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Dear Luma Community,

 

I know some studio owners regularly send out personal correspondence with their clients.  I much prefer to remain behind the scenes, unless I’m breathing and moving with you in class!  However, I thought you might appreciate some direct communication around our Studio, and some of the changes we’ve been making, as we get ready to embark on 2018 together.

 

You may have noticed our community is thriving.  The studio is buzzing at all times of day with clients of all ages and from all walks of life.  It gives me such pleasure that we succeeded in creating a space that can serve such a broad spectrum of our community; and as we continue I would like nothing more to see even more diversity in our inclusive center.

Wellness and self care are basic human needs.  Did you know that historically (in indigenous populations living in temperate climates) it is estimated that the amount of work any one member of a community needed to do in any given day was around 3 hours?  The rest of the day was free for socializing, art, and play.  With all the resource and innovation we as modern humans demonstrate, why is it that we are so stressed, anxious, and sleep deprived?  Where did we go wrong?  Luma is designed to be a refuge from the trials of modern life.  It also exists to enable ‘Wellness’.  Here is our mission statement:

 

“Luma exists to provide students of all ages and abilities tools that enable them to enjoy the experience of being fully alive.  Not perfect, but physically embodied, emotionally intact, intelligently engaged, energetically vibrant, and awake to community and nature.”

 

This is what Lynda and I believe yoga, community, and a holistic approach to wellness and self care can do, and this is what we believe our center is for.  But in the spirit of transparency, here is where we’re at:

 

From the research I’ve done, yoga and holistic studios (and there are exceptions of course) stay open on average about 10 years. Then, they are either sold to a corporate entity, or simply close.  I believe the reason for this is two-fold:

 

 

  • Small, independent studios struggle to compete with larger entities that survive on membership models (such as gyms), scale (such as corporate yoga centers) or philanthropy, (financial gifts from wealthy investors).  These models enable discounted classes but don’t reflect the costs of running an independent center.  

 

 

 

  • Yoga studios often open in neighborhoods that are ‘up and coming’.  With gentrification, costs go up disproportionally with what can be charged for services.  Both of these circumstances are true for Luma.  Studios stay open for a time, operating at a loss, sometimes relying on continued investment from external sources, or survive on the blood, sweat and tears of their devoted teachers and owners.  Luma, at the moment, is the latter.

 

 

My goal is to see Luma —staffed for your convenience, clean, welcoming, beautiful, and with high-quality offerings for you and your loved ones— succeed as a business, so that it can continue to add value to our community.  I’m not looking for passive income and profits for my family, I simply want to see Luma generate enough revenue to support its management staff, with a little extra to either re-invest in infrastructure or to enable conscious outreach to the people in our communities who need such services and have limited access for financial or other reasons.  

 

To that end, this is what we decided to try:

    • One year ago we started a process of converting much of our pricing to a membership model.  We embarked on this daunting task under the supervision of a business consultant because, though our center is doing almost everything we want it to for our clients, it has yet to prove itself as a sustainable business.  
    • This summer, we transitioned away from our 10 and 20-class passes.  They were very convenient, and they made coming to Luma easy.  It was a ‘pay-as-you-go’ opportunity, and buying in bulk should always be cheaper, and was.  But the model wasn’t working, and we needed to try something else.

 

Here is what we know:

    • You feel better when you come regularly.  Regular self-care is essential.  You know it too.  Take a break from caring for yourself and it’s only a matter of time before you are in crisis —you get sick, some part of your body breaks down, or your relationships start to suffer.  Sooner or later, it’s  simply what happens.  
    • Our hope for you is that you engage in self-care often.  Our new membership model offers the best discounts for those who are committed to coming regularly.  We want to see you in at the very least weekly (that’s not even enough BTW but it’s better than nothing), so that you’re taking care of yourself, so that you can go out and do your good work in the world.  For those of you who need more flexibility, we still offer a drop-in, and we still offer a 4 – pack to use in a month for a shorter burst of attendance.
    • Our hope for Luma, is that we capture sustainable regular income that enables our ongoing efforts and supports us in our mission.  It’s as simple as that.

 

If you haven’t come back in because you’re a little upset that we got rid of the passes, here are some things to consider:

 

It may seem like paying monthly isn’t going to work for your family.  But if you break it down and compare it to other things you are doing, we are very affordable:

  • Come only 3 times a week on our Unlimited Membership and pay $6.25/class.  (Come more and pay less!)  
  • Even if you come only 2 times/week on our Unlimited Membership you are still getting in for under $10 a class.  Thats a great deal! Miss a class or two and your relative cost per class is still lower than our 20-class pass was!
  • We also created 1 Class/Week and 2 Classes/Week Memberships, so you don’t feel like you’re paying for something you’re not using.  
  • All of our memberships have suspension policies.  
  • Furthermore, our monthly rates are about ½ what they run in more urban communities, even though our costs are comparable!  
  • Kids’ Memberships are simple, and include FREE Childcare. Or, because we know kids’ needs and schedules shift, you can purchase a 4-pack for your child, which is the same as signing up for a 4-week run of classes anywhere else.   
  • Plus, because family life is tricky, we still offer the 10-pack of childcare sessions.

 

Finally, we know everybody can’t afford the services we offer.  Before you’re sure that’s you, consider how much you pay for a coffee, or your lunch today, and compare it to how much you think you should pay for your yoga class.  You really do get to decide where some of your money goes.  This may not be you, but many of us put a lot of thought and worry into the cost of our yoga, but casually and easily spend $10 on a latte and a muffin at Verve!  

 

On the other hand, if you or someone you know is prohibited from coming to Luma because of finances, let us know!  We are flexible.  We will figure something out.  We don’t share this information often, but did you know that in 2017 alone we donated over 250 yoga classes to organizations in the community? Your continued support enables others to receive the services we all deserve.

 

We LOVE  you!  We love this little community we have built, and we want to be able to be here for you in the long run.

 

Last year you voted us BEST YOGA STUDIO in Santa Cruz through the Good Times Best of Awards.  That’s so great!  Thank You! This year, I hope you will consider voting with your pocket-book, not only in support of your local independent yoga center (whichever one you choose) but in support of your own goals for the health and wellbeing of you and your family.  As we navigate this path together, my sincere hope for 2018 is that we are able to continue in our mutually nourishing relationship.

 

In Peace and With Gratitude,

 

Valerie Moselle, Co-Founder & Director