We’re excited to introduce you to the always interesting and insightful Brooke Page-Thompson. We hope you’ll enjoy our conversation with Brooke below.
Alright, Brooke thanks for taking the time to share your stories and insights with us today. Can you recount a story of an unexpected problem you’ve faced along the way?
I took over my yoga studio in July of 2019. We already had a great community built under the previous ownership, now it was time to grow it! Oh the work that went into the next 7 months…community classes, marketing, teaching 7-9 classes a week, partnering with community business owners and local businesses…we were growing and it was all working!
I come from a consulting background, and in hindsight, having that probably is one of the key reasons what was about to happen next didn’t take us under. In February of 2020 we were having an epic winter with ice and snow and I had this thought…what if we offered live-streaming classes on Zoom for days it’s too hard to drive into the studio? I ran the idea by a few teachers and we were all game to give it a try. So we loaded up our class schedule in Zoom and started testing it with a few students…little did I know just a few weeks later we would be required to shut our business for 3 months due to … COVID. We not only had our classes ready to go THE NEXT DAY, we were able to keep our community in tact. Our teachers learned to pivot and teach from their homes…our students were more than grateful to have a common connector while stuck at home…and we thrived.
I found in those first few weeks fear creeping in that I was going to have to shut it down completely. What if every member cancelled their membership? What if we never can reopen our doors? What if I can’t pay my lease payment? What if I can’t pay my teachers? The weight of the burden that was facing me was almost too much some days. One day in my reflection and meditation time I had this gentle nudge…rather than worry about what if’s that haven’t happened yet, what if I spoke abundance into my thoughts of the studio and let go of trying to control what I DEFINITELY was not in control of. What if I looked forward and believed things were going to work out just as they were supposed to? The moment I let go of fear of closing my doors to believing we would make it through…our business and community grew like I’d never imagined.
We gained students back who had moved away because now they could practice with their community at home. We welcomed new students who needed some self care techniques. We all shared in the collective moment that was a pandemic. We leaned on each other when we didn’t know what else to do. Those first 3 months were so complicated and hard…all this work we’d put into growing this community halted to a dead stop. How do you grow a business that is primarily dependent on human interaction? How do you navigate peoples fears and concerns with being in person and around others? How do you…the list went on and on. I watched many studios around us close their doors for good, overwhelmed with the financial burden their lease payments became…finding gratitude for my community that kept us alive.
When we were finally allowed to reopen our doors, things just got more complicated. Spacing between mats, rigorous cleaning routines, wearing masks, waivers, threats of additional lock downs. It was overwhelming. Just as things started to lift 6 months later, the delta variant came out, throwing everyone back into fear and angst. The next year would be a rollercoaster of emotions and uncertainty. Throw in wether to ask vaccination status, changes in mask mandates and Omnicron…2021 proved to be harder than 2020. And somehow…we kept growing.
Looking back, it all seems like a blurr…but…we not only came out on the other side…we thrived. We didn’t lose our community, we built an even stronger one. We learned to pivot, to laugh, to hold each other in times of loss, to create space where you could just be. We’ve welcomed old and new faces back into our studio and we’ve never taken one day for granted that we are still here…because of our community.
Our word for 2020 was Home and in 2021 it was Thrive. The power of intentions has proven so strong for my community at Buka Yoga the last 3 years. We built a home where others can thrive…and this year our word is Shine. I”m so excited to see what 2022 looks like for us.
Awesome – so before we get into the rest of our questions, can you briefly introduce yourself to our readers.
I’m Brooke. My background is in HR and Talent Management Consulting. I’m currently a Partner at a boutique firm, Velocity Advisory Group where I oversee our learning and development team.
I also am the owner of Buka Yoga LLC in Castle Rock, CO. I found yoga about 6 years ago on a yoga retreat to Portugal. It was life changing for me. I had never been so connected to my body and my breathe like I was in each and every class. I had been given a gift. I went on to get my YTT 200 hour training in 2017 and realized I had to share this with anyone that would let me. Yoga helped me find my true self, and ultimately helped me figure out what I wanted to have in my life. I got my Yoga Nidra immersion certificate with Jeremy Wolf in 2019 and opened Buka Yoga that summer. I went on to get my Advanced Yoga Nidra certification through the Amrit Institute in 2021 and my Ayurveda Level 1 certification with Dr. Claudia Welch in 2020. I love teaching Hatha inspired flows as well as restorative yoga and Yoga Nidra. I am on Insight Timer under brooke-page-thompson and have a few free Yoga Nidras to practice in the comfort of your home.
I have always looked at my studio as a community of people rather than a revenue maker. I want everyone that comes through our doors to feel at home and find themselves through our yoga practices. I want everyone to find why they are here and thrive in who they really are.
I also host retreats each October and this year I’m so excited to host our next retreat in Nosara, Costa Rica. Come one come all!
Any thoughts, advice, or strategies you can share for fostering brand loyalty?
I definitely use social media, but find that many of our students are on different forms of communication and many stopped using social media due to the pandemic. So how do you keep in front of people when the old channels don’t work the same?
I send newsletters out…but only when I have something to share. I don’t want to bombard inboxes and I want my community to want to read what we have to say. I talk to my teachers to see how their classes are and if there is anyone we need to reach out to. We partner with local business owners to provide free community events and workshops and we donate a portion of our funds every month to a local charity or community in need. In 2021 we donated over $2500 to our local Help and Hope Center.
I also send hand written thank you cards every year to our members. This year we sent cards with our teachers picture on it so they have a reminder of the awesome group of yogis that help them on their own personal journey.
How did you build your audience on social media?
We’ve taken a few different routes with social media, but we’ve found that partnering on a promotion or business initiative with local business owners helped drive new followers quickly. Our first one on Instagram was with 5 other small business leaders that were fairly new to Castle Rock. We all offered up something as part of the promotion/give away and asked our followers to like each of the business pages and put a comment in the comment box so we could track them. It doubled our followers in a matter of days.
We also add our social tags on all our newsletters and outreach to new students. We tag other small businesses and comment as often as we can on their posts to help build brand awareness.
Facebook we find that we get more followers with events we host and community outreach programs. Both platforms for us serve a different audience and so it’s important to keep them both relevant. Posting too much content that isn’t part of our brand tends to get less traffic. Posts with pictures of real people in the studio or events we host get a lot of activity as we appear real to others and they can relate to what they see.
- Website: www.bukayoga.com
- Instagram: Buka Yoga LLC
- Facebook: Buka Yoga LLC
- Linkedin: Brooke Page-Thompson
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