We had the good fortune of connecting with Tyler Cusick and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tyler, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
Hom Yoga Collective started as a creative outlet for my yoga teaching. I was teaching under a corporate model and wanted to expand my reach as a teacher and wanted to challenge myself to try something new. The corporate yoga model doesn’t allow for individuals to create or try new things, so Hom Yoga Collective was initially created for one-off event type classes. There was a need for something beyond the grind of a fitness studio, something with more thought and care. When the Covid-19 pandemic hit yoga studios were shut down with no opening date in sight – we decided we couldn’t let our community go through the pandemic alone so we were the first local group to begin streaming classes online. This was the true start of Hom Yoga Collective and when we became a viable option for students looking for some familiarity in unfamiliar times. The decision was made that we would stream absolutely for free throughout quarantine and the following months because yoga is such an important part of our mental health and we figured the same could be said of the student base. When the world began to open up we pivoted again offering free, socially distant outdoor classes around the local Conejo valley area. Again while corporate studios continued to charge students the same high monthly rates as they did prior to the pandemic we felt it was only right that students get to experience yoga regardless of their new financial situations and committed to offering the community 8 classes per week for free or via a donation they were comfortable with. Our student base has been beyond generous and we have raised enough money to employ 7 teachers for weekly classes and allowed us to book new venues for bigger and better events for our students.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I think what sets Hom Yoga Collective apart from others is that we can be anything we want to be. There is no huge company or investor backing us. We are group of teachers who worked hard to be there for the local yoga community and in turn that community has supported is and made us a viable daily option for students to take yoga. We offer a wide variety of class types and locations. Sunrise beach classes where you stare at waves crashing. Park sessions where you can feel a breeze hit your body at the most intense part of class, or maybe hear the joy of a young kid playing on the playground. Our staff is also very experienced in hot yoga which we will begin introducing to our community in the coming weeks. We got to where we are because we care. We care about the students that come and we understand what their trust means. It’s not easy to try new things, new teachers, new experiences. We have asked students to forget what they know of yoga studio culture, commit to parks with no amenities, and choose classes without knowing who the teacher is. We have created absolute trust with our student base – no class is more important or better than another, we have group that just comes to do yoga because they love it. All of us have worked in corporate yoga and the things we’ve learned are that the community and the students have to come first. When they become another dollar on the bottom line you lose what is so special about doing and teaching yoga in the first place. We are local, our families are rooted here, our entire lives are here – we know the local community, we understand how tight knit it is and we embrace the feeling of acceptance students get when they come to a Hom Yoga Collective class.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I think one of the most amazing things I didn’t appreciate enough prior to the pandemic are all the local parks. I would make that a priority for anybody coming to visit. I specifically love Oak Canyon Community Park. I’d definitely take a visitor to visit actual Westlake and Bonibi coffee, I go there daily and it’s always a great place to sit and enjoy the gorgeous lake views. I love to drive open roads so a trip through Decker / Mulholland or down Potrero would be a must if you were visiting me. Finneys, Moody Rooster, Decker Kitchen, Pearl District, Italia Deli, The Old Place are all great restaurants I would have to bring someone to and of course any and all Hom Yoga Collective classes in the area!!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
The biggest reason for the success of Hom Yoga Collective is all of our students. We are literally successful because our students spread the word and message to others. When the pandemic hit we had 88 follows on Instagram, today we have 860 followers, the majority local or connected to a student that has come to class. The majority of our growth has come from students being involved ,sharing pictures or videos online, reposting our announcements, selling our our events in hours and buying merchandise to keep us able to pay our staff and rent new spaces. Beyond that we have the best group of teachers collectively working together to give our community something special each class. All of our teachers joined on without the expectation of ever making a dime, they simply wanted to be part of something that aligned with the reason they teach, true connection to the students. We would be nowhere without their hard work and we are blessed to have each and every one of them on our side.
Tyler Cusick Mike Wagman Tricia Easton