Today we’d like to introduce you to Jessica Kang.
Jessica, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I never set out to start a company. I needed work after coming back stateside from three years of traveling/teaching.
It was only suppose to be temporary for me to save enough money to go back to traveling… didn’t get bitten, I got infected by the traveling bug!
When I came back to L.A. I didn’t have a car or place to stay, so I ended up staying with my best friend, Sunny, in Burbank. I’d catch a ride with her to her work in Korea-town in the morning and from there take the bus and metro to get around to reacquaint myself with the city and find work. That was around 2011/2012 where downtown development was starting to really take off. I needed a teaching schedule where a car was not needed to move around from studio to studio.
One day walking towards the metro station I passed by a high rise and decided to stick my head in and see if they’d be interested in offering yoga classes to their residents. It’s been over seven years and we’re still there teaching yoga classes at Apex.
Between my first class at our first property to now with over 21 weekly classes and 18 properties, and 15 yoga teachers, I was a corporate yoga teacher for a designer jean company, AG Jeans for over four years. I was the owner/president’s private yoga teacher who then offered yoga to his staff five days a week. He carved out a small yoga studio inside the fitness center he had built on the company lot. From there I went from having no job to being a private corporate yoga teacher and having to put my traveling plans on hold.
While keeping my day job as a corporate yoga teacher, I was still teaching at the residential property and knocking on property managers’ doors offering yoga classes as an amenity.
The whole process of creating something from nothing, without any knowledge of knowing what to do or what you’re doing was a crash course in ‘Business-What the Hell am I Doing?!”… and an opportunity to put the practice of yoga to practice in real life. The frustration of realizing that I knew nothing, fear of failure, feeling of drowning in self-pity, debt and watching everyone move forward as I was feeling stuck, created a sense of pure isolation and fear like I have never experienced in recent memory.
Thankfully, I had years of practicing and teaching yoga that helped me through the rough terrains of rejections and hurdles in starting something new:
First, start where you’re at. We are all beginners at some point in our lives.
Do the best that you can with what you have, that’s something…
Never compare yourself to others, you don’t know their story and you’re just getting started…
Don’t listen your monkey brain, listen to your breath, your body…
Rest when you need to…
You don’t have to know everything to do one thing…
It’s practice, not perfection…
Falling is part of the practice/process…
It doesn’t get any easier, but you’ll get stronger and wiser…
Remember to breathe.
And asking for help, we can’t do this all by ourselves.
That’s an incredible and inspiring story. So many people are afraid to start because they don’t want to quit their job or because they feel like they don’t know what to do – but you managed to learn along the way and do it without quitting your job. There’s definitely a lot to learn from your story. Has it been a smooth road overall? If not, what were some of the challenges?
It definitely has not been a smooth road, what’s the fun in that? And still isn’t, always new challenges to overcome, mistakes made and lessons to be learned,
The biggest challenge when first getting started from just me teaching to adding more classes and other teachers was setting up as a business. I had no prior business experience nor did I know anyone else at that time to help me set up a business like what I was doing.
Words like vendor, insurance verification, compliant… they were speaking a whole different language I was not aware of and weaving through the process not only took a lot of time but money, money I didn’t have. I felt like I was getting in over my head and did I really want to go down this rabbit hole where it could lead me to nowhere?
The setbacks of starting this business was one thing but getting clients to trust someone who doesn’t have much referral and business experience in the multi-family industry was a whole different story.
But I felt like I dug my heels in too deep to walk away and better to see where it leads than to not try at all.
What else should we know about Yogis on the Move?
Yogis on the Move is an amenity service mobile yoga studio. We first started off servicing residential properties but we also teach at hotels, offices, hospitals, conventions and schools… basically anywhere they have a safe clean space, we can teach.
We don’t have a brick-n-mortar, all of our teachers are mobile, independent contractors that teach at some of the most luxurious and modern communities around Los Angeles. All the classes are taught in a mixed-level style, suitable for all levels. Teaching in these communities and to welcome all levels of practitioners, I knew I had to place yoga teachers with years of experience and training to offer a well rounded, fun and challenging class to all levels.
We focus on yoga primarily because I am a yoga teacher. I’ve been practicing for over 20 years and teaching for over ten. I believe I service my clients and communities best by focusing on what I know best, yoga. My main goal as a yoga teacher is to offer the best yoga classes so the residents who show up can benefit from this amazing practice like I’ve benefited. It wouldn’t be good business model for me if I over-reached into other fitness programs that I was not familiar with to benefit my overall financial well being.
What I am proud of is what we started, helping residents connect and create a community within a community. You can’t help but connect with each other during class in such an intimate environment where they all have a sense of pride in their yoga journey. We have residents checking in on each other if they’ll be in class or asking what they missed in yoga if they couldn’t make it. After class when some regular students see a new person, they’ll make their way over and introduce themselves, start up a conversation and connect. It’s a great thing to see and experience.
Besides our yoga classes, we are very involved with the community as a whole outside the properties. I personally try to connect with local businesses and help facilitate and organize meet and greet events with residents. We’ve had some great events with local pet stores, other fitness clubs, restaurants, retail stores, etc.
It’s all about connecting and supporting each other as community on and off the mats.
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
My proudest moment comes when new businesses, management reach out to us saying they were referred by other clients, students, local businesses. It feels great to know that we have built a worthy reputation for people to recommend us.
I’m also very proud of our collaborations where we can offer special discounts to our communities and the management. Currently, we work with Center Theatre Group where they offer special resident discounts to certain shows to our client communities and host a Preview Night for the managers and their team. For CTG to want to work with us and see how we can both benefit from working together has been a great pride in how far we’ve come.
We’ve also teamed up with South Park BID (South Park Business Improvement District) and started offering our first public donation yoga class in the new South Park Commons Park just next to AVEN on Grand Ave. We started teaching a weekly yoga class there in October and hold regular weekly classes every Sunday at 10 am!
The collaborations and connections with local businesses, entrepreneurs, community managers, and residents really gives us a sense that we are part of this exciting community and that is something I am very proud of.
- Website: www.yogiosnthemove.com
- Phone: 323-521-9368
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @yogisonthemove
- Facebook: yogisonthemovellc
- Twitter: @yogisonthemove