Department stores are handy. You can find clothes for every member of the family, electronics and appliances. It’s a one-stop shop for nearly anything you would need, and a great way to compare the prices and quality of multiple brands.
The retail section at your yoga studio can have the same feeling as a department store, explained Carolina Sanchez, the owner of Weston Yoga in Weston, Florida.
“You need to give your students that one spot to have straps from Manduka, mats from somewhere else and bolsters from another place,” said Sanchez. “Your store can become a hub for everything. If you have enough space for just a few things, use it.”
Giving your students a place to purchase all their yoga needs is great, but it takes quite a bit of thought and effort to execute it. The first thing that needs to be thought through is what you want to sell.
Allison Gollner, the studio manager of Green Monkey in Miami Beach, explained it can sometimes be hard to compete with large brands like Lululemon and Spiritual Gangster, which has made her look to local artists or designers for retail.
“Sometimes stuff we order from larger brands will hit our retail section tomorrow, but is already discounted today on their site,” said Gollner. “I have to look at doing local stuff so people won’t be thinking they can just get it online for cheaper.”
Sanchez also noted she tried to purchase local as much as possible, along with offering items for sale she believed would benefit her students either physically or mentally. She explained she tried to keep herself attached to what she practices, and sells what will promote her lifestyle to students.
“Usually I choose to work with people here in South Florida who are small business owners just starting,” said Sanchez. “I also choose my distributors on how organic and natural it is, and how it will serve the wellness of my students. I have a herbal tea company I work with, and [the founder] studied the science of the tea and the benefits of it on your health, and I loved that, so working with her was an easy decision.”
Jolin Conine, the owner of Fuel Hot Yoga in Athens, Georgia, said when it comes to apparel they sell, it’s important to her the studio always has a full stock of a large variety. She explained a full stock makes for a good display, and offering a variety of styles shows you work with every body type.
“We offer styles that are a lot of prints or shorter tops,” said Conine. “But I also get things that offer more coverage. I try to carry different brands because some work better with women with smaller chests and some work well with women looking for more support. My goal is to offer enough that when people walk in they can find something for their body type.”
Once you have your offerings thought out and you know what you want to sell, deciding how to set up your retail section is key. While every space has a different layout, there are a few design components to keep in mind.
First, remember you don’t have to consistently be restocking or buying new items to convince your students to buy. By simply changing the display during busy class hours or reworking where items are hung, you can create the illusion of brand-new selections.
“We rework our displays every week to make for something fresh and new,” said Conine. “Sometimes your eyes just don’t catch it in a certain way and if you remerchandise it differently, someone will walk in and ask if we got new stuff, when maybe we have had it for a month.”
Gollner shared she also made sure to consistently rotate her selections of apparel since her studio was tight on retail space.
“Either we rotate the products on the table because that is what people gravitate toward or we have suction cups on the wall where we display outfits and we will change that every few days,” said Gollner. “People aren’t going to look through the tiny side of a hung space, but they will see displays.”
Even if your studio is tight on space, you can still create a retail section in a corner or on your front desk that will generate revenue. Use the space you have, big or small, to offer new products to your students or provide them with materials that will aid in their growth as a student.
“If you only have enough space for essential oils, sell them, because then you can create a workshop based on those oils and your practice,” said Sanchez. “It’s a never-ending open door of possibilities. We live in an environment where we consume, and when you take on a new hobby or sport you want all the products and clothes that come with it. When you find a brand that allows you to move and when you find a mat that won’t let you slip, it’s inspiring you to do that activity more.”