Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The booming business of yoga

CNN reports that yoga is a booming business. One case study: Vital Yoga in Colorado, which boomed from one studio with the sister-owners teaching all classes to a multi-studio operation with more than 40 teachers. The tension between growth and community limits the size of players in the yoga biz. Consider that Vital Yoga started with a donation-based policy that worked, with a boost from Yelp, but when they went out for growth funds they had to adopt a more traditional business model.

"The large majority of yoga and Pilates studios are just one location," said Caitlin Moldvay, an analyst at IBISWorld. One of the biggest players in the market is CorePower, which has 50 locations across five states. But even CorePower only accounts for 0.5% of the market overall. Other larger players include Dahn Yoga and YogaWorks.
Otherwise, "you have entrepreneurs, mom and pops, who are very much wanting to share" their love of yoga, said David Surrenda, CEO of Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in Stockbridge, Mass. And "it tends to be small groups that they share it with. It is not like going to Yankee stadium where you have 50,000 people."
A gigantic Wal-Mart-size yoga studio undercuts the intimacy that makes a studio attractive. "One of the things that really drives a studio is that sense of community," said Micah. "You can't cookie-cutter it."

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