Tuesday, June 05, 2007


The June 11 New York magazine has an article about the profitability of yoga studio ownership. It uses as its subject a new-ish Chelsea studio called Joschi Body Bodega, run by an aspiring guru named..... Joschi. (It's heartening to know that there is at least one studio in America where the focus is on the internal benefits of yoga).

The most-profitable yoga studios are efficient: They fill four to five classes daily, plus private classes. Joschi, which opened in October, aims for the broadest client base by offering 25 varied weekly classes ($17) rather than specializing in one branch of yoga. Joschi Schwarz teaches 75 percent of the classes himself, which saves on teacher costs and helps brand him as a guru. Most studios hope to be profitable within two years. “We aimed for six months,” says business manager and co-owner Monika Werner. “We’re not quite there yet. Joschi and I work for free.” The studio needs roughly 530 students a month to break even; they’ve recently had closer to 450.

I do like it when the owner teaches a lot of classes. Too often, it seems that the owner waltzes to teach three or four (or fewer) classes a week and spends the rest of their time running the business. Or teaching elsewhere. Or traveling and giving workshops. Or something. Which is sad, because in many cases the students really want to take class with them. More often than not, their personal practice also disappears.

Best Ways to Make Money: Private classes ($95 per hour), Joschi’s bread-and-butter. Members ($140 for one-month unlimited). “It’s the same principle as a gym membership,” says Michele Campaniello, a former studio owner. “You count on people not showing up.”

Wow, is that cynical.

THE BEST WAY TO MAKE MONEY: Ten-class packs "You'd rather sell a twenty-pack, because people will let them expire," says Campaniello. "People have big eyes."

And here I thought the intent was to reward regular students and help them afford to continue taking classes.

Other Ways to Cash In: Teacher training ($2,000 to $3,000 per student): three-month, 225-hour classes for a few dozen enrollees. Studio rental ($45 to $70 per hour): Joschi’s studios are rented to other teachers, theater and dance auditions, and for social events.

And the way to *not* make money?

Pay your teachers a decent wage.

Thanks to Dreyfus for the hot news tip.

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