We had the good fortune of connecting with Rachel Hirsch and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Rachel, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
My father has always been entrepreneur, so growing up around that i believe engrained some of that in me.  I have been teaching yoga for almost ten years, but always had other jobs in a more ‘corporate’ space. Throughout the years people would ask why I didn’t open my own studio, and to be honest, I had never really thought of it! During Covid I noticed a distinct shift in the dynamic between teachers and studios. In my opinion, teachers have always been underpaid. As part of my other job roles I have studied financial statements of thousands of fitness studios, and could see the incredible profitability that they had, which unfortunately was never reflected in the teachers salary. During Covid, teachers no longer needed studios as much. They were teaching online / outside / etc – and making significantly more money. I thought this was a great opportunity to see if we could change and, dare I say progress, the business model towards a balanced dynamic.

That’s how Empowered came to be.  I connected with a few teachers I deeply respected, and asked if they might be interested in more of a profit sharing / co-op studio model. I love numbers, so I created a financial model outlining the potential investment, payout, and opportunity to pay teachers 10x what they had been making previously. We all hashed through it and decided we needed to give this a try!

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Our business is a co-op ownership model with the goal of making yoga and fitness more equitable for everyone. Often teachers are the assets and community builders of studios, yet they are frequently paid minimum wage. It can be nearly impossible to support yourself financially as an instructor, so we created Empowered to try to change that. All our teachers have an opportunity to own a piece of equity, to receive dividends, as well as profit sharing of all classes. Instead of making $30/class, teachers now can make over $600 at Empowered. We wanted to democratize the way business is done in fitness and we are working hard to do so.

We are also a fully inclusive yoga studio. As can be seen from our teaching staff, we wanted to create a space where everyone can feel safe and welcome, to move and feel more at home in their bodies and minds.

I would say we could not be more proud of what we’ve set out to do. We believe deeply in our guiding principles, but it definitely has not been easy! Fortunately, these hardships have allowed us to learn so much along the way. We are learning to be more nimble, we are learning to be more creative, and we have definitely learned that no matter how prepared we are, we will always still be unprepared!

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
1. Morning matcha at Cha Cha Matcha

2. Always need a bit of Saturday morning yoga, so naturally we’d head to Empowered for an hour of wiggles

3. Post wiggle brunch at Plant Food & wine. I love the lush backyard garden and nourishing food

4. A little walk around Abbot Kinney, probably some ice cream from Salt & Straw, maybe a cheeky pop-in to Satine for some shopping
5. Walk towards the beach for sunset vibes
6. Early dinner (I like to be in bed early, I’m a grandma) at Opsi (YUM)

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
The entire family at Empowered! This has truly been a team effort and a production from all. We all have different skill sets and experiences, and we have been so lucky to be able to build on each other to create something magical.

Website: https://empoweredyogastudio.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/empoweredyoga/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/empoweredyogastudioLA/

Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/empowerd-yoga-los-angeles

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.