Ex-professional dancer Jacqui Hooper and osteopath Bertie Russell met through their shared passion of yoga. The pair quickly realised that they could join forces with their individual skills and combined over 20 years of yoga practise to create a truly specialist yoga studio in the capital.
The duo wanted to turn their popular class, originally run from a church hall in West Hampstead, into a boutique yoga and osteopathy studio in Kings Cross.
Project owner Jacqui told us, “Crowdfunding was a fantastic way to be able to showcase exactly what we’re trying to achieve through Rebel Studio. We had a great concept, had already secured an amazing premises in the perfect location and taken out the maximum start up loan available, but building a specialist yoga studio is not cheap!”
Despite several investment offers, the yoga duo decided that they didn’t want to compromise on the quality or direction of the businesses. Instead, a rewards based crowdfunding project offered the perfect alternative,
“Offering classes and treatments with the rewards system suited us perfectly. Having already asked friends and family for help, crowdfunding seemed like the best way to gain a little extra capital to get our project off the ground.”
Jacqui explained that whilst they had a database of almost 300 people (with a small number being supportive regular students), they still had their reservations, “Whilst we knew that our project had potential, we really had no idea how many people would support us. As soon as our Crowdfunder page went live, we felt extremely vulnerable. Our plans, hopes and dreams were ready to be viewed (and judged) by the wider world and a poor response to our campaign would have had a significant impact on our confidence.”
However, Jacqui and Bertie needn’t have held such reservations as they raised a cool £10,540 from 73 supporters in just 21 days.
As the first pledges started to come through there were tears of joy and relief, shock and gratitude.
Pledges ranged from £20 to £1,000 and all rewards focused on the nature of the campaign – yoga! The most popular choice was the £50 pledge, which offered 3 classes and a limited edition Rebel Studio t-shirt. Alternatively, for £1,000, super dedicated yogis could get a year membership to the studio along with a choice of 4 treatments, a t-shirt and an invite to the launch party! But even the smallest pledge of £20 was rewarded with a class at the studio.
We asked Jacqui and Bertie for their top tips to anyone thinking about crowdfunding…
Don’t be afraid to promote yourself. “We are very lucky that Bertie’s brother is a documentary director, so making short taster films that tell a story are second nature to him. The idea of making a video and writing a pitch to sell our concept was at first a bit overwhelming, especially as we’re not naturally self promoters. However, as soon as we realised that it was the perfect platform to explain our idea, rather than the usual struggle to express ourselves through a series of Facebook posts or even worse, tweets, we found the inspiration we needed to make the project a success.”
Be yourself. “As long as you have a great idea that you truly believe in, are knowledgeable about, experienced in, and more than anything, are passionate about, others will take note and support you. In keeping with our approach to teaching yoga, our top tip is that you communicate your idea simply and clearly.”
• Want to know more about Rebel Studio? Visit their Crowdfunder project here.