YogaBellies is for aspiring yogis who want to practice yoga and have fun without it seeming too ‘mystical’ or unattainable. Classes are specifically for women so that they can enjoy yoga in a comfortable, no pressure environment using yoga practices created specifically around the key stages in a woman’s life.
The main goal was that the business had to be flexible to fit around my family life. I knew most of my franchisees would also have their own families so I wanted this to create flexibility for them. As well as being a job, this was about supporting women throughout every stage of their life.
I wouldn’t say we have competitors! The reason I started the business was because, when I was pregnant, I couldn’t find any suitable exercise classes. There was a real gap in the market for YogaBellies.
There is something for everyone! Whether you’re pregnant, have just had a child, need something to keep the kids entertained or are about to retire, YogaBellies caters for every age. If you’re after a new career, or a change, you can join the franchise and start earning money doing a job you love.
I used my own money to fund YogaBellies, there weren’t too many start-up costs as I was technically teaching from home. Although we went on Dragon’s Den and were offered £50,000 we didn’t actually need the money, we wanted business advice, so we declined.
I worked as a marketing manager in Glasgow but was made redundant on my maternity leave. Rather than seeing this as a setback I saw it as a challenge to turn my dream into a reality. I was able to use the skills I’d learned as a marketing manager to really kick start YogaBellies and accumulate a good number of franchisees.
I developed an interest in yoga while studying for my degree at the University of Strathclyde. After teaching yoga in my bedroom and living room I took YogaBellies to the next level and am now directing teachers who have signed up as franchisees across the UK and in seven other countries. After launching in 2008 we now have 108 franchises all over the world!
All of it! It’s amazing that what I saw as a vision has come true. It’s wonderful to be able to help other women find the perfect work-life balance which other industries just couldn’t offer them. It’s so rewarding seeing women go through such a special and memorable time in their life.
I became so obsessed with the business that I found it really hard to switch off and ended up completely exhausted. Doing that won’t help any business get off the ground! Now, when speaking to new franchisees I make sure they book time off and plan holidays. You can become very wrapped up in work and you need to make time for family and friends too.
Oreo- loved by everyone whether you’re pregnant, with a baby or about to start school!
Hoover! How many people say vacuum cleaner? Mostly people just use the brand name which is great exposure for them. Hopefully one day YogaBellies will be the "Hoover" of yoga!
In 12 months’ time I will be setting up YogaBellies on the other side of the world – Singapore! I’ll still be in contact regularly with the UK team and visiting as much as possible though!
Catch up with our previous 60 Second Start-Up: Womersley Foods