Om On Yoga in Richmond, VA is not just a yoga studio, it’s an adventure based, experience company. Owner Kelly Kostecki retains clients and stands out from the competition by crafting unique, unforgettable experiences for her members.
How did you get started in this business?
I was looking for a yoga studio with community feel and quality instruction and couldn’t find one that resonated with me. When I noticed a need for a yoga studio in my neighborhood, I decided to follow my passions for entrepreneurship and yoga and open one myself. At the time, I was teaching yoga at gyms and country clubs. I inherited the entrepreneurial spirit from my parents, who both owned companies they built from the ground up.
Om On Yoga opened in 2010, and is a class and boutique based studio. We carry over 60 brands in merchandise from small and local as well as, eco-friendly and fair trade designers, unlike your typical neighborhood yoga studio. And we offer these goods online at ShopOmOn. We also focus on offering both 200 and 300 Hour Teacher Trainings and unique studio and community events that allow us to empower and inspire our students.
What were you doing professionally before Om On Yoga?
My background is in business. I studied business in college and went on to receive my MBA. Right after graduate school, I worked at Eli Lilly and Company for seven years in pharmaceutical sales. It was an awesome experience that provided me with a valuable corporate skillset. However, I knew I was destined for something greater that truly spoke to my passions.
What kind of growth have you seen at the business?
We see consistent growth each year which I attribute to our ability to constantly innovate. In addition to keeping our classes relevant to students, we focus on providing them with one-of-a-kind experiences. These hand-crafted experiences offer a once in a lifetime adventure, and we travel the globe both near and far to incorporate the most authentic spots in the coolest destinations. These unique, boutique properties truly up the ante on the natural environment, adventure element, and local culture.
Recently, we took students to an organic lavender farm in New Mexico for a yoga retreat focused on incorporating the magical local land. We incorporated an Ayurvedic food tasting and cooking class, and brought in a local Botanist and Herbalist to teach us how to pick, distill, and craft roses to make perfume and rosewater.
Next week we’re going to Montana to stay at a private fly fishing ranch. The retreat will incorporate fly fishing, pottery making, and horseback riding.
We also have an upcoming Bluegrass and Yoga event at a local cidery. This event caters to not only yogis, but also people looking for a community, and people interested in bluegrass music.
How many of these adventures do you hold a year?
At least one a quarter. This year we’re topping off at seven events. And for the local events and urban retreats we typically have a few cool things each month in which to partake.
Do you visit the sites yourself?
I personally preview all of the locations we visit, so that I can honestly speak to the experience and ensure the utmost quality of service and accommodation.
How many people participate in the retreats, and is it profitable?
We always structure our events in a way that will ensure profitability.
In terms of participation, the number spans from less than 10 people for some events to a couple of dozens for others. We’re not focused on holding large retreats because our philosophy is to create an intimate experience for students, that builds a greater rapport with our instructors as well as our community.
How do you price your events for the people who want to participate?
Cost is structured based on the market pricing for other similar events, the retail pricing for the hotels and properties, and of course, our margins as we feel is necessary to reach a certain level of profitability.
Having said that, we also keep in mind that many in our community are limited in their ability to join us due to scheduling and financial limitations. For this reason, we are constantly looking at opportunities to create more locally based experiences, and further offer monthly community and karma offerings for free or a small fee.
Are there any other marketing strategies you use to build the business?
Email-marketing is the foundation of our marketing strategy. We have curated email lists that are tailored to our clients’ interests, our studio services, and our online boutique.
Pinterest is working better than we expected for our online boutique. So we’re putting more energy into our Pinterest account as well.
Can you tell us more about your experience with Pinterest?
Our target client is on Pinterest. So we have the ability to engage with her in a more direct, and visually appealing way, through the Pinterest boards we create.
What key words of advice would you give someone looking to start or grow their own studio?
Conduct a thorough marketing analysis and create a business plan. This phase will be important for determining your location, staffing needs, and what’s going to fit the market need. Once you have that foundation, you’ll have more time to focus on how to improve the business and retain clients.
Also, stay true to your brand. Om On Yoga doesn’t hop on trends or anything outside of the brand focus, even if doing so is profitable. We don’t want to send a confusing message to our clients.
What software do you recommend to others for business?
We use Boomerang for Gmail to schedule and manage emails because it makes our Admin guru’s life easier.
We also use Foursixty to make our Instagram account shoppable.