Iyengar Yoga Center of Nashville

Help support the building of our new yoga studio.

Aretha
Health + Science
$ 71,312
pledged of $ 100,000 goal
321
Backers
0
Days Left

Project Description

Overview:

Hi, my name is Aretha, and I am the owner and director of The Iyengar Yoga Center of Nashville, best known in the Nashville Community as 12South Yoga.

We are raising money to help support the building of our new yoga studio, which broke ground in February 2019 and is set to open winter of 2019.

What makes our new location different — and what has compelled me to do a crowdfunding campaign — is that as a business owner, I am now going to own the building that includes our studio space, helping us secure a permanent home to serve our Nashville community.

I am inviting our yoga community to contribute in making this new space a purposeful and beautiful studio space with me.

Funds raised will help us cover the costs of our internal buildout of the new space (including our waiting area, prop storage, hardwood floors, and a custom-built rope wall).

Our new studio will also undergo a rebrand. We will be called Chestnut Hill Yoga, a tip of the hat to our new neighborhood!

History / Background of the Business

We opened 20 years ago this spring and currently have a skilled team of nine certified Iyengar Yoga teachers. While I am the business owner and the steward of this project, I use “we” and “our” throughout this campaign as our studio community is truly the heart of our business.

We are a well-loved studio and staple in our community in the 12South neighborhood. Rising rents and the impending sale of our current building, however, pushed us to re-envision our future.

While we have been growing our community for years and have a well-established student base and reputation in our city, this move gives us a unique opportunity to have a permanent home base, which is really exciting.

For the past 18 months, I researched many options, talked to every mentor and friend I could, and built a solid team to help me chart a new path. I settled on building a new studio — an official Iyengar Yoga Center — in the Chestnut Hill neighborhood near downtown Nashville, just a few miles from our current studio.

Why your support truly makes a difference:

This crowdfunding campaign, and our ask today, is about inviting our community to take part as we put down permanent roots as a center, to recover critical costs, and to help keep our doors open in our first year and beyond.

In our FAQ section of this campaign I go through in more detail the full cost of the building project, how this money will be used, and why we are using crowdfunding as a platform to support our business. 

What have you and your team done to help make this project a success?

As a business owner, I am quite literally fully invested in this project. I’m selling my home and will be living in a small apartment above the studio. The sale of my home and leveraging of personal savings gave us the initial investment to break ground and finance our current buildout.

It’s been both thrilling and terrifying to go from being a yoga teacher to a studio owner, and now moving into the role of what I call a “reluctant real estate developer.” Countless meetings with my real estate agents, bankers, financial planners, architects, and designers have become part of my weekly task list for the past year.

While “reluctant” at first, I now am very proud to be both a female business owner and a developer contributing to our community. I paired with a women-run real estate group, the Wilson group, to find a location, and I am working with a local bank that aspires to support creatives in Nashville. A student made time in his architectural firm, Centric Architecture, to lend their talent to our project. My daughter, my sisters, family, students, and friends have given hours of priceless encouragement, enthusiasm, and skills. Needless to say, the support of my community has made all the difference!

Thankfully, while I am the steward of this project, I am definitely not alone in my sacrifices:

This past year, the teachers who work alongside me have made sacrifices in their income to offset the costs of rising rents. My teachers also pay for their own classes and certifications out of their passion for and dedication to yoga. They show up every week to teach motivated by love. That’s not lost on me, and I know that’s not lost on our students. And they are an amazing group that inspires me and have given wings to this leap of faith.

Our students have made sacrifices, too. This year to cover rising rent costs and a frivolous class tax, we’ve also had to increase class prices. I continue to be grateful for your investment each time you walk in our door. You keep us open.

While a permanent space won’t solve for all these financial challenges, it will help us know that we are not going to be at the mercy of landlords or sharply increased costs in the near term. As many native Nashvillians have seen in our aggressively growing real estate market, too many cherished businesses have been forced out of their homes and neighborhoods. Nashville has seen a boom, but it has not always been for the benefit of local businesses and people who make this city so great.

It has been worth it to me to make sacrifices to keep my yoga community together and to provide a studio space for my teachers and students, and it is my great hope that you will find this a worthy cause to support as well.

Yes, I am running a business. But as anyone who has decided to make their living sharing the practice of yoga, our approach to yoga is not geared around how to optimize profits; it is geared around providing the best, most affordable, and accessible experience for our students.  

To be able to have the assurance that we’re going to recover as a business from this move is what keeps me up at night. Our crowdfunding campaign is a way for my incredible teachers and me to have our community join us in making this dream come to life and to truly invest alongside us to make this space beautiful.

I share these details because I want my students and potential backers to know just a few of the ways we are doing everything we can as a business to help this new center come into being and why your support — at any level — matters.

Our vision to the future:

I want to make sure that our studio will flourish for many decades to come.

We are so thankful to everyone who has supported us through the years, and we know that it’s a big ask for us to look for donations through crowdfunding — especially with such an aggressive goal of $100,000. But we are going to make this happen, and we are putting down amazing roots once and for all in a wonderful city like Nashville.

Our dream is that the future Iyengar teachers — who may very well be in diapers today — will one day walk through the doors, learning and teaching in our community!

Your gift lifts us up, no matter the amount!

We hope that you as students and those who happen upon our campaign see how important your gift is for our center, so please consider giving what you can.

Yoga is a way of life, and I hope my students will consider giving a contribution to this center as a gift to themselves, a devotion to their practice, and a donation to the broader health and well-being of the Nashville community.

I am also asking that other individuals who are inspired to support women-led businesses consider a donation, too!

As a single woman running this business, I truly understand and appreciate the guidance and support of those passionate about helping cultivate female business leaders. I’ve had an incredible team of mentors thus far, and I am excited to meet other mentors and supporters through this campaign and the iFundWomen platform.

So join us by donating today. There are perks you can choose from, but ultimately we hope you’re driven to contribute whatever you can.

Thank you, and Namaste.

Aretha

 

The Project FAQs

Why $100,000?

$100,000 represents a portion of the costs of the buildout of the interior of our yoga studio, including rope walls, props and prop storage, floors, signage, bathrooms, commercial-grade sprinkler system, water fountains, and minimal decor.

Where will my funds go?

Once we factor out the standard crowdfunding transaction fees and taxes (taxes and fees are part of every crowdfunding platform and represent about 25–30% of all we collect), every remaining penny donated will be applied to the studio costs. Because the costs are being paid for at the outset in our construction loan, the money will be used to pay down our mortgage each month. This provides a critical support system in our first year of business in a new location.

How much is this project costing in total?

I’ll be the first to admit that $100,000 is an ambitious crowdfunding goal. But the reality is that it’s just a small piece of the puzzle, as our building project has capped out so far at just under $1.8 million for the business location on the bottom floor and two residential units above it.

Why such an expensive project?

This high price is due in large part to our desire to stay centrally located in Nashville in order to continue to serve our existing clients. The residential units allow for additional funding for the building as a whole.

Staying in a central location with easy access routes for our student base was paramount, which had a huge impact on the total costs of the project. Staying as close as possible to our current location — so as to keep our community of nearby students as intact as possible — was a business decision we had to weigh. (The farther we moved, the less expensive the land but higher potential to lose business in the long term.) All of these factors played a role.

If you’re living above the studio, are funds going to your house?

No. Selling my current home and living above the studio was part of what allowed me to finance such a big undertaking. The $100,000 for this campaign will only go toward the yoga studio and isn’t tied to the two residential units above the business space.

Will the studio be built if you don’t hit your goal?

Yes. This is because as an individual — I, Aretha — did not want to make any business decisions that weren’t prudent. I have had a great team of advisors — real estate agents, financial advisors, and my partners at the bank — who have helped me steer this project.  

This is a huge undertaking that will, of course, leave me vulnerable like any business owner would be if a business didn’t do well or we encountered an unexpected hurdle. That’s where your role as a backer is critical and appreciated deeply.

This fundraising effort provides us a few critical support mechanisms:

#1. It allows passionate students a way to give alongside me to show their support and their own investment in building a permanent yoga community. What value is money if you don’t put it toward growing something you love and helping others? My goal in running a yoga business has never been about making profit, but rather about making an impact. I want to invite others to help me make the impact of a permanent Iyengar Yoga Center serving the Nashville community that will have a place to grow and thrive for years to come. I am so proud to be a steward of such a wonderful business, although at this juncture, I am admittedly terrified at such a big undertaking!  

#2. Crowdfunding provides a critical safety net in our first few months of business that will help us ensure that while moving to a new location we have plenty of cash flow to cover our mortgage. We expect to see an initial drop in number of students once we move, and this crowdfunding campaign can help us weather that storm.

#3. Should we raise above and beyond what we are aiming for with our ambitious goal or should the studio recover more quickly from the move than we anticipated, we will apply the funds toward paying down the debt the business has taken on for the studio’s buildout. And as we all know with debt and interest, potential early payment will have a beneficial compounding impact over the long term for the health of the business. This allows us wiggle room to offer classes to those that may not be able to afford to pay, keep class costs as affordable as possible, and pay our teachers a fair wage for the amazing work they do.

What are the details of the membership donation level?

This is truly one of the most exciting perks we’re offering! Starting January 2020, those backing at this level ($300+) will receive a membership. This means you can come to the studio for set times during the week and use the space for your own self-directed practice time. While these days of the week and windows for open hours aren’t set in stone, our goal is to have at least three, two-hour windows during the week where students can use our studio to do their home practice, particularly in the morning.

For example, we would offer open classes for individuals to practice by themselves but in our facility on Mondays 8:00–10:00 a.m., Tuesdays 6:30–8:30 a.m., and Thursdays from 12:00–2:00 p.m. PLEASE NOTE: These times are just examples to give you an idea of what we are hoping to offer, and the official windows will not be set until closer to January 2020. Membership will also include savings on special class series and some events. Memberships will not include discounts on regular classes or class passes.

Memberships will still be available to purchase in January 2020 if you choose not to back at the $300+ level, although we have not set up pricing just yet for what they might be. What we can say is that $300 is a great deal for an annual membership fee!  

What makes Chestnut Hill Yoga an official “Iyengar Yoga Center,” and why is that different from other yoga studios?

Iyengar Yoga Centers exist in many cities throughout the U.S. and internationally. These centers serve as some of the earliest yoga centers founded in the U.S. and abroad. In fact, our center in Nashville is among Nashville’s first few yoga studios. Our yoga classes support and promote the teachings of BKS Iyengar, one of the world’s first and foremost teachers on the subject of yoga.  (You can learn more about Iyengar and his teaching legacy at https://iynaus.org/.)

One critical area that makes Iyengar Yoga certification unique and distinct from methodologies like Hot Yoga, Vinyasa, or other modalities is that Iyengar teachers go through rigorous, ongoing training, mentoring, and certification examination over the course of many years to help offer a safe and progressive approach to the practice and study of yoga.

Iyengar Yoga at the national level has tiered certification — meaning teachers are trained as Introductory, Junior, and Senior levels — which fosters a continuous and progressive approach to skill building for our teachers over time.

Simply put: Our teachers are trained and well-equipped to work with our students, however they arrive in our studio. This includes those who are beginners in yoga and can barely touch their toes, to pregnant women, to triathletes at their peak performance seeking a balanced practice, all the way to advanced yogis decades into their yoga journey.

Iyengar Yoga is welcoming, challenging, and a noncompetitive environment to enjoy yoga. We pride ourselves in being able to open our doors to anyone who wants to start their journey on the path of yoga.

And while you may find fantastic teachers offering other modalities, Iyengar’s certification process helps you rest assured that you are working with a teacher who has been not only vigorously trained, but also tested by an independent peer-reviewed process at the regional or national level. Because we’re the only Iyengar Center, this makes us truly unique as a studio in Nashville.

Why change the name?

While we love the 12South moniker, it’s the downside of naming a business after a street you are renting on! We’re excited for a fresh start as Chestnut Hill Yoga in a new neighborhood. And this time, we own the place, so hopefully we won’t be rebranding anytime soon!

Kathleen Judah
05/10/2019
Donor Wall Recognition
$ 150
Kirk M
05/10/2019
Monetary Contribution
$ 50
05/10/2019
Tote Bag + Companion Passes
$ 75
05/10/2019
Tote Bag + Companion Passes
$ 100
Anna Lee Crenshaw
05/10/2019
Donor Wall Recognition
$ 150
Jennifer Chaffin
05/10/2019
Donor Wall Recognition
$ 150
05/10/2019
Donor Wall Recognition
$ 150
Sharon Wilkes
05/10/2019
Monetary Contribution
$ 50
E. Brown
05/10/2019
Opening Reception Invite
$ 20
Lisa Kearny
05/10/2019
Tote Bag + Companion Passes
$ 75
Monetary Contribution

Any gift you can make to support our studio is incredibly meaningful to our team. We encourage you to give an amount you feel comfortable with. Every penny will be invested in our success as we move locations. All donors at any level will receive an invitation to our opening reception. Please browse the list below for a full description of our suggested giving levels and perks. 

21 Supporters
Contribute
$ 20
Opening Reception Invite

Thank you for your Devotional Gift!

This amount is the equivalent costs of a drop-in class. At this level - and any giving level - you'll receive an invitation to our opening reception and a thank-you shout out on our Facebook page!  

69 Supporters
Select this reward
$ 75
Tote Bag + Companion Passes

Thanks for giving us props! 

Building out the prop storage is a huge part of our internal buildout. Gifts at this donation level are representative of this aspect of our internal buildout: Props and prog storage! 

Props are critical to providing access to yoga for all ages and skill levels. Thanks for helping us make classes open and accessible to anyone who wants to enjoy yoga.

You’ll be thanked with three companion passes to bring a friend to yoga free, a lovely thank you tote bag, and an opening reception invitation.

57 Supporters
Select this reward
$ 150
Donor Wall Recognition

Thanks for sponsoring our Rope Wall! 

At this level, you’re helping fund aspects of our studio that includes our brand-new rope wall. Donors at this level will be thanked for leaving their mark on our walls with a literal mark on our walls with a dedicate donor recognition wall. 

Our dedicated donor recognition wall will have a list of names at this level and up — a permanent fixture in our new waiting area. This level will also include the perks of the tote bag, companion passes, and opening reception invite.

54 Supporters
Select this reward
$ 300
1-Year Membership + First Class Invite

Thank you for this transformational gift! 

Donors who give at the $300 and up level are providing a generous and critical investment in the studio.

We’re inviting backers at this amount to join us for our very first class at the center. This will be a 1-hour devotional class just before our opening reception. You’ll also get a 1-year membership to the studio starting January 1, 2020!  

Membership includes a selection of weekly open practice hours during the week and discounts on a selection of specialty classes and workshops.  

While we haven’t formalized our membership program (see FAQ for more details), we’ll be excited to share more perks throughout the 2020 year.

And, as with the other levels, you’ll also have your name included on our donor wall and receive the thank you tote bag, companion passes, and invitation to our opening reception.

120 Supporters
Select this reward

Rewards

Monetary Contribution

Any gift you can make to support our studio is incredibly meaningful to our team. We encourage you to give an amount you feel comfortable with. Every penny will be invested in our success as we move locations. All donors at any level will receive an invitation to our opening reception. Please browse the list below for a full description of our suggested giving levels and perks. 

21 Supporters
Contribute
$ 20
Opening Reception Invite

Thank you for your Devotional Gift!

This amount is the equivalent costs of a drop-in class. At this level - and any giving level - you'll receive an invitation to our opening reception and a thank-you shout out on our Facebook page!  

69 Supporters
Select this reward
$ 75
Tote Bag + Companion Passes

Thanks for giving us props! 

Building out the prop storage is a huge part of our internal buildout. Gifts at this donation level are representative of this aspect of our internal buildout: Props and prog storage! 

Props are critical to providing access to yoga for all ages and skill levels. Thanks for helping us make classes open and accessible to anyone who wants to enjoy yoga.

You’ll be thanked with three companion passes to bring a friend to yoga free, a lovely thank you tote bag, and an opening reception invitation.

57 Supporters
Select this reward
$ 150
Donor Wall Recognition

Thanks for sponsoring our Rope Wall! 

At this level, you’re helping fund aspects of our studio that includes our brand-new rope wall. Donors at this level will be thanked for leaving their mark on our walls with a literal mark on our walls with a dedicate donor recognition wall. 

Our dedicated donor recognition wall will have a list of names at this level and up — a permanent fixture in our new waiting area. This level will also include the perks of the tote bag, companion passes, and opening reception invite.

54 Supporters
Select this reward
$ 300
1-Year Membership + First Class Invite

Thank you for this transformational gift! 

Donors who give at the $300 and up level are providing a generous and critical investment in the studio.

We’re inviting backers at this amount to join us for our very first class at the center. This will be a 1-hour devotional class just before our opening reception. You’ll also get a 1-year membership to the studio starting January 1, 2020!  

Membership includes a selection of weekly open practice hours during the week and discounts on a selection of specialty classes and workshops.  

While we haven’t formalized our membership program (see FAQ for more details), we’ll be excited to share more perks throughout the 2020 year.

And, as with the other levels, you’ll also have your name included on our donor wall and receive the thank you tote bag, companion passes, and invitation to our opening reception.

120 Supporters
Select this reward