Keep in mind the flexible business that’s bringing a breath of fresh air to its’ customers

We caught up with Co-Founder, Dan Octon, Ministry of Yoga and Wellbeing; a husband and wife run business which provides a relaxing space for the local community to engage mindfully in holistic and wellbeing practices.

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Tell us what your Ministry of Yoga and Wellbeing is and what your business offers?

We are Ministry of Yoga and Wellbeing, a health and wellbeing centre in the heart of Crewe with three studios, four therapy rooms and a rooftop cafe with outdoor terrace.  We offer Yoga, Pilates, meditation, hula hoop and other classes alongside workshops.  A host of independent therapists use our premises to offer holistic & beauty therapies, massage, counselling, Reiki and much more.

 

What was it that inspired you to set-up your own business?

My wife (Shelly Aspden) is a trained Yoga teacher and we lived together in South Korea for seven years teaching English trying to save enough money to follow our dream of owning a Yoga studio.  When we returned to the UK (because Shelley couldn’t legally get a visa to be a Yoga teacher in Korea) we were offered the chance to take over the Ministry of Yoga in Crewe.  It was never our plan to live in the Northwest but opportunities like this don’t present themselves that often and we have now settled here and found the community to be quite welcoming to our ideas and approach.

 

Do you think an Entrepreneur ISA and a Small Business Savings Allowance would have helped aid your company’s growth in the early stages?

Absolutely.  We invested all the money we had in the takeover and had a lot of systems to put in place while working 18 hour days.  An Entrepreneur ISA would have given us the opportunity to employ someone straight away to take the pressure off us doing every single job and helped up to market our business in the right way.  We had a lot of set up costs that meant that for the first year of operation, we were constantly on the wire financially speaking.

 

What have been the biggest challenges you have faced so far?

In the opening months of running the business, all the teachers that held classes in our studios were independent and rented the space from us.  This meant that they would collect all money from students themselves and our main income would come from the rental side of things.  If Shelley was teaching a class, we would also pay ourselves the same room rental as everyone else because the rental income is what pays back the personal loan we have.

The remaining money that we took from our Yoga classes went to pay our own wages each month.  Due to the nature of our business, it was always an unknown whether 10 people would turn up for a class or none.  Some months we were right down to the wire as to whether we could pay ourselves anything. 

Once we became more established and had a lot of people using the centre, we gambled and decided to set up our own timetable of classes, paying teachers to teach them and introducing a sort of membership scheme.  We didn’t know which way this would go, whether it would be a huge success or result in us making a big loss.  Luckily, it proved to be the correct decision and now the vast majority of our revenue comes from the Yoga business, rather than the rentals business.

 

What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?

Work hard and put the hours in.  There’s nothing more satisfying than seeing all your time and effort blossom into something that you can be proud of.  The first year will be one of the toughest years you’ve experienced, but if you can put systems in place to take some pressure off your day to day activities, that will help a lot. 

 

What is your proudest achievement to date as a company?

Shelley started her Yoga journey in 2012 when she took a 200-hour course with Tribe Yoga in Goa to become a teacher.  A few years later she then became a teacher trainer for the same organisation.  This year in July, we hosted Tribe Yoga’s UK teacher training course for 2018 at our studio, with Shelley also teaching on the course.  That is easily our proudest moment because Shelley’s whole journey has come full circle and we’ve proved to ourselves that we can work as a husband and wife team to help eight local yogis to become newly qualified teachers, who we hope to support with their own classes in the near future.

Dan Octon is the Co-Founder of Ministry of Yoga and Wellbeing.

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