I find nothing more inspiring than entrepreneur stories that involve founders deciding not just to pursue their dream business, but also triggering a major life changing moment. So many of us have had that moment during our commute to or from work where we thought about just quitting and dedicating our time to something we are more passionate about. Imagine having that thought, then acting on it, and also bringing your sister along for the ride.
That’s how Kelly and Rhiannon’s story starts. Now they are the owners of Mat Happy Yoga in Hilliard.
Distinguishing Through Personalization
There are a lot of Yoga studios and at first glance they might all look the same, but that is far from the truth. It’s easy to forget that there is a wide spectrum of Yoga practices from beginner flow series to hardcore over 100 degree 90-minute Bikram series. Practice type is only one of the many different characteristics that a studio may have, aspects like studio location and size also play major factors in differentiating studios from each other.
Mat Happy’s clear distinguishing factor is how Kelly and Rhiannon have built the community. These two Yoga leaders know exactly what the members need and want. This means that they have to not only run the business, but also invest in getting to know the members personally. “It’s really friendly – we’ve tried hard to roll out the welcome wagon from day one, and that has translated into friendships, camaraderie and good feels when you walk through the door. […]we strive to make this everyone’s ‘happy place.'”
They serve Yogis who range from first timers to those working to perfect their practice. “One of our greatest joys has been to watch our students grow.” Part of growing in a safe and happy place means trying new things. Kelly and Rhiannon are hoping to help their members expand their horizons. “We’ve also found that our students are very open to trying new ways of exploring yoga. This fall we are including a few workshops on meditation and breath work, and starting Nov. 5th, we are adding Buti yoga to our class offerings (think power yoga meets tribal dance with deep abdominal toning – it’s like dancing on your mat!)”
They understand that their members are often working parents who are taking their precious one or two hours away from family to spend time at Mat Happy. Having that understanding has helped shape a class offering that fits the members desires and also meets their family schedule needs.
Kelly and Rhiannon are still teaching at the studio, but also have 8 other trainers leading classes. Classes have expanded in range from flow to Pilates/Yoga fusion and more. The two are considering how to expand their presence while keeping a focus on their core community.
Even with all of their success, they are constantly reminded of the magnitude of that original decision to strike out on their own:
The biggest challenge is knowing this is your baby, your creation, and you are 100% responsible for it. There are no true “days off.” […] The joys are many. Namely, the ability to help change the lives of others for the better. The people we have met, our instructors and students, and the stories they share, remind us of the impact our work. Yoga attracts good people and we are lucky to have crossed paths with so many.