Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Community, evolution, and business
I don't usually blog about businesses - there are lots of great Oakland blogs featuring our local small businesses and their offerings, and I love to read those and try to always support local when I can. Since that area is covered by so many talented, enthusiastic bloggers I don't feel like there is a need for me to be in that niche.
The reason I'm going to make an exception and write a little bit about Square One Yoga Collective (in Emeryville, a mere 2 miles from my house) is that for me, they are such a great representation of a trend I believe in and see as the way of the future. Square One looks to me like a business that is a strong, authentic expression of a person's beliefs and mission. The business is oddly stripped of "appearances" and that vaguely annoying and fake feeling that comes when yoga studios and other businesses are trying to be something that they think they should be to get my attention. You know that feeling you get when a yoga teacher is giving you "spiritual" teaching despite clearly being an ego-driven mess themselves? Or when a restaurant is so enthusiastic about its superiority you know that they don't actually buy their own hype? That awful saccharine taste of Marketing? It's so last decade. Last century, even.
I have been reading the blog by Square One's owner, Katy, and reveling in the naked realness of it. This is near-complete transparency. I have never before been a customer of anyone who so frankly shared the annoyances, triumphs, insecurities, and daily grind of being a business owner. She's not trying to make it pretty for fear that her customers can't handle real.
It's powerful. It's not why I've chosen this yoga studio - I like the studio and the teachers and think that they offer excellent value for my money - but it's incredibly liberating for me as a customer and student. It builds trust, because I feel like I am not paying for a fake image, I am just paying for a service that I appreciate. The lack of frills and the startling honesty may be why I commit to this yoga studio.
In a world full of people trying too hard, it's truly refreshing to engage with people who are just honestly trying.