“If you haven’t been introduced to Bri yet, she is our studio owner. She is the energy and the vibe of Happy Flow. This is the story of Happy Flow as told by Bri.
”I never planned on owning a business. It just happened that way. I was teaching private classes all over the place and ran into the problem where I would drive more hours than I would actually teach, and I just wanted a space where I could bring everyone and have them come to me instead of me going to them. I was 21 years old, brand new yoga teacher and straight out of retail sales career where it pays to be bubbly and over friendly.
I searched for 3 months for a space. Brokers and landlords would either hang up, tell me it wasn’t the right space or say they didn’t want “fitness.” Finally, I was so fed up that I even called a number and angrily demanded, “I want to open a yoga studio, I only want to pay X/month, and I don’t need it to be pretty on the outside, I just need a space.”
This particular location was sandwiched in-between a liquor store, hookah lounge, and a smoke shop. Mike, my broker said “Yoga? No, not in this parking lot.” I thought I was going to have to add another person on the list of shutting me down and turning me away until the landowner said, “I have a place about 10 minutes away, thats good for yoga. It’s bigger than what you want, it’s more expensive than what you want, and it’s not really anything that you want. But it is a great spot for yoga.” During the entire drive to this space, I was thinking to myself, “Bri, you are a sales person and this guy is just trying to up-sell you. Hold your ground, call back and say no thank you.”
I walked up to the window, cupped my hand over the glass and looked inside. Out-loud, for the very first time I said, “Dammit, I have to open a yoga studio.” This was a perfect space. Giant windows on each side of the space, for natural light to come beaming through. Super high ceilings which made the space look SO much bigger than it actually was, and concrete flooring that was actually nice and I loved the look.
I called Charles (our co-founder and now husband) and said, “I found a place, I love it, and it’s perfect. And the broker actually wants something to do with me – he didn’t hang up, he sent me to a better place. BUT it’s big, so I need to go to the bank and ask for a loan, because I am going to open up a yoga studio.”
He let me sit on it for a week – should I or shouldn’t I? How would I get the money? Turns out, Charles was looking to invest, but I thought he wanted to invest in a tech startup or buy property, not help me out with my yoga studio! After a week of looking into loans, VC, Angel investment options and listening to youtube and podcasts on how to get an investment…
Charles called me, “I’ll invest in you.”
We wrote up a business plan together. This was March of 2017. We signed the lease in June 2017.
July-a few days before we were going on our last vacation for a while – the city called me, my architectural paperwork was wrong, and I needed another permit because the space was not “zoned” for fitness use. I needed a “Conditional Use Permit”to open a space that I just signed and deposited a 3-year lease on.
I had to stand in front of a room full of city council and convince them to unanimously vote to allow Happy Flow Yoga to open in Placentia. At the time, I was 22 years old and shaking. My heart was beating so fast, I could swear they could see my chest moving up and down. As I wonder if they could sense my nervousness, I was making my heartbeat feel more pronounced. I was so proud of the way I represented my soon-to-be business: I explained how we would impact the city of Placentia and the surrounding communities by bringing yoga to the community. I was so nervous that someone might veto the entire thing. I was already so attached already to something that only a few months earlier was non-existent.
Happy Flow Yoga was accepted unanimously. YES! Ugh, what a relief. I sat down, Charles squeezed my shaking leg and said, “I could see your necklace moving, your heart was beating hard wasn’t it!?” Yeah! It was, and everyone was able to see it!
We turned on the website to accept charges and to start selling our famous $21 for 21 days offer and an hour later we had a sale! What? How did that happen, turns out Brenda, who is still a student with us, was religiously checking to see when we would go live, and it just so happened she checked right after we turned it on Oct 14th 2017. For the month of October we made $300 and I went bananas. November 1st we opened and we actually had students in class!
I remember texting Charles in the early days “Can you believe it!? We had 16 students come in today!!!” I cried the day we opened from being overwhelmed with joy. The community of Placentia actually trusted me and trusted Happy Flow Yoga to guide them through a yoga practice!
We now have upwards of 100 students coming in per day, a studio in the community of Fullerton too and around 30 teachers and front desk staff.
I still cry from being overwhelmed sometimes. I’m writing this at 25 years old, almost at our two year benchmark of opening our first studio in Placentia. I had no idea how much the community of Placentia needed a yoga studio. I had no idea how many life-long friends would come out of this experience, I truly love and care for each soul that walks through our doors. I know the families that belong in our community-when they go on vacation and where. I even share an anniversary with one student and friend. Multiple students have my personal phone number and are on my personal social medias. I don’t consider it to be a burden, I am happy to be a friend.
The community at Happy Flow Yoga is different from any other community I have experienced in- and outside of yoga. These people are truly friends with each other, outside of the studio- even though they have all met through the studio. Class sometimes is so talkative we have to shut it down just to start class. They love each other, they love us, and we love them. It’s more than yoga at this point, it’s the fact that we have created a lifestyle that works with their lives. A no stress, happy, welcoming and genuinely warm and caring community.
I can honestly say that each person who walks into this safe space respects it, as if it were their grandmother’s home. This is due to the transparency of love, care and honesty in this space from the top down. If you haven’t tried out Happy Flow Yoga yet, try us out and experience this great big happy vibe.”
Thank you Bri for sharing your beautiful story with us about your passion for yoga. Thanks to your passion, Placentia, Fullerton, and the communities around them can all share and practice yoga in a safe space with Happy Flow.