My Days

My days are kind of crazy right now. It’s go time for store #2 so I’m running around a lot.

For example, here’s how my day went yesterday.

I started by going to the city to deal with an issue with our back door at Echo Park. The good news is the inspector and I came to a conclusion that works for both us. But I have to change it on the plan and come back…again…to get it stamped. So another visit is added to my list for next week.

Then I went to a printer shop to make some copies of the plans because I have to go to the health dept next week as well to show some changes we made.

Next was to the tile place to order the tile for the exterior of the store. I had a tough time deciding between 2 different colors so hopefully I made the right choice.

Next to Smart n Final to pick up dry ice as I had 3 pint shipments to do. So on to Glendale Yoga-urt I go to pack up the pints, and then I took them to Fedex.

Next was dropping the plans back off at the Echo Park store for my GC.

Then back to Glendale Yoga-urt to try and get my walk in before it got dark. Spent some time checking in at the store there and then finally went home.

And all the while also approving signage for the store, ordering some things, and dealing with 1 really big construction problem that I will share more on soon.

I don’t know how I did this last time with a full-time job. It’s a lot now without another job, so how the hell did I do it. I know it wasn’t healthy and I know I’m still recovering, but I guess I just pushed through.

Tomorrow is a big day at Echo Park as we have 3 inspections. Hoping all goes well so we can move forward.

And then we deal with my big problem. At least I’m clear now on our options so hopefully I can make it still work – I have to.

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Yoga-urt #2 Update

We’ve been in construction for almost 2 months now with probably 1 more month to go.

The store is coming along nicely but still looks like a construction site. I think it will be about 2 more weeks when it will start to look like Yoga-urt, which is really exciting.

Overall, things have been going well. But in the last few weeks, there seems to be a problem like every other day with construction. Some big. Some small. Some fixed. Some we’re still dealing with. It’s a bit stressful but when an issue comes up, there is no other choice but to find a solution.

Besides the above, for me this past week was about ordering all of our equipment and materials that might take longer than 2 weeks to deliver, as the clock is now ticking.

Ideally, I’ll be doing soft opening during the 3rd or 4th week of March, which is about 4/5 weeks out. So we will need everything delivered as soon as the floor is done in a few weeks. That’s very soon!

This past week I went to the place we got our counter wood and countertop material from to make sure still available – it is! I felt so weird retracing my steps from almost 4 years ago, but was a nice feeling too as we’ve come so far since then.

Started production on our exterior signage, kicked off our mural, found tile for the front, got a bid on a new security gate, ordered our menu board, in addition to ordering the equipment. OMG, I’m spending a lot of money!

I need to order a few more things next week and I really hope I’m not forgetting anything.

But I will say it’s so much easier this time. I know where to go. In some cases, I’m repeating what was done for the first store so less decisions to make. I don’t have my other job so I have the freedom to run around. I can have things delivered to our first store (last time, everything had to be delivered to my condo which meant piles of boxes that eventually had to be transported to the store).

And when we open, I can also borrow some things from the first store if needed like bowls, ingredients, cleaning supplies, etc. just so much easier!

But I feel like I’m on a roller coaster that is going up the first big drop. We are a little more than halfway up and itching towards the top. And in about 4 weeks or so, we are going to drop! I have all of the emotions you have before the big drop: excitement, fear, anticipation, making sure my seatbelt is secured like a million times – lol.

I need to start interviewing and hiring soon so that is a priority the next few weeks as well! But once again, luckily, the new team members can train at the first store so they all will hopefully know what they’re doing by the time we open. Unlike last time when we really just winged it. At least I did. I had no idea what I was doing when we opened the first store…but now I’m an expert!

So that is the current status. Full steam ahead and the PR push will need to start soon too! The countdown begins!

Super Woman

Okay, I’m clearly not super woman, but I kind of felt like it last week.

Despite my best intentions and the best intentions of the people I’m working with on Yoga-urt #2, the holidays did sadly hold us up for a few weeks. I really tried to make that not happen, but it did.

I met with the health department on Dec. 24th, yes that’s right, Christmas Eve and they had a change that needed to be addressed. And of course the company I needed to address the change was shut down until after New Years. What a bummer!

So that was that. But you better believe as soon as New Year’s Day was over, I contacted them as quickly as possible.

The changes were ready for the health department last Monday and I was able to get an appointment with the health department last Tuesday! Thankfully, it went well!

But there were several other steps needed to get us back on track. I knew if I left it to others, it would take weeks so my mission last week was to do everything in my power to get where we needed to be.

I went to the city like 3 times in 2 days. I met with waste management. I met with milk & dairy. Every step along the way had a curveball and it felt like there would be more delays, but I found a solution for every single one.

While at the city, I met with our city plan checker who said the first available day he could meet with me was January 17th – a week and a half away. I was so bummed to hear this and pleaded to be seen earlier. Luckily, he said if I came towards the end of the day, he would try to see me but no promises.

So I did just that and he met with me. Of course, there was another curveball but it was resolved quickly and I got everything I needed.

It was 2 full days of running around and meetings, but it was such a relief!

So we are back on track now for Yoga-urt #2. My hope is that we can catch up for the lost time in construction, but it’s too early to tell.

And the good news is I now personally know the inspectors, plan checkers, etc. and they have seen my passion for this so that should hopefully make things easier all around.

I’m so proud of myself for turning everything around in 2 days and I’m grateful I had the time to do it. With Yoga-urt #1, I was still working my full-time day job and this would’ve been impossible to do so quickly.

2018 – Year of Gratitude

At the end of each year, I try to summarize it with one word as I have done the last few years.

For 2015, the word was INTENSE. For 2016, the word was GROWTH. For 2017, the word was PROMISE.

And for 2018, the word is GRATITUDE.

Boy, did you all show up for us this year! This year was our best year yet and that’s because of our customers. We are so grateful to each and every one of you for loving Yoga-urt like you do.

Yoga-urt is a lot of work, takes a lot of money, and the challenges that come up can be very stressful and disheartening at times. But it’s all worth it because of our customers.

So many times this year, people would thank me for Yoga-urt. And I thank them right back. It means the world to me, and this journey feels very lonely at times, so when I can connect with our customers it feels good.

I am grateful that you all embraced our pie slices, popsicles, & ice cream sandwiches. I am grateful that our sales grew even with a competing business right next door. I am grateful that you loved our new flavors. I am grateful for all the kind words.

Most of all, I am so grateful that I was able to get a loan and move forward with Yoga-urt #2. And I’m so grateful that you all are as excited about Yoga-urt #2 as I am.

Lots to feel grateful for.

We were open again on Christmas Day although this time I didn’t work it alone. Another team member worked too which was great because we were very busy! And, of course, we brought out the hot chocolate again which we do just a few times a year.

On the flip side, personally, these last few months have been very hard on me. My mother’s 17 years with Parkinson’s Disease has taken a toll on me and my family. It became so painfully clear with the holidays in December how much things have changed. It’s so hard.

This year has been quite a big transition for me as I went from working a full-time job in addition to Yoga-urt, to now just focusing on Yoga-urt. It makes things so much easier for me in some ways, but harder in some others. I’m now “all in” with Yoga-urt.

All in with Yoga-urt sounds pretty good. There has been so much risk on this journey, but I continue to listen to my gut and pursue my calling.

I’m so excited for what 2019 will bring Yoga-urt.

Coming Soon Signs are up for Yoga-urt #2

Last week, the day before Thanksgiving, the coming soon signs went up in Echo Park.

This is always a big moment for me, and as exciting as it is, it also makes me feel very vulnerable. I feel vulnerable because Yoga-urt will be new to a lot of people and it puts it out there in a big way. And because there is no turning back.

I actually hired the same designer/installer for this coming soon sign as I did for the 1st store. But this time, we went all out as we have much more tease with this time. Plus, it’s right on Sunset Blvd with non-stop cars passing by, so it’s perfect for marketing Yoga-urt!

So, they are up! It’s out there! Can’t turn back now!

As for city/health approvals and construction, we have all approvals except health which should come in next week and construction will start next week if permitting goes smoothly.

Things have actually gone pretty quickly. It took longer to do the plans than I was hoping for, but the city approvals came in very quickly making up for it. It’s hard being patient waiting for this and that, but so it goes.

We (Yoga-urt and I in case you are wondering who the we is πŸ™‚ are in much better shape than with the first store as I’m using the same General Contractor and same Designer, so there is a built in trust. We have the general branding, it’s just making it right for the space and right for Echo Park. Plus I’m not working a full-time day job right now as I was last time which is a HUGE difference.

I feel like this is the calm before the storm. It’s hard for me to be patient, but I know I should enjoy this time as once construction starts the roller coaster ride begins with all of the twists, turns, fear, and excitement that comes with it. Luckily, I love roller coasters! 😘

It’s Finally Happening!

I’m SO EXCITED!!!

There is going to be a 2nd store for Yoga-urt coming to Echo Park in Los Angeles in Spring 2019!

Yes it’s true!!!

It’s been so hard not to share the news with everyone so I’m so happy I can talk about it now. This is something I’ve wanted to do since the first store opened, and it’s happening!!!!

Here is how it came to be.

I actually spent one day looking for spaces in Santa Monica back in June. I didn’t see anything that day that really worked, and then that very same day, I got an email from an agent/broker about a space in Echo Park. He said he wasn’t sure if I was looking to do a 2nd store but sharing just in case.

Although this wasn’t an area I was that familiar with or was considering, the pictures looked good so I thought I would check it out. Why not!

When I saw the space, I could immediately picture Yoga-urt there. And, it’s across the street from PETA which was incredible. But, I wasn’t 100% convinced about the area as it is very different from Kenneth Village where the current store is.

So I visited it a few times, talked to some people about it, and I’m not going to lie, I struggled with the decision as I really thought the next one was going to be on the Westside.

The day came when I had to make the decision and I just tried to clear my mind and forget about what everyone else thought and really just tried to see what my gut was telling me. And it came to me. This was it. Wasn’t what I pictured but might be even better! There has been no turning back since.

There was one big hitch though, I still needed the loan and this always takes longer than you think. I had to get 3 sets of approvals for the loan and hope the owners of the space would wait for me because the lease was contingent on getting the loan. Luckily they waited and gratefully the loan came through!!!

And we ended up signing the lease on Rosh Hashanah which is the Jewish New Year, and although not planned, seemed symbolic and a good sign.

So there it is – Yoga-urt #2 is on its way!

In my last post, I hinted about this and said that I was excited, grateful, scared, and proud.

I am excited because my dream is to share Yoga-urt with as many people as possible and I can’t wait to introduce so many new people to it.

I am grateful because this is my dream. And because of the support that Yoga-urt and I have received from so many people, there is much to be grateful for.

I am scared because there is a lot of fear on this journey – always. Is it the right location? Will it do well? Etc. But I know it’s okay to have fear, as long as it doesn’t hold me back so I’m not going to let it.

And I am proud. So proud of myself. There have been so many challenges on this journey, some so big I thought I couldn’t get passed them. And to be a female founder/entrepreneur and financially do this all on my own (plus loans) is huge. I’m proud of myself for being scared and doing it anyway.

I can’t wait!!!

Pie Slices & Popsicles

We introduced 2 new menu items this past month – pie slices & popsicles!

I’ve been wanting to offer both of these items for like a year, but we had no where to put them or display them. I had to wait until I could afford to buy a display freezer and I finally got one. Yay!!!

So for the first time, we are offering pie slices. Not only are they delicious and selling really well, but they are fun to make. Getting to experiment with different toppings & combos, my team is loving it!

And we also introduced popsicles. These are delicious too but a bit harder to make. There was a bunch of trial and error getting them out of the molding piece, but we finally figured it out. The step by step timing of everything is very important but as long as you get the timing right, they turn out great.

And both are beautiful too!

August was another really good month for us and it’s sad to know summer is fading away. It’s already getting darker earlier and I know inevitably we will slow down a bit, but hopefully not too much.

On another note, tomorrow is a very big day for me and for Yoga-urt. It is something I’m very excited, grateful, and scared about. And proud. So so so so proud of myself.

It’s almost hard to believe it and I’ll share soon, but it’s proof that when you work hard for something you believe in and you keep persisting through all of the challenges that come your way, you can bring your dreams to life.

Peanut Butter Prana & Chocolate Bliss Swirl Pie

Mint Magic Pie

Sweet Greens & Lavender Blossom Popsicles

Chocolate Bliss & Vanilla Harmony Popsicles

Birthday Cake Pie