In Motion Yoga LLC opened their first location in Chicago, tucked away from Downtown in Riverwest. When you talk of opening a store everyone will tell you location, location, location. Well unfortunately this was not the case. If you stood outside and counted the cars driving by you could probable do so on one hand for the entire day.
I worked on the studio for two months prior to opening day to attempt to make everything perfect. Eventually the store opened and saying I was very nervous was an understatement. Was it good enough, will people find the place, do I have enough training, all went thru my mind and I was not any of those things nor prepared for what was to happen…. because nothing happened. Nobody came. I hired a couple teachers right away and hoped for the best. I taught the majority of the classes to keep the highest overall expense down. Not many people came the first few months, nobody knew it was there nor did people want to go to a place where only a few people are walking into. I did not have money to advertise, there was no street traffic and I was relatively unknown in Chicago. I needed an effective way to advertise that would not cost me much upfront.
I knew very little of social marketing at the time but knew that would be the key to success to a store tucked away that nobody ever saw or heard of. My first friend who brought me to yoga was a woman named, Jana Anderson, she had initially brought me on a deal from Groupon. I started to look into this marketing and wanted to contact Groupon. Come to find out you just dont get right thru to Groupon as a new Merchant. Groupon had a bit of arrogance to them in 2011, they changed the world of marketing overnight. People were shopping different and they honed in on this fact before anyone else knew what hit them, Groupon had cornered the market. I miss that arrogance Groupon once had, it was sexy. But non the less, I hit many brick walls to run this first promo. I believe I recognize Groupon as my first War in the Yoga Business. They took my info, assigned me a rep and put me into a contract and said ” we will call you”. Groupon only ran with established businesses. I did not like my answer but nothing I could do but wait, infuriate and look forward. I ran with the smaller based promotion sites like bloomspot, guiltcity and Living Social to at least get my name out there, the promos at least got the word out and kept the business alive. Watch your back and what you sign, it really does mean what it says.
I battled with Groupon do get a run date, I am sure my first rep would remember me, as do they all. I have had several reps thru the years, I like to hear there names now as most have moved up the Corporate Ladder and are the ones running that once young company. I was able to get one about 6 months after opening my doors. I was excited to see the numbers from sales of my competitors. My first ad with them went ok but I was not quite satisfied with the results. It was a sale but didnt give the savings that attracted the masses. I called my rep at the time to discuss ways to increase sales volume and revenue. We came up with the 30 for 30, 30 classes for $30, it set off an immediate craze of buying. We sold over 2000 Groupons in just of matter of days. Was exciting and exactly what I was looking for. The next day I had a line at the door and a parking problem but was an instant success.
Back than things ran differently at Groupon, In Dec 2011 when this ran for the first time Groupon ran under a different Model. They took a company and ran it for a focused amount of days usually 7 days. It was a model I agreed with, while your practically giving the classes away, the deal was soo good that people just bought them. About 10% or less of the People would use all of the 30 classes by the expiration. 20% used about half and Roughly 40% of he people would never even walk thru your door. That was the beauty of Groupn back than. The people that didnt use it paid for the people that abused it (actually used it). The only person that didnt win was the lazy asshole that never got off their couch. The first check I received was pretty amazing to any small business owner. That promotion changed my marketing outlook and gave birth to the idea of “New Way of Yoga”, a business concept based behind Yoga for the People.”.
Groupon now runs on a modified platform. While the old way was great, the check you received was great. I actually used my first check to successfully double my space, I took over the empty store that was next to me. While this sudden burst of cash was great for my business it may have been one of the reasons Groupon changed the model so Drastically. They no longer run the features in just 7 days, rather they leave the ad running for months at a time. Customers have caught on to this and are mostly running ads to give the consumer a better experience and allows customers to try new places at a great discount. This also does away with the large lines at doors, staggers out the 1000 phone calls you would get on the first day, it gives the consumer the edge. Either way my only problem than was I need a bigger space, which is now solved with Yoga for the People.
The “Model” eventually became what is now know as Yoga for the People. Bring the cost of Yoga down by bringing the numbers.
Yoga for the People / Chicago Groupon promotion ended Feb 15th 2014.