In these difficult times it’s inspiring to hear how many businesses are helping others and branching out in creative ways to adapt and be there for their customers. We thought we’d share some of these positive and entrepreneurial stories as we come across them.
Where it began
After months of trying to find finance through banks, and after being rejected multiple times, James and Margaret were becoming deflated with the expectations of the high street lenders. Though a start-up business, they were expected to provide, what to them was, the impossible: six months of profitable trading evidence and photographic evidence of their trading name on the building they were looking to purchase.
Just when they thought that was the end of their dream, James saw an article about FOLK2FOLK and decided to call. FOLK2FOLK were immediately supportive of James and Margaret’s project and with sufficient security were happy to approve funding.
A shared passion for supporting others’ well-being brought James, a BBC TV news correspondent turned novelist, and Margaret a specialist yoga teacher, to purchase a property in the heart of Bristol where they could run their own yoga business, Pacific Yoga.
After months of trying to obtain finance through banks, James and Margaret were becoming deflated with the expectations of the high street lenders. Though a start-up business, they were expected to provide what to them was the impossible: six months of profitable trading evidence and photographic evidence of their trading name on the building they were looking to purchase. Just when they thought that was the end of their dream, James saw an article about FOLK2FOLK and decided to call.
“The response from FOLK2FOLK was extraordinarily positive – a willingness to go into detailed discussions to explore the heart of our ideas. FOLK2FOLK got the point of it and we soon felt part of the family.” – James Long
Pacific Yoga’s wide range of classes includes hot yoga, meaning the studios needed to be kitted out with advanced heating and ventilation systems which James and Margaret managed to do with low energy requirements. They wanted to create a space where their clients could not only experience great yoga classes but also somewhere for them to refuel and socialise. So, along with yoga studios, James and Margaret also created Café Matariki serving delicious, fresh breakfasts and lunches throughout the day.
Adapting to the current environment
Pacific Yoga successfully went on to run 54 classes per week with 19 staff, made up of six permanent staff, eight café part-time staff and ten regular yoga teachers. But, like many businesses, they have had to recently shut their doors in the wake of COVID-19.
However, James and Margaret had seen the writing on the wall and a few days before businesses were forced to close they sprung into action and began to re-purpose the two sides of their business.
- Converting the café into delivery: Cafe managers, Janice and Danielle, are currently transforming their café into a food delivery service around Bristol offering their delicious deli food and home-cooked meals whilst also offering wine and beer.
- Transforming real-life yoga into real-time yoga online: James and Margaret decided to continue to deliver their widely loved Yoga classes via Zoom, an online video sharing platform, to their loyal customers and also making them available to yogis all over the UK. Whilst delivering their usual yoga classes they also intend to do that little bit extra by offering free evening events via Zoom, which go beyond yoga, covering everything from mental health to fashion design, politics and cookery using their network of contacts as special guests –
“Loneliness is made so much worse by losing contact with like-minded people. We love our community so we want to offer them lively mental sustenance and include anyone else who wants to join in. Everyone is invited” – Margaret Brereton
By demonstrating business flexibility, James and Margaret plan to continue providing uplifting yoga classes and fresh healthy food to their Pacific Yoga customers and beyond.