Tribune photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo
March 29, 2010
Andrea Klunder leads a yoga class at Infuse Yoga Spa in Lincoln Park. Most in the pay-what-you-can class for people "between jobs," donate $5 or $10. (Usually, her classes run $15 to $18.)
"There's an aspect of yoga practice that's 'selfless service,'" said Klunder, 31, barefoot and clad in flowing yoga pants in a small sitting area outside the studio where yogis meet after class to chat, network and sip tea. "My hope is by giving now when people are having a rough time, when things get better, they'll remember that Infuse was awesome to me. Andrea was awesome to me."
Klunder knew she was lucky to have a job in this economy. Everybody kept reminding her. The only problem was that it wasn't the job she'd signed up for. Eight years as technical coordinator for the technical and production departments at Lyric Opera of Chicago, Klunder's already heavy workload grew even heavier as the arts took its share of the recession. Generous donors were suddenly no longer quite so generous, government funding was down -- people were laid off; positions eliminated. She loved her job, but the workload had become unbearable and the pay hadn't changed.
About three months ago she started another class: Yoga and Networking for Entrepreneurs that costs $10. It meets twice a month and includes 45 minutes of yoga, followed by elevator pitches and a 20-minute presentation by one of the members related to work-life balance or helping to grow your business. Now in its third month, Klunder said six to eight entrepreneurs consistently attend.
Her business has been consistently growing, she said, but is not yet at the break-even level. She said as long as she continues to see growth, she is confident that she will survive. She has been using word-of-mouth marketing and online sites such as Yelp and Meetup.com to grow the business. Of course, faster growth would always be good.
"People say, 'You own a yoga studio. You must be so relaxed all the time.' And I say, 'You know what? It's a business,'" she said.
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