Yoga Entrepreneur Didn’t Let the Pandemic Slow Her Down — Arise Yoga Studios Thriving Thanks to WellnessLiving
When the lockdown hit, Jillian Schiavi didn’t get discouraged—she opened two new studios!
The CEO Tour is a passion project of our CEO and Co-Founder, Len Fridman. It allows him to meet with our customers, hear their incredible stories, and learn how they use our software. He even gets to try their amazing classes.
When the pandemic hit Len still visited them, but instead had to do so virtually. On this leg of the tour, Len dropped by Arise Yoga in Oakland, California to hear how owner Jillian Schiavi rebranded her studio and switched from Mindbody to WellnessLiving.
Meet Jillian Schiavi, creator, owner, director, and instructor of Arise Yoga
When meeting Jillian Schiavi for the first time, one thing is evidently clear. This passionate creator with multi-hyphenated titles like designer, artist, and poet, cannot be boxed in.
Case in point: when the world and Jillian’s former Brooklyn yoga studio shut down on March 15, 2020, she soon found herself across the country signing a new lease in Oakland, California. Discover how the pandemic created a new space for change that came to her in ways she never expected, and why she made the switch over to WellnessLiving’s software.
Arise Yoga at a Glance
📍 CEO Virtual Tour Destination: Oakland, California
📍 Customer Business: Arise Yoga
📍 Website: www.arise.yoga
📍 Special Guest: Owner, Director, and Instructor Jillian Schiavi
📍 Number of Locations: 2
With two bicoastal studios in Oakland, California and Brooklyn, New York, the Arise Yoga ethos is based on the tenets of generosity, social activism, and the quest for peace. Arise Yoga offers a fully vaccinated environment and a variety of classes online, outdoors, and in-studio.
Arise Studio classes include:
- Hot Heat Vinyasa
- Low Heat Vinyasa
- Arise and Flow
- Hatha Flow
- Candlelit Yoga
- Powerful Vinyasa
- Morning Glory Yoga
Free-Spirited Yogi Nomad
Jillian’s love affair with yoga started back when she was in college as “a way to manage stress and still have a physical experience of being in a room with other people just breathing together.” Her pivotal ‘aha’ moment came to her as she was laying in Shavasana at the end of a yoga class and realized she wanted to bring others on this peaceful journey with her.
Thus started her foray into teacher training 12 years ago in New York City, and toward a traveling yogi lifestyle, where she moonlighted in studios in Boston and Chicago, before landing to teach in Oakland, California.
“I’ve met the best people in my life through yoga,” says Jillian, including her husband who she met when she moved back to New York at the end of 2017. “As fate would have it, he owned a yoga studio in Brooklyn called Jewel City Yoga. We combined our expertise, and I eventually became the director and partner at that studio with him.”
“March 15, 2020, we shut down our Brooklyn yoga studio and I ended up taking the longest shower of my life deciding to possibly pivot online.” Within two days Jillian started virtual classes by opening her practice to a wider audience from people all over the world. “It offered such a beautiful intimacy. We were literally in people’s living rooms, bedrooms, and even closets—wherever they had space to lay down a mat.”
Eventually, she had to shut down her Brooklyn studio for good as it had been closed for months during the pandemic and she didn’t want to continue paying expensive rent for an empty studio. As sad as this was, she was still able to teach classes online from home and her entire community stuck with her.
In October 2020, Jillian and her husband took a vacation back to Oakland and went by to visit the studio she formerly taught yoga at back in her early yogi days. There in bold letters was a ‘For Rent’ sign which Jillian did not see as a random coincidence. “The stars aligned, the dots connected, and we were able to negotiate a wonderful new lease.”
The Arise Rebrand
Back home in Brooklyn, yoga businesses were starting to finally open back up. Jillian was able to find a new studio on the same street as her former one, complete with a backyard that proved to be a saving grace to practice outside. “I now had two bicoastal studios and I wanted to change the name to reflect the difficult year we all went through.” She settled on the name “Arise,” which felt like a “lifting up to possibilities and lightness, and more representative of the times we are in now.”
With her design background, Jillian created a wonderful new logo with deep symbolism to reflect her roots in both Brooklyn and Oakland. She opened back up in the new Brooklyn studio on March 15, 2021, a year to the day since she went into lockdown mode. The Oakland studio opened a month later on April 5, 2021.
Making The WellnessLiving Switch
With fresh new changes on the horizon, Jillian also wanted to extend new life to her software. As a former customer of Mindbody, and after experiencing some “ethical issues with their system,” Jillian decided to cast a wide net and see what else was available in the business software management market.
“Overwhelmingly from other yoga studio owners, the WellnessLiving platform was the best option. They really take the needs of studios and their growth into account and have a much easier to use UI.”
With two brand new bicoastal yoga studios to run, we made sure that switching software providers weren’t an added stressor for Jillian. We first integrated her two separate businesses onto WellnessLiving platforms that work independently of each other but can also synergize between their two locations. We then expertly took care of *all* the heavy lifting from seamless Data Migration, fast and efficient Quick Setup, and round-the-clock Customer Support that Jillian and her team could count on.
Concerned about making a new software switch from your former provider? Don’t sweat it! We can completely convert all your existing software data and import it into WellnessLiving—seamlessly. “Your team has been so helpful by transferring our information from Mindbody to WellnessLiving. They supported us every step of the way,” says Jillian.
Think of Quick Setup as your installation concierge superhero team! We partner every business with supportive onboarding specialists who will set you up for ultimate success.
We’ll configure your business settings and set up your schedule and events, so that your staff and clients can start using the software right away. “Your integration team was wonderful! We called them 20 times a day, and they were really flexible and helpful during the entire process,” says Jillian.
24/7 Customer Support
We’re here whenever you need us! No question is too big or small. Our support team is always just a 24/7 phone call away. We also offer our online Support Center to use as an ongoing troubleshooting resource, as well as a private Community Forum platform to voice your questions and concerns.
The Future looks bright with Arise Studios x WellnessLiving
With all of the new changes happening, Jillian has yet to try our newly branded virtual services—FitLIVE and our video library platform, FitVID on Demand—but she’s looking forward to it! “It seems like such a great platform. I have so many pre-recorded classes I’ve taught, and I definitely plan on adding them on there!”
Len adds, “It’s really working out amazingly for a lot of studios. You’re already doing the virtual classes, so why not just record that, and for those who weren’t able to attend your live class, they can watch it on their schedule using FitVID on Demand.”
“That’s amazing!” giggles Jillian.
Closing and reopening yoga studios on both sides of the country during the pandemic has strengthened Jillian’s resolve even more to help create spaces for modern yogis to gather, find solace, breathe, and become more aware humans on the planet.
We look forward to a long and fruitful relationship with Jillian Schiavi and both of her Arise Yoga studios in Brooklyn and Oakland for many years to come.
Ready to see how easy it is to make the ‘WellnessLiving Switch’ for your yoga business? Book a free no-commitment demo today!