We chatted with Rose Fitzgerald, owner of Plum Yoga Dallas, about her experience opening the studio and how she built a successful business.
TELL ME ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND. HOW DID YOU COME TO OWN AND OPERATE A STUDIO?
I’m a bit of a competitive, Type A personality, so yoga never used to be part of my life. When my workouts and a lack of stretching led to hamstrings so tight that I couldn’t touch my toes, a trainer recommended that I give yoga a try. To say that I was reluctant would be an understatement – I was flat out defiant! A sweet (and patient) friend finally convinced me to try my first yoga class, and I soon came to realize that I could find time every day to make my way to the mat, put down my to-do list, and live in the moment. It is still very much a journey for me, but yoga has taught me that balance is finding the right proportions in life – finding strength where there is weakness, flexibility where there is tightness, and softness in the intensity.
As my husband and I moved closer to becoming empty-nesters, I started asking myself some big questions: What is my purpose? Where am I going? What is my true passion? How do I make a meaningful difference? Plum Yoga has been the answer to all of those questions for me. I took the plunge last year and have worked to balance my love of yoga with my practical business experience as a former real estate finance executive, active community volunteer, and philanthropist. Plum is an opportunity for me to take a risk, to seek fulfillment, to assemble an incredible team and build something bigger than the sum of its parts.
WHAT MAKES PLUM UNIQUE?
We’ve designed Plum to be more than just a yoga studio – our goal is to be a community, and a home-away-from-home for our clients. Plum has an artisanal tea lounge, where people can come to work or catch up with friends, and a curated retail boutique full of amazing products from socially-conscious and local vendors. In addition to traditional yoga offerings, we have one studio with gymnastics-style rings for strength and mobility training, and offer classes like Athletic Stretch and Stress Reduction Stretch. There is truly something for everyone, whether you are a seasoned yogi or just trying to balance out your running/cycling/strength routine.
HOW DID YOU DECIDE ON THIS LOCATION FOR YOUR STUDIO?
We are located in Lowest Greenville, a bustling stretch in the center of Dallas, with great pedestrian traffic. I chose this location because we are surrounded by people who value fitness, wellness, and artisanal products. The space had lots of character, with beautiful natural light and ample, convenient parking. Plus, there is a great sense of community among the businesses in the neighborhood.
HOW DO YOU BUILD OR FOSTER COMMUNITY AT YOUR STUDIO?
I make sure that our instructors and staff understand that, at its core, Plum is a service business. In everything we do, we focus on delivering the best possible product and experience. We do sweat the small stuff, because people notice the little things, and the little things add up to something great. In everything we do at the studio, we focus on being welcoming and getting to know our clients and community. We make sure that whenever someone takes an hour out of their busy day to spend time with us, we offer an energizing, empowering, and effective workout – no one likes to feel like they’ve wasted time! Additionally, our tea lounge creates a dedicated space for people to gather, to get to know fellow classmates and teachers, and to immerse themselves in our community.
WHAT MARKETING TECHNIQUES DO YOU FIND MOST USEFUL?
Word-of-mouth is so important within the yoga and fitness space, so building relationships and engaging in the community have been invaluable for us. We always seek new opportunities to collaborate with strategic partners, including other local businesses, clients, bloggers, etc. Taking the time to really get to know your clients and engage with those friend-of-a-friend connections is worthwhile, because you never know who will be a great person to have in your corner.
WHAT HAS CHANGED ABOUT YOUR PRACTICE OVER TIME?
When I started out, I was focused on “doing” yoga – it was a physical practice of movement. Now, my practice also centers on quieting the mind and finding stillness amidst the chaos of daily life.
WHAT QUESTIONS DO YOU ASK YOURSELF WHEN ADDING NEW CLASS TYPES, WORKSHOPS OR RETAIL?
- What is the need in the market? How do we fill the need?
- Who does the class, workshop, product serve?
- Does this class, workshop, product meet our standards?
- How do we exceed expectations? Can we create an experience worth sharing?
WHAT’S THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU LOOK FOR IN AN INSTRUCTOR?
Emotional maturity and social intelligence are key. I look for experienced, well-trained instructors who exude authenticity and have an engaging presence. Of course, attention to detail and safety consciousness are critical. At Plum, it is also important that our instructors are firmly rooted in the yoga tradition, because we are providing a service that is so much more than a fitness class disguised as yoga.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
People who live their life with purpose and pursue their passions.
WHAT DO YOU HOPE YOUR CLIENTS TAKE AWAY FROM YOUR CLASSES?
A feeling of time well-spent, a fit body, and a relaxed mind. I hope students feel tired, yet fully awake.
WHAT PIECE OF ADVICE DO YOU WISH YOU’D KNOWN WHEN YOU WERE FIRST STARTING OUT AS A BUSINESS OWNER?
I was hesitant to join ClassPass when we first opened, but now I would advise other business owners to embrace ClassPass. ClassPass users are a key part of our demographic, so the exposure that ClassPass brings is valuable! Find ways to work with ClassPass to grow your business, rather than resisting it.