- What’s a typical work day in your life?
Since I opened up my own yoga studio (Goorus) in Pacific Palisades back in June, my day typically starts at 5 am if it’s Monday through Friday. I teach the 6:30 am classes on M/W/F and staff the front desk on Tuesdays/Thursdays for the early morning classes. On Saturday and Sunday, I get to sleep in until 6! A fair amount of my day is spent talking with existing clients, as well as potential yoga practitioners, many of whom are looking for just the right class. I am responsible for promoting the business and write content for our website, and create flyers for our upcoming workshops. It seems I spend a lot of time talking with potential workshop leaders these days. We are constantly looking at our class schedule, looking to improve it or find substitute teachers. During down times, I can be found folding blankets, cleaning yoga mats, and mopping the floors.
- What kind of experience led you to the path you’ve chosen for your career today?
Believe it or not, I studied Classics and Latin at Indiana University in Bloomington! Because of that, I’ve had a varied and entrepreneurial work history. For most of my career, I have been a fundraiser for nonprofits, sometimes as an employee and sometimes as an independent contractor. Along the way, I’ve honed my sales, marketing, and writing skills.
- What was/is the toughest thing about starting your business?
I was mostly worried that yoga would no longer be fun for me, but I’ve found that I still enjoy practicing daily.
- What made you decide to create your own company?
The opportunity really fell into my lap. I was substitute teaching at the former yoga studio in Goorus’ current location and learned that it was going to close. I had practiced at the studio off and on for 10-12 years, my husband and I had date night there when our son was an infant, and I completed my first 200-hour yoga teacher training there. It was the only dedicated yoga studio in Pacific Palisades, and I couldn’t walk away from the place and let it turn into yet another hair salon.
- What excites you about Los Angeles right now?
I love that public transportation and bike-friendly streets are hot. I lived in San Francisco and Boston and miss the mass-transit/pedestrian- and bike-friendly nature of those locations.
- Who do you admire in business and why?
I look up to people who have a dream and take active steps to realize it—people who don’t waste time wondering how it can be done, but people who have the drive to figure out how to make it happen. I admire the flexibility of an entrepreneurial person—they never stop thinking about how to make things better or how to do something better. Someone with drive, determination, flexibility, practicality, and innovation are what inspires me.
- What do you think are the biggest challenges and opportunities for female founders?
There seems to be a lot more funding opportunities for women-owned businesses these days, which is very encouraging. Lack of female role models is a real challenge for women in business; women tend to fly under the radar a bit—meaning they don’t usually “toot their own horn.” It is always a balancing act to successfully manage marriage, children, household duties and finances, on top of a career.
- What surprises you most about being your own boss?
You won’t necessarily escape work that you dislike!
- If you got an entrepreneurial do-over, what is the one thing you wish you would have known orwould have changed?
I often think, “I wish I wouldn’t have waited so long to live out my dream,” but at other times, I believe my business came together at just the right time. I don’t yet have the advantage of hindsight since my business just recently formed and stormed. We’re getting closer to “norming,” which will enable us to really perform. We can make small tweaks here and there, but we aren’t able to think about major do-overs at this stage.
- Where do you turn for inspiration?
Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras
- Favorite quote or words to live by?
“He who never made a mistake never made a discovery.” ~ Samuel Smiles
About Paper Dolls
In January 2015, Paper Dolls opened its first co-working studio in Brentwood. In addition to tailored and topical events and curated content, Paper Dolls offers access to a premium workspace surrounded by boutiques, culinary treasures and cutting edge fitness. From full-time private offices to monthly member drop-in desks to virtual office options, the studio flexes to meet the needs of dynamic, make-it-happen, professional women.
Photo of Gretchen Lightfoot taken by Vincent Lopez of Image 33 Photography