When Kate Duyn awoke to a phone call at 6 a.m. from her front desk staff, she wasn’t expecting the news that came from the other line.
While she was sleeping peacefully, her studio just five minutes away was up in flames and quickly crumbling. She jumped out of bed, got her son up and dressed for school, and rushed over to see the damage.
She was shocked. Her studio that was designed to be an uplifting space where all can come for support, community and inspiration, was now ruined, crumbing and in piles of smoking rubble laying on the street.
However, she couldn’t be in shock for long; she had to act. She said she was lucky to have the teacher who taught the first class of the day and her husband there to keep her grounded and help her figure out what to prioritize.
“First, I called the insurance company to get the insurance adjuster out as soon as possible,” said Duyn. “Then called the fire department to start the process of getting the fire report. I had to take photos of everything in the studio and document all that was lost, and that took a long time.”
It was difficult for her to be in the studio, not only because it was hard to see her studio destroyed, but also because it wasn’t safe.
“The problem was it wasn’t really healthy to be in the space at that point because it was so smoky and toxic,” she explained. “I had to get as much as I could, then we had to leave.”
She was also left with another challenge: informing all of her students and teachers that classes were cancelled due to the tragedy.
“I cancelled all the classes on MINDBODY Online, for that day and the following few days, right away,” she said. “So if people went on MINDBODY Online, they could see there were no classes. And I put a post on Instagram with a photo of the big pile of burnt materials on the sidewalk in front of the studio. That was just a dramatic enough photo to let everyone know that something serious happened.”
Although she was faced with a very difficult situation, she was motivated to get classes back up and running as soon as possible. She was able to secure a pop-up location in an old dance studio just around the corner. Within just five days after the fire, she had a full schedule of classes flowing.
While having a pop-up location was nice, Duyn was on a mission to find a new permanent space. Growing up, her father was a commercial real estate agent, so she had a natural eye for spotting good buildings. She found the perfect spot. At the time it was being remodeled, so she walked into the building, asked for the owner’s name and bought it before it even hit the market.
On October 1, 2019, Light On Lotus opened the doors to its new home. After six months of making lemonade out of lemons, Duyn finally has her uplifting space where all can come for support, community and inspiration once again.
Duyn wanted other studio owners to know this in case they are ever met with a tragedy:
“Don’t give up. Believe and have faith in your mission and in your community and take one day at a time. It can be so overwhelming, the amount of work, the amount of things you have to do and the amount of tasks that pile up on your shoulders. It’s a lot of pressure. But, there’s only so much you can do at one time, in one day. My biggest takeaway is being able to prioritize. What are the most important things that need to be handled? Do those first and you can’t even think about the rest until the fire is out, until the most important is handled. Get business loss insurance. I had it. Some business owners think they don’t need it, but it’s worth getting. If we hadn’t had that, I think we wouldn’t have managed to stay open.”