We had the good fortune of connecting with Ashley Reed and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ashley, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I simply wanted to see more people who looked like me practicing yoga and meditation. Yoga came into my life at the time when I needed it the most. The uncertainties of life had come crashing down on me and left me searching for something more. I connected with a local donations based studio in DTLA and immediately knew that I had found what I was looking for. Daily practice led to the realization that my focus on a fast-paced career had allowed me to neglect my physical, spiritual and mental health. I fell in love with how my body and soul began to flourish as a result of my practice. Body Art Noire is dedicated to making a positive impact on Inglewood and its residents by cultivating a culturally sensitive community space for healing, health and wellness through yoga and meditation. We are an inclusive yoga community that welcomes yogis from all backgrounds. We are currently offering donation based yoga classes via Zoom so that people can begin or continue to build their practices from the safety of their homes. Once it is safe enough to do so we will launch our studio location in Inglewood, CA.
What should our readers know about your business?
When I set out to start a yoga and meditation studio I never thought it would be online via Zoom for the first 8 months (and counting). There is so much uncertainty around launching a new business under normal circumstances, but to add a whole global pandemic on top of it has been an exercise in patience and trust in divine timing. Someone recently asked me why I wanted to start a brick and mortar company when so many other businesses are struggling due to the pandemic. I believe in the scientifically proven benefits of yoga and mediation. I believe that a community with approximately 93% of the population identifying as Latinx or Black deserves to have an affordable community studio with programs specific to the unique needs being taught by people who look like them. Our team still has a way to go before we can officially open our doors for the studio location. Right now we are waiting in preparation. We prioritize doing the daily work to ensure that when it is safe enough to open our community has access to the caring instructors and quality programming. Our team is excited about serving the community now though virtual programs and in person in the near future.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I always love stopping by Comfort LA (locations in DTLA & Inglewood – IG: comfort_la) to grab some delicious food and enjoy dope vibes. The community table dining experience was always so much fun because you never know who you’re going to connect with. I’ve experience live music mini concerts, energizing DJ sets and therapy hour at this Black owned space. Many movie/game nights have been enhanced by a quick run through LAX Tacos (IG: @laxtacos). No gimmicks. Just good food to be shared with friends! Kutula by Africana (IG: @kutula) for a wardrobe upgrade. This boutique specialize in authentic, African inspired fashions. The 2nd generation owners Kay and Bo are a total delight. Runway Boutique (IG: runwayboutiquela) is another one of my favorite places to shop for both vintage and contemporary pieces. The owner, Fatima has such an incredible eye for merchandising and can help to coordinate an outfit complete with accessories. Angels on Earth Crystal Shop (IG: @angelsonearth_crystals) is another place I love. It’s one stop shop for crystals, jewelry, candles and more. I always feel welcome and energetically lighter when I leave. If you’re looking for an outdoor experience join The Noir Nature Guide (IG: @thenoirenatureguide) for mindful and wellness-focused excursions. Cam’s energy and enthusiasm is unmatched!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My yoga teacher training (YTT) through Yoga Bliss (located in Westchester- IG: yogablissla) was an incredible and life changing experience. The instructors Lara Estrada (IG: @lara_loves), Ellina Kim & Ducky Punch were so knowledgeable and patient. One of the highlights of YTT was learning about the business side of the industry. Lara shared her entrepreneurial experience as a yoga teacher and studio owner. It was such an honest and informative conversation. She answered all questions sharing specific details about her journey. What impacted me the most is that she genuinely cared about each of our paths being recognized as valuable. She asked each member of our soon to be graduating class what we wanted to do with the training we had received. I shared that one day I wanted to start a studio within my community. At that very moment she affirmed that I could do it, that she would help in way that she could and to move forward without fear. Lara was the first of many within the yoga and fitness community to share applicable knowledge, support and encouragement to follow this path. Since then so many business owners from many backgrounds have shared a wealth of information and support. It has shown me that if you’re moving within your purpose everything that is supposed to happen will happen in due time.
Carlos Rios – Carlos Rios Photography Molly McCauley – Molly and Co