can be scary, stressful and exhausting at times. Working long hours or all hours, sleepless nights, financial worry, tears and self-doubt are regular occurrences, especially in the first few months after opening.
Where do you see your business going in five years?
I plan to open two more studio locations in the Lower Mainland within the next three years, and possibly look towards national expansion, depending on the business climate. I'm working on developing a program to make kids yoga more accessible to educators and ultimately, have kids yoga become more prevalent in the classroom and community.
What does success look like to you?
It's more of a feeling of balanced success. I feel successful having a thriving kids yoga studio that promotes an active lifestyle and adds joy and wellness to their lives. Success is being an ethical entrepreneur and creating balance in my professional and personal life. It's about constantly learning, refining and growing with my business.
"I would like my life to be a statement of love and compassion – and where it isn't, that's where my work lies." – Ram Dass
What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
YogaButtons' grand opening was pretty awesome. I started the day early doing my first live TV news segment, followed by a community launch party to celebrate the opening. I was proud, awed and humbled to be surrounded by my business vision in actualization. Popping the bubbly at the studio opening with my family and friends felt incredible.
Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Believe wholeheartedly in what you're doing and trust your intuition – with people and business decisions. Be creative and find ways to make your business life fun. Pay attention and really listen to others. Act with grace, humility and authenticity. Surround yourself and rely on your family and friends for their support and expertise. Ask them questions and value them. Be prepared to work with determined intensity.
Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
Yes, I am immensely grateful to live in such a supportive, beautiful community and give back wherever I can. I teach a family yoga class (all ages) each weekend, which is by donation. 100% proceeds are donated to local kids charities.
What is Notable to you?
Notable is connecting young entrepreneurs who take risks with a fresh idea and have the confidence to pursue and realize their dream.
Blackberry, iPhone, Android, or Other?
iPhone; ♥ Apple.
How do you keep active, energetic, and vibrant?
I do yoga every day. The playful whimsy of kids yoga keeps me creative and youthful. I put as much energy into keeping my mind vibrant as I do my body. Reading, writing, mediating, and doing crossword puzzles (my grandfather's tip) keeps me mindful. Great food and wine makes me happy too. I also recommend getting outside and climbing trees whenever possible.
By Notable - August 16, 2013