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Meet Robert Kittleman and Jenny Vande Hei of Ra Yoga

Today we’d like to introduce you to Robert Kittleman and Jenny Vande Hei.

Robert and Jenny, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Ra Yoga was born out of the desire to escape the boredom and regularity of cubicle life in corporate America. I would rush every weekday from my desk job to take a 6:30pm yoga class in Huntington Beach. Until one day a new teacher stepped in to teach one of these classes, my life was honestly changed forever. Jenny (my future business partner) was a recent graduate of a teacher training program but she had a passion and creative vision that was unlike any teacher I had experienced prior.

We became fast friends and after about a year we both decided to take a major risk and open our own yoga studio in the heart of orange county. The whole process was very hectic as we had no experience ever opening a business and had very little funds to get it all done. Luckily, we have survived and thrived seven years later with multiple locations.

Has it been a smooth road?
My favorite struggle story has always been what it is like to open a business on a very tight budget.

When we opened Ra Yoga in March 2011 we were 5 months behind our open date, we owed 1 month of back rent, had racked up $50K in American Express debt, had no money for a sign on the building and only $5K in cash in the bank. Honestly, looking back, I have no idea how we crawled our way out of that hole.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
Ra Yoga attempts to be more than just another yoga studio, at our core we strive to be a community of creative innovators in every sense of the word. We have one of the best class offerings in Orange County with over 14 yoga styles offered and more than 200 classes per week. We try to equally represent both the newer and older forms of yoga, the more relaxed and more vigorous practices. In end, we have hopefully created a place where anyone who wants to find their yoga, can find it at Ra. I would have to say that I am most proud of the loving community we have built between our students and teachers as well as the unity between our teaching staff. Shockingly, egos can flare even in the yoga environment yet we do our best to squash it as it arises.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
The best part about starting a fitness studio in Southern California is that you already have a well-educated client base. I would venture to think per capita there are more fitness enthusiasts in Southern California than anywhere else in the US. While it is definitely expensive to operate a business here, there is definitely revenue that can be generated to cover costs.

Pricing:

  • Monthly Unlimited Yoga Membership – $110 per month
  • 1x per Month Membership – $54 per month
  • 1 Year unlimited yoga – $1150

Contact Info:


Image Credit:
Kaitlin Journigan

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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