Reaching the one-year in business milestone for a yoga studio is a time of joy and reflection. Nearly every studio owner can look back on their first year and think of the times of success, as well as the bumps in the road. As Kelli Gabat, the owner of Wildfire Yoga in Lexington, Kentucky, plans her celebration for the studio’s year in business milestone, she looks back on her year in the industry.
Mindful Studio: What are you all doing to celebrate being in business for a year?
Kelli Gabat: We are having an open house. Anyone available can come and check out the studio. We are having six classes our teachers will teach for free so people can check out fun specialty classes. We also will be grilling out and having food. We will have some giveaways and sidewalk sales with businesses in our area. We will be having some live acoustic music in one of our classes.
MS: Any moments you are most proud of in this year?
KG: I remember being six months in and finally feeling like I had a hang of the whole thing. I was shifting from corporate life for 12 years to being a studio owner and I am happy to have been able to make that transition a success. In the beginning, I was teaching in this tiny space and the Pilates studio next door offered to help me bust out some walls and make the studio much larger, so when that was finally finished it made it feel so real.
MS: Have you had any struggles or bumps in the road you are happy to have conquered?
KG: I would say marketing was the hardest area for me to fully grasp. I kind of exhausted myself in the beginning with a million different companies that want to sell you a million different things. It was a learning curve. I had to do a lot of research. I am also in a Facebook group with studio owners who share ideas and answer my questions about marketing, which has been my go-to for help.
Also, I taught all 16 classes a week for a month and a half by myself. I wanted to offer students a variety of times to come in, but that was a big learning time for me. Nothing was a mistake, but it was definitely a learning experience for me. That was a lot, and I was running on pure adrenaline to get me through it. Thankfully, we have 14 instructors at Wildfire now.
MS: Do you have any advice for someone who is considering starting a studio?
KG: Do your homework on marketing. Research and learn about different social media platforms. Put a budget and business plan in place for the entire first year. If something pops up, something a teacher or student wants to do, do it. Don’t wait. Most ideas people ask about are something they are passionate about, and I feel if they are passionate about something, it will work. If it feels good, do it. Stay up-to-date with what is going on in your community. Be present.