Creating a new business model with students and teachers in mind
Good Elephant started small, with one class in Carson City, Nevada at a local coffee shop. The business has grown substantially since, with classes in Reno, Carson, and South and North Lake Tahoe.
But Allison is still based in Carson City—and she's not the one leading all these classes. How has all this been possible? By creating her “city leaders” program.
“I realized how many people are interested in yoga but were kind of intimidated to come into the studio, and also couldn't really afford to go there.”
“At first I was basically the city leader for Carson and Reno as we were growing,” says Allison. “In the beginning, all of the teachers were very passionate about the community.” However, as the business grew and Allison's workload increased, she realized she had less time to support all the teachers individually, and that the community aspect of Good Elephant was suffering.
“We realized that we needed to have a person in each city that could really help them out with each class individually, because they're all so different—which is part of what's cool about it,” she says.
In each city, there's a yoga teacher who steps up as the city leader, and is in charge of networking with and supporting other teachers.
“The city leader's job is to know their own city, and find very cool spaces to have classes in, and to also network with different teachers, and find the right teachers, and help connect them with those spaces so they can start classes,” says Allison. “They're helping do what I did when we started, in supporting all the teachers in their own cities.”
By creating her “city leaders” program, Good Elephant has done something truly unique to the yoga studio business model, and created something scalable.
This makes it possible for Good Elephant to expand their classes into a wider range of cities, but also helps support the yoga teachers themselves—who, Allison says, sometimes feel a reluctance to market themselves. “We help the teachers lean how to promote their own classes, which is a big learning thing for yoga teachers to do,” says Allison. “It's hard to promote ourselves.”
All of Good Elephant's teachers also earn a large percentage of revenue from the classes they teach, and they benefit from Good Elephant's city leaders' networking efforts and assistance with promoting classes.