As the sun set over the Zakim bridge, and I finally got stood up after a seated bow and a “Namaste”, I started to chat with Jenna. This was my post-work routine on Wednesdays. We had been friends since our early teens and lately, she had built a thriving, on-site yoga business called Yoga by Jenna. It had been a long road to get there and she had worked hard at building the brand. As you can imagine, therefore, I was surprised when she showed me logo concepts with the name The Corner Studio. She had been looking at physical spaces and had just signed a lease. After all the blood, sweat, and tears to build the Yoga by Jenna brand, why change the name? I thought it was a mistake. I told her so. I was wrong.
After weeks of cleaning, painting, building, and anything else you can imagine that goes into starting a Yoga studio (plus lots of things you and I would never think of), Jenna opened the doors on the Corner Studio. She sublet the basement space to a local startup and taught every class herself. Every class. Seven days a week. Multiple times per day. She was the CEO, the individual contributor, the janitor. Not long after she opened, we had the snowiest winter on record in Boston. Parking bans went into effect, no one left their homes. As you can imagine, that doesn’t make for great business for a yoga studio. Still, however, Jenna hung on. She kept teaching classes, she persevered, she built the Corner Studio brand.
While I questioned abandoning the Yoga by Jenna name, Jenna had a bigger vision. She knew that, while it might start with just her, long-term success would mean that not all the Yoga would be by Jenna. Furthermore, she saw a future in which the Corner Studio would expand beyond yoga to offer many forms of wellness. Today, Jenna is one of seven regular instructors at the studio. Her clients have not one, but two options for massage, and it is not uncommon to attend a potluck or a movie screening in the Corner Studio space. Jenna had the grand vision and belief to envision her dreams and the grit and discipline to make it a reality. Having tried my hand at building a business, I have nothing but the ultimate respect for what she has accomplished.