Our mang’Oh story started in 2007 when I was living in France and Erica was running around NYC teaching yoga. On a trip to visit me (while our other sister got engaged to her high school sweetheart), Erica popped the question:
“Do you want to buy a yoga studio?”
I was attending business school at the time and didn’t yet have a clue as to what I wanted to do after graduation. The idea of owning something sounded fun, particularly if I could do it with Erica. The owner of the studio needed to sell, Erica thought the place had strong potential, and I could try to use some of the things that I had learned in school.
While I finished my studies, and Erica returned to NYC to continue teaching, we managed to scrape together the funds to buy the studio. The process was a bit of a whirlwind, involving taking out a line of credit, accepting a loan from a gracious student, and draining our savings accounts.
In all honesty, it happened a bit too quickly to raise any doubts in our minds as to whether this little venture was a wise idea or not. Which is probably how most ventures begin – because, let’s face it, throwing all of one’s life savings into a failing business is probably not what the financial planners would suggest.
Reality didn’t quite hit until our closing date of April 13th – a Friday by the way. We decided to bring in reinforcements: our creative genius brother-in-law arrived from Houston to revamp the studio in just one weekend while Erica’s techie husband-to-be built us a new website from scratch. Thank goodness for family.
The first year was hectic. There were times when cash was so tight that I’d arrive at the bank first thing in the morning to deposit what little money had arrived the day before. I would schedule out bills based on which ones were most important (ie, could we teach a class without a teacher? No way. Without electricity? Possible. Thankfully we never had to test that idea out).
So…you must be wondering.
What is this blog about? And why would I read a blog written by the owners of a yoga studio?
When we started out, we were young, single and pretty naïve. We needed to make a living (as in, buy food and pay rent), but beyond that our needs were pretty simple.
But life gets complex. In 2009, I moved to South Africa for work and love. In 2011, we both got married. In 2014, we both had babies – one day apart (that wasn’t planned, by the way).
As we’ve added jobs, husbands and little humans to the mix, we’ve started to think a lot about what it means to make your life work for you – how to build a life, not just a career. How to combine passions and profit, without losing the purpose. And…most importantly to us…how to build a business that makes us excited to get up in the morning but gives us the time and energy to care for our families and ourselves at the same time.
Fast forward 8 years and we’re still opening our doors every day of the week.
Most months we don’t have to decide whether to pay the electricity or not. There is no doubt that we are still a small and humble operation, but we are blessed to have a wonderful group of teachers, staff members and students who choose to call mang’Oh their yoga home.
As we continue our adventure of mang’Oh, we want to reflect on how making a living is really about building a life. We want to think about how the practice of yoga affects our lives outside of the studio. We want to talk to people who are doing things that they are passionate about, while still paying the bills and having time for friends, family and fun.
We’re writing this to learn from our experiences and to learn from you too.
Thanks for stopping by!
Love and light,
Erica & Cynthia