A quickfire Q&A with Raquelle Gracie, co-founder of the fringe.yoga method and the fringe.yoga studios in Hertfordshire…
Tell us a little about yourself and your co-founder Jodie…
Jodie Merrick and I are two friends, mothers and passionate yoga teachers. We met through our love of yoga and were bonded by our joint aspiration to spread that love and share it with the world! Within 6 months of meeting, fringe.yoga was born. We’re based out of our two studios in East Hertfordshire, one is a beautiful, rural setting with stunning lake views and a real connection with nature and the other is a hot studio in a rustic barn conversion.
When did you qualify?
Jodie has been teaching for over 11 years, training initially with Elena Voyce at the young age of 22 and has continued her studies with the likes of Sean Corne, Tiffany Cruikshank, Elena Brower and Kathryn Budig to name a few. It has taken over a decade of study, practice and teaching for Jodie to develop the fringe.yoga method.
I’m a yoga teacher of 5 years; I studied at Frog Lotus Yoga under Vidya Heissel after a career in the music industry, singing and songwriting. When Jodie and I met in 2015 the method took on a whole new level by creating a full sensory experience that combines original music written and performed by me.
What’s your business & when did you start it?
Our two fringe.yoga studios opened nearly two years ago and we started our 200 hour Teacher Training course in 2016. We now offer 60 hour modules in pregnancy and kids yoga as well. The fringe.yoga method balances a dynamic vinyasa flow practice with therapeutic yin yoga, combined with easily accessible themes which incorporate the elements, chakras and music with physical asana and flow.
All of the fringe.tribe (our teacher training graduates) who wanted to teach are now working at our studios as yoga teachers and doing wonderfully, we are so proud of them. It was one of our main aims to create a real yogic community here in East Hertfordshire as we feel so strongly about having that supportive and loving group of people who share the same passions and hopes for humanity. The tribe has been the biggest support to us all and we all meet up for a workshop once a month.
Fringe is also expanding to the North West of England (Manchester) in a few months where we will be running more modules and TTs and we look forward to growing the tribe and raising awareness of the fringe method.
What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve ever received?
When running a studio, the best piece of advice we have received is to stay on top of the figures. That is the most difficult thing we have found, especially with both of us being busy mothers and yoga teachers so we use a software system called Mind Body now to help us with that. It is certainly not perfect and we do have to call quite often to clear up matters but on the whole it has meant that we can keep track of payments much more easily. We also have a wonderful studio manager, Talia, who takes a lot of the weight off our shoulders when it comes to admin.
Another thing we have found incredibly useful is to have a large database of cover teachers, we call them our tribe. Knowing the support is there is a huge help to us. To get bums on mats you also need to promote yourself well, Facebook and Instagram are amazing and mostly free tools for this and once you have identified your target market and got them through the door, then word begins to spread.
What business focused resources would you recommend and why?
With regards to our studio, we have found that good time management is key to running a successful studio. Splitting your time between the necessary promotion/figures/teaching can be challenging and you really can’t do it all. Separating the jobs and giving everyone who works there a specific focus is really worthwhile so that you don’t overlap or miss something important.
One of the most annoying things we face at the studio are last minute cancellations when the place could have been taken by another student, the Mind Body software gives us an easy way to approach this now as we automatically charge a last minute cancellation fee when it had previously been challenging for us to chase a client for a late cancel fee.
What do you know now that you wished you had known when you started teaching yoga / your business?
SELF-BELIEF! Teaching really does become second nature. Jodie is always saying to our trainee teachers “Please believe in yourselves. You know more than you think you know!”. Go with the flow, follow your gut, life has a plan and it is guiding you in the right direction.
It is natural to worry about what is coming next and it’s natural to be nervous about teaching, just get out there and go for it! We believe the support of the tribe allows our teachers to continue to believe in themselves, even when they are having a low day, which we all do occasionally.
What are you most excited about now?
One of the most difficult parts of being a yoga teacher is making a living doing what you love. I used to live in Central London and would carry my mats and props around from tube to bus going to private clients, leafletting, teaching at studios. I also had another job that helped pay my bills and I was working on my music as well. Most teachers I speak to, like Jodie and myself were working many hours with little support to make ends meet.
Our newly launched sister company Yogassential offer teachers the opportunity to teach private clients with no hassle, no marketing, choosing the hours you work and essentially becoming your own boss. It goes hand in hand with our ethos of ensuring our graduated teachers have the opportunity to teach, making sure these amazing new teachers are given the chance to share their unique gifts. This platform is definitely something we wish we had when we were in that stage of our careers and we are thrilled that it is here today.
Where can we find you?
Our two studios fringe.yoga and fringe.hot are based in Sawbridgeworth, Hertfordshire, England. Our upcoming workshops, teacher trainings and events are all featured on our website www.fringe.yoga. Yogassential is based in Central London. Please visit the website if you are interested in signing up for this invaluable tool for yoga teachers.