Atlas Studios, founded by director Denise Davis-Gains, offers interactive live and on-demand yoga classes, workshops and training that go deep and stay with you! While the business began 20 years ago, Davis-Gains said she decided in 2019 it was time to take it from a mom business to a big-girl business. She wanted to leverage her educations and access resources to grow what she had begun!
“Digital Main Street brought us to Rhyze Ventures,’ said Davis-Gains. “I know I’m coachable, and I knew the program could make a difference.” After visiting and interviewing some other resources she decided on Innovation Guelph (IG). “When I came to IG, I felt like I was at home,” she said. “They understood what I wanted to achieve, exhibited professionalism and organization and energetically it was good fit.”
While participating in Rhyze Ventures, Atlas Studios who had zero income from digital prior, replaced their income completely with digital delivery. “I believe what we are building is either self-sustaining or, when we add the physical space again, we are on a trajectory to dramatically increase revenue.”
Davis-Gains said she set a goal in 2019 to record 100 hours of content and she achieved 72 – she said failing up is still a good place to be. She is on the path to creating 4000 pieces of content which has been challenging due to lockdowns. “We’re consistently meeting content goals and moving from a community-based studio to international,” she said. “Yoga teacher training has included both local and international participants because of our digital presence, bringing people together to study.”
Working with IG, she said she’s implemented a social media strategy and content calendar taking followers from the 100s to over 2,000. She has valued the focus participating in Rhyze Ventures brought to her business, remembering to work on her business not just in it. She said having a business coach is worth its weight in gold. “I’m resilient,” she said. “But I have more tools than I realized to manage and scale my business. The coaches helped me see that better than I did before.” Her project involved social media, Google Ads and defining her target market. All three have done spectacularly she said.
She is also preparing to launch a podcast series that she described as an instrument of good reflecting her social enterprise values. One quarter of it’s content will be based on public service. She also provides free unlimited online yoga access to front line workers and military deployed and their families.
Because she is a professor of yoga, Davis-Gains said her target market includes yoga teachers who want to grow their skills to a higher level. “We are learning to pivot hard and to realize when we are going too broad,” she said. She’s also implemented a scheduling app that has seen participants more than double in 3.5 months with a goal to reach 1000 by the end of this year.
“At the core of my business is compassion,” she said. “I’m aligned with my long-term interest in being a better human and helping others achieve that.”