BIE Feature: January
5 Years in Business
Submitted by Meg Stevenson, Founder and Community Director
What’s your story?
I was introduced to yoga when I was studying psychology to help mitigate stress from working full time and going to school. It was truly love at first downward dog and it was not long after that I decided to switch my career path and became a yoga teacher. I knew that teaching classes was not a sustainable option for the life I wanted to create so I started working on building my business by teaching workshops and training private clients. Through the first five years of teaching, I found that there was quite a disconnect in how yoga studios operated, and I wanted to create something different so I decided it was time to open my own studio so I could foster the supportive community that I knew yoga teachers and their students deserved. We have been in operation for nearly five years now and this has been an exceptionally challenging year, COVID has pushed me to pursue the projects that were put off since opening the studio and now we are open and stronger than we have ever been as a company.
What do you enjoy most about being a member of the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce?
It is inspiring to be surrounded by fellow ambitious entrepreneurs who are open to potential partnerships. My mentor always encouraged building strong partnerships to help grow not just my business but contribute to a stronger community. During the first couple of years in operation this was exceptionally challenging but now being a more established brand, we have found more success in recent years with this initiative. On your own, everything is perceived as competition, but as a member of the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce it is more about community and that is why Navina Yoga is in business.
What is one thing people are surprised to learn about your business?
There is a common misconception that in order to enjoy the practice of yoga you need to be good at it, so most people are pleasantly surprised at how good it feels after their first class. This practice of yoga and mindful movement is so much more than striving to touch your toes. We offer a space that can act as a catalyst for growth in all aspects of life.
What has been your biggest challenge in business, and how did you overcome it?
Business owners can all relate that COVID is likely the biggest challenge they have faced, but the fitness industry has been hit exceptionally hard. Over the last year, we have been closed for 7 months, faced heavy restrictions for the remaining 5 months and although we are now permitted to operate—it is under even heavier restrictions than before. Like many others we offered zoom sessions to keep our community moving through the shutdown and with that, we knew we needed to continue to create a strong online presence, while still offering the same level of quality we offer in the studio. We created an online studio that offers our clients an exceptional experience with music and high-resolution imaging to make them feel like they are right in the studio with us and keep them feeling connected, which is so crucial for people's mental wellbeing—especially at this time. We built this platform to offer on-demand and live-stream classes, workshops, and now we offer challenges to keep people active and engaged and are finding great success with it.
We launched our podcast called Strength & Grace: Off the Mat, in which we welcome other entrepreneurs, and through our conversations promote mental well-being. Finally, we started working with corporate clients to focus on offering tailored virtual experiences to meet their team's needs, with a weekly live class and on-demand program.
If you could make one substantial improvement to Edmonton’s business environment, what would it be?
To have all businesses more fully support each other locally, both giving and getting new clients, as well as referrals—thus creating the strongest business environment for Edmonton going forward.
Edmonton has a unique business community and we want to highlight hardworking Edmontonians who have a story to tell. Each month, we feature a member or two in the Business In Edmonton Magazine and take an opportunity to share their story and find out why they enjoy doing what they do. Follow along each month as we feature members while helping amplify their stories on our website and social media platforms.
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