What did your business look like before COVID 19?
We (Rane and Jo) are a couple who run a small, home based yoga studio together. We teach a variety of styles including Aerial Yoga, pilates and mat based yoga. We like to focus on creating a welcoming and inclusive environment where everyone can feel comfortable.
We also produce The Flow Artists Podcast, a yoga and social justice focused podcast, where we talk to inspiring movers, thinkers and teachers about how they find their flow and share it with the world.
How has COVID-19 changed your business?
We have since taken our classes online, we teach group and private sessions through zoom, free facebook live streams (including some for Get Active in Darebin) and have created an online library of classes and courses.
We recently added sliding scale pricing for our online classes to help keep them accessible to people who might be struggling financially right now. We offer a community rate of $5 per class, a sustainer rate of $10 per class, and a generous supporter rate of $15 per class.
We received support from Darebin council in the form of a business resiliency grant to create a member's subscription service.
This has allowed us to continue to support our community - and keep our business financially viable. We both love teaching yoga and it’s really helped our own state of mind to be able to continue to share these practices remotely.
“… it’s really helped our own state of mind to keep sharing our practices remotely”
Are there any apps or technology that really helped you make this transition?
We use zoom to deliver our online classes, and stripe for our online credit card payments. We used to use Square for payments in person, and I still use it to send online invoices.
Rane is a web developer who built our website and booking system, so he was able to integrate these payment systems.
What has been the most challenging aspect of this time?
The uncertainty of not knowing what the future holds, and seeing so many members of the wider community suffering.
We feel very fortunate with our home based space and access to the technology to take our business online, which I know is not the case for many other small businesses and industries.
Seeing the death and infection rates online is really scary, and our hearts go out to people who have lots friends and family. Also, Rane has a cancer history, so we are both very wary of the risks of infection from COVID-19
Have there been any 'silver lining' surprises?
It’s really heartwarming to hear how our classes are helping people deal with some of the stress of these challenging times - as well as their sore backs and shoulders from so much time online! We’re passionate about sharing movement and mediation practices in a way that is accessible to everyone and going online has actually helped with that! We’ve been able to run yoga classes where family members living in different countries are able to practice together and corporate well being sessions for teams working remotely.
It’s really heartwarming to hear how our classes are helping people deal with the stress of these challenging times”
Our physical studio has steps so it isn’t wheelchair accessible, but we’ve been able to teach chair yoga classes that people can attend from their homes and still feel part of our community.
I also love getting to meet people’s pets online - and they love joining in the yoga classes too!
After receiving a lot of messages from other yoga teachers who needed help taking their businesses online, we launched our Mentoring and Support program. Being a sole trader can be a very solo journey, especially in these challenging times and we’ve been loving this chance to connect with other yoga teachers and help them build their businesses.
How do you see your business evolving in the future? Are there changes you've made that you will continue with when things go back to ‘normal'?
We will continue to offer online classes for the accessibility reasons mentioned above, and because people are loving the convenience our online library.
Even when we reopen for in person classes we will only be able to accomodate 4 people at a time (our previous classes were 8-12 people), so we will keep our online classes going to give our students options, and to also to help our business remain resilient and viable.
When we reopened briefly many of our regulars stayed online to cut down on travel time or for health reasons and told us how much they appreciated being able to attend our classes from home.
Offering online classes and courses was actually something we’d always wanted to do, but in the day to day busyness of running our studio we hadn’t found the time. The enforced pause of the pandemic suddenly cleared our schedules and gave us the push we needed to make this happen!