Jack Cuneo discusses Kindness Yoga’s unique-selling proposition.
MSM: How did your yoga studio come about? What was your vision or mission? Kindness Yoga started out as a heartfelt belief: that the final frontier for humanity isn’t space or time — it’s kindness. We started this business to spread mindfulness and yoga because they were the most effective techniques we knew for creating community and helping people develop a capacity for compassion. What does it mean to have a business that operates with kindness? On some level, Kindness Yoga has become a movement. We don’t necessarily try to do things differently as a business or a community, but when you focus on kindness, it affects the choices you make, and you end up looking pretty unique. For instance, even though we have many locations and an enormous membership base, we maintain a pay-what-you-can policy so that these practices are accessible no matter your financial means.
MSM: In your opinion, what is one of the most interesting or unique features about the yoga studio’s architecture or design? All of our locations are totally unique. We haven’t settled on a single design. We focus our resources on serving people, rather than expensive build-outs and amenities. There’s a meme you might see sometimes on the internet: “Kindness. It doesn’t cost a damn thing. Sprinkle that sh*t everywhere.” To a certain extent, that’s how we build. We open up in neighborhoods that need yoga, and allow each studio to look and feel like the neighborhood it’s in. The through-line is our core values, policies and procedures, uniquely inspired teaching team, and most of all, the students and clients that have all been attracted to our mission and vision.
MSM: What is one key to your yoga studio’s success? We don’t see ourselves in competition with other yoga studios. Instead, we see ourselves in competition with what our owner Patrick Harrington calls “unconscious activity.” We stay focused on our mission at all times — inspiring all sorts of people to explore what kindness means in their own lives. We’re never without direction or purpose. As a result, there are lots of people who really believe in us.
MSM: What is one piece of advice you could give to other studio owners? Recognize that what you’re really selling is inspiration and connection. Quality offerings are certainly important, but people will remember your business and return when it makes them feel like a part of something greater. We all want our lives to express our values, whatever those values may be. So I think a great deal of our success has come from being very clear and focused about what we believe. We communicate those beliefs directly and invite people to join us for more than just the posture practice.