“We are notoriously known for our friendly community and delightful space, charmed with organic elements of wood and real plants,” says Lizl Fleury. “We are big on community—raising funds for local charities and offering donations towards fundraising events monthly. Our mission is to nurture a positive community of yoga lovers and doers and it’s what makes Elevate a unique studio in the city.”
Since opening its doors in Ottawa’s trendy golden triangle district three years ago, Elevate Yoga has built a dedicated following of yoga students.
“We currently have 30 yoga instructors on our roster,” says Fleury. “Customers vary from month to month, but we generally welcome approximately 900 unique customers each month.”
Elevate’s talented yoga instructors are the base of its attraction. The studio offers hot yoga, warm yoga and cool yoga flow classes by top instructors like Nigel Walker, who leads Elevate Yoga’s teacher training program.
It’s not just the community who benefits from Elevate’s operations, notes Fleury.
“Apart from the freedom of being our own bosses, we wanted to create a business that fostered our passion and drive for helping others elevate their lives,” she says.
The Elevate Yoga .CA story
“Yoga is for everybody and every body is a yoga body,” explains Fleury, stressing her inclusive approach to the practice. “We wanted to break the barriers and stereotypes that prevented others from giving yoga a try. We wanted our foundation to be built around making yoga widely accessible for everyone.”
Thanks to an online scheduler hosted on Elevate’s .CA site, integrated with the popular MindBody App, Elevate’s options for choosing and pre-booking yoga classes has never been easier.
Choosing to take the business online through a .CA was a no-brainer for these first-time entrepreneurs.
“These days, everything is researched and discovered online on multiple platforms and devices,” says Fleury. “It was important for us to establish a good online presence for the success of our business. From our initial launch, we operated the business under our .CA domain name. Our business has been growing steadily ever since.”
There’s no doubt that identifying Elevate as Canadian has had a positive impact on its bottom line.
“There is definitely a great sense of appreciation from the community for small, local, home-grown businesses in the area,” says Fleury, noting she’s greatly appreciated the community support. “Being from the area helps us connect with our customers on a personal level.”
Choosing a .CA domain also simplified their options for choosing a name and web address.
“We wanted to have the simplest domain name possible and a lot of them were already taken. Looking at the .CA domain gave us a lot more options to choose from. At the end of the day, you choose your domain name for your customers. We recommend that they find the domain name that is easiest for their customers to remember.”
Despite their newfound success, Elevate Yoga’s co-founders have had their fair share of ups and downs, just like any other entrepreneur.
“Ironically, we didn’t always have time to do yoga every day,” Fleury says. “We knew that starting our own business was going to consume a lot of our time and entail days of hard work, but we never anticipated the many layers, levels and stages of growing a business. Finding work-life balance has been one of the biggest lessons of growing a business. It still is at times, but when we do find that balance every now and again, it’s the biggest reward that we are so grateful for.”
The company’s current focus is a good one.
“Recently, our biggest challenge has been growth,” says Fleury. “Although we’ve successfully grown our business organically, we are ready to make exciting plans to accelerate the growth of our business.”
Fleury credits much of the studio’s continued success to mentorship and continued support she has received from members of the yoga community.
“Various members (including teachers, volunteers, students) of our Elevate community have given us valuable feedback to help us grow and we are very thankful for that,” she says. “They help keep us connected with what the community wants.”
Her final piece of advice for entrepreneurs?
“Get online! It’s the easiest way to increase awareness and promote your business. Plus, it’s where the party’s at.”