When she first opened Embarque Yoga, Alyssa Pfennig had two treatment rooms for holistic services.
Three years later when building out a new space, the owner of the studio in Indianapolis, Indiana, added three more rooms. She believes in holistic living and natural health, but she also shared it was a business decision. “What I saw as a business owner is yoga ebbs and flows,” said Pfennig. “Having these services helps offset all of that.”
Plus, she noted it opened doors to those who might need something beyond yoga. “All people need to have some regular yoga practice and things like that, but some people also need some things additional, so why not make it a one-stop shop where they can come in for their acupuncture? Then they can also practice yoga,” she said.
Over at True North Yoga and Wellness in Richmond, Virginia, a large variety of holistic services are available — from Zero Balancing, Quigong and T’ai Chi to massage, Reiki, foot bath cleanses and cupping. Owner Aliza Sterling opened her business in January 2018 and has been adding holistic services depending on customer demand.
“Everyone wants something different; no two people are the same,” she shared. “Different holistic services benefit different people. I’m really wanting to make sure we have a variety of services available, dependent on what the customer wants.”
Prior to opening, Sterling did heavy promotion of the space to find practitioners for her initial holistic services. Solidifying her mission statement and business plan for the studio, she then put the word out into the community. “I shared [my mission statement and business plan] with everyone who came in to let them know what the studio is about and what the wellness center was not about,” she said. “That is the way I would say I got the right people in the space.”
When adding holistic services to your studio, the practitioners really do matter, as does managing them correctly. Pfenning noted while going into the wellness business is similar to opening a yoga studio, it is a whole other business. You have two options for your holistic staff: mark them as independent contractors or label them as employees.
For Pfenning, she said having them as employees is the best way as you then have control of scheduling, time management and pay structure. “You want that schedule so when somebody calls the front desk to schedule, you want them to be available,” she said, noting if they are contractors they technically can’t have set hours.
Her massage therapists are employees, but practitioners for energy therapy and acupuncture are independent contractors because the demand for their services varies greatly. Even her yoga teachers are independent contractors. She did note practitioners are often different types of people than yoga teachers and thus need to be managed differently.
It makes sense to offer these services to Sterling. She said you already have your target audience typically in the studio; why not be able to recommend services in-house?
In fact, Pfenning offers a 20-minute complimentary consultation to new students and holistic service members. She will make recommendations and put together a treatment plan that consists of what yoga classes to take and what holistic services to use. Plus, if you practice yoga at Embarque, you are offered a discounted rate on holistic services.
Ultimately, the mission of True North is to be a community location for holistic practices. That’s why student feedback on what to offer is so important. “The idea is you have these individuals who are looking for a way to help themselves, and you’re providing a bunch of services for them that will help them. They can decide what’s best for them, and we can provide recommendations based on what they have communicated they are going through,” said Sterling.
And, it’s getting students to understand what you offer. Pfenning will offer holistic services as part of workshops or paired with a yoga class. This gets her members aware of the offerings, as well as their benefits and what they are, because these services can be impactful.
“My intention of course, from a business perspective, is that diversification of revenue,” said Pfenning. “But from a serving perspective, the intention is people can come here and take care of themselves with different services and know they are really cared for.”