Before I knew about yoga, I had a business called Loriazgh, a jewelry brand that was doing so well until a time came when the sale slowed down. I tried different marketing strategies, got creative, added more products yet things were the same. I got frustrated at some point because I didn’t know what else I could do other than praying for directions on what I could do. I stopped creating new things, because I already had a lot of inventory. God really does listen but only works at his own time. So while I was praying and seeking directions for better ideas I was still posting my yoga progress on Instagram. Fast forward, a lady texted or reached out to me and asked that I come teach her at home, I didn’t want to elaborate and say I wasn’t a professional, or competent enough, or unsure, or scared to coach anyone. Nevertheless I encouraged myself to meet up with the lady. That was my first time ever teaching anyone yoga, that was the best day of my life. When I got home, with a heartfelt message from the lady appreciating how professional I was and my patience. That good feeling was overwhelming.
Suddenly, it hit me so hard that yoga was the switch I needed. But I also knew it wasn’t about just taking the risk but also knowing that it’s a journey, it’s a lifestyle, a breathtaking one that was going to change my life, how I think, how I react, how to love myself in other to give love, how to heal and become whole with this great and transforming practice. This has kept me centred and more aware of myself and the wonderful relationships I have created with myself and with others. I went ahead to acquire yoga teacher training certification. Then I started organizing free yoga classes for different institutions.
Let's track back a minute, my yoga journey, first of all from a highly trained professionals perspective, might think - was a joke as I had no professional plans in the beginning. I remembered I tried out a few yoga poses online and I thought oh wow I wish I could do these with my body too. Honestly, I didn’t even know it was called yoga, it was just the flexibility aspect for me. I started reading about flexibility then I learnt it was YOGA. So I did a lot of online research, readings and all the necessary knowledge I needed. Thankfully, I had the opportunity to travel and coincidentally there was a yoga retreat at my hotel so I took part. Fast forward, I returned back home and I began searching to see if I could find someone who taught yoga in Ghana and luckily I found one. So I did a few hop in and out of the classes to see if it was what I wanted before I fully signed up. I attended the classes a few times but I needed more change so I stopped and took some courses online just for my flexibility. A few months after, I created a page on Instagram and started posting my progress and amazingly a lot of people started enquiring. That was my WOW moment!!
What were the biggest initial hurdles to building your business and how did you overcome them?
Educating people that refused to understand that there are different types of yogas and not all yogas requires a spiritual aspect. Few individuals, not everyone (in African) believe that all yoga is spiritual and won’t buy any other explanation. This was a big challenge because few people are novice to this practice just as I was in the beginning. I always had to talk to people about why they needed to practice yoga and the benefits (as a way of promoting physical and mental well-being). I organized free classes and I literally have to beg people to show up. It was tough, I felt like nobody was interested in what I was doing. I designed flyers and sent them around - unfortunately nobody was interested (poor turn up). Moving forward, things changed - I only overcame that by not giving up on my personal practice even though people were still not interested. However it was my personal practice - (flexibility), that sold me out. Now, I mostly booked and I decide whose appointment to accept. God has been wonderful.
What books are you currently reading? And your recommendation for entrepreneurs to read?
The only book I read is my bible and I will urge everyone to do the same as it’s the only answer to every life worry.
Did you ever deal with contention from your family and friends concerning your entrepreneurial pursuits?
Because my yoga journey started as a hobby, few did not take me seriously. My mum saw me doing all these crazy yoga moves and she was always concerned about me injuring myself or breaking a bone. However, later she saw me teaching others and was happy about that - so were my siblings and friends. My close ecosystem I have been super supportive and are the reason why this brand is here. There are days where the only people that show up for my classes are my two brothers and two friends and giving up was the only option but they kept me moving.
What would you do differently in hindsight?
Never worry about customers or people patronizing my business. I used to worry or be frustrated. However, I discovered that business and survival are all about the game plan, how to initiate each move. When to initiate each move to survive in this game called Business. And most of all, be passionate throughout the process. Customers form a network of satisfied users where they recommend and refer to products they love and share their preferences among themselves.
What would you say was the single most influential factor in your business success?
God, consistency, being open minded and exploring.
What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started as an entrepreneur?
Paying less attention to negative feedbacks
Not being too emotional about everything
Not opening up to explore
Creating a better relationship with my clients
What advice would you give to an upcoming entrepreneur locally and internationally?
Know your target audience
Put God first
Put in the work