This month we’re excited to introduce you to The Yoga Collective boutique yoga studio located in the picturesque seaside village of Hout Bay, Cape Town.
We spoke to Mandy Hewlett, founder of The Yoga Collective, who’s been teaching yoga in Cape Town since 2014. Mandy joined Bookamat in 2020 when she opened her first yoga studio. Since joining, her business has grown from 100 clients to over 600 and her studio revenue has nearly doubled year on year.
It’s been inspiring to watch how her studio has grown, and how she’s adapted to the curveballs thrown at her. We hope you are inspired by her journey too.
Romi: We’ve had the pleasure of having you on Bookamat since 2020! Can you share with us if you used any other booking systems before using Bookamat and how you’ve been experiencing Bookamat?
Mandy: I used MindBody as a client but I chose Bookamat for my studio because it is reasonably priced and the service from support team is amazing.
Romi: Can you give us a bit of your background and how you got into yoga?
Mandy: I have been practising yoga for more than 20 years, but I got more serious about the practice about ten years ago after the birth of my first child. I did my teacher training in 2014 and once I started teaching I knew this was what I wanted to do with my life. I have never looked back since.
Romi: What led you to opening your own yoga studio in Hout Bay, Cape Town?
Mandy: My journey was really interesting actually. It was the pandemic that was the catalyst for me to finally open my own studio. When we all transitioned to online (Zoom) yoga, I started to build up my own client base. Once I had 100 people on a Whatsapp group it occurred to me that I needed to give them a physical location once we came out of lockdown.
I started off really conservatively with a 40 square metre studio and within a year, we had to take new premises to accommodate the growing client base. We are now in a 108 square metre space with showers, changing rooms and the works! Our database has grown to over 600 people.
Romi: You have quite the team behind you with 6 teachers alongside you. How did you start to grow and expand your studio to bring these incredible teachers on board?
Mandy: I am lucky enough to count some of the best teachers in the country as friends. Many of us trained together or have met through teaching at the various studios around town. We have a wonderful team of teachers at The Yoga Collective – each with their own unique style and voice.
Romi: Do you have any advice for other studio owners who are looking to grow and expand their team?
Mandy: If you love the practice, and you love to teach…that passion will carry through to everything you do and people will enjoy working with you. Most important is to realise that your teachers ARE your business – so treat them well.
Romi: What were some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned in opening your own studio and growing your business?
Mandy: The biggest lesson I learnt is that if you believe in yourself, others will believe in you. Be kind to everyone you meet because you never know what burdens people might be carrying. Treat people with respect, be humble and be kind. And always be open to learning something new. You are never finished learning.
Romi: You offer kids yoga. Can you share what the biggest benefit for kids are to incorporate yoga into their lives?
Mandy: In this incredibly fast- paced world, full of instant gratification…yoga teaches children patience and calmness. It teaches them to take quiet moments out of their day, to connect with their bodies, mind and breath.
Romi: What is the difference between vinyasa yoga and yin yoga? And the health benefits of heated yoga?
Mandy: I have an expert yin yoga teacher heading up the entire yin division of our business who would be better equipped to talk about yin yoga in detail. But as I see it, the main difference would be the influence of Chinese medicine in yin yoga which looks at the meridians in the body and works with the movement of energy in the body referred to as “chi”.
In other forms of yoga (such as, but not exclusively, vinyasa yoga) we would work more with concepts rooted in the Indian systems of belief. For example the chakras, and refer to the energy in the body as “prana”.
In terms of the actual practice itself, yin yoga is slow and more static and works with holding a few select postures (mostly floor based) for lengthened periods of time in order to stimulate the various sets of organs and help the flow of chi.
Vinyasa yoga as we teach it translates as “to place in a special way” and traditionally links a series of postures or asana with a “vinyasa” between each posture.
Romi: You have an exciting Retreat from 24 June – 29 June in Bali, which looks incredible! Can you tell us more about the retreat and when you’re planning a next retreat?
Mandy: We actually postponed the retreat as my fellow host is pregnant – so watch this space!
Romi: For any Cape Town visitors, what are you favourite must-do activities and places to see in Cape town?
Mandy: WOW! There is so much to do…
- We have amazing natural beauty here so if you enjoy hiking you can find amazing hikes all round Cape Town.
- For tourists, a hike up Table Mountain and then coming down in the cable car is a great way to see the city.
- Drive Chapmans peak and all the way to Cape Point nature reserve.
- Visit any of our beautiful beaches.
- Surf our amazing spots.
- Eat in world class restaurants.
- Visit the V&A Waterfront and ride the the Cape Town eye or visit the Two Oceans Aquarium.
- Take a trip to the winelands and do a wine tasting on the wine tram…
I could go on and on! Of course a visit to Hout Bay where you can have fish and chips at the harbour, visit Llandudno or Hout Bay beach, hike Chapmans Peak and take a yoga class at TYC 🙂
We highly encourage you to visit The Yoga Collective next time you visit Cape Town and take a beautiful scenic drive to Hout Bay.
As they said, ‘It’s the perfect time to start something new’. Try a new yoga class, visit a new city, and step out of your comfort zone. The most beautiful things are sound when we explore and wander.
For studio owners wanting further reading about managing a team with Bookamat, see our post Team management with Bookamat.