Looking for a yoga studio that doesn’t take itself too seriously? Look no further than One Down Dog! With 3 locations on LA’s eastside, ODD is both a yoga studio and inclusive community space offering unique, feel good yoga classes that are welcoming, accepting and fun. We recently caught up with ODD founder Jessica Rosen to learn more about her mission and how she created her dream job.
WHAT WERE YOU DOING 10 YEARS AGO, BEFORE ODD?
JR: Ten years ago, I moved to LA from Michigan where I worked as both a substance abuse counselor/therapist and at the front desk of a yoga studio. When I first moved out here, my psychology license didn’t transfer and the yoga studio that I moved out here to manage didn’t open; so I ended up working at American Apparel, Lululemon, and a couple of yoga studios. It was a wild and stressful time, but one that forged the path to making my wildest and craziest dreams come true.
IS RUNNING ODD YOUR DREAM JOB?
JR: 100%! I always imagined myself having my own business—what that looked like over the years changed, but I knew I wanted to be my own boss. After finishing my MA in psychology, I started working at a yoga studio and found myself loving that, and teaching, more than I loved working as a therapist. Over the years, I worked basically every position at yoga studios and found that I loved the business side: the creativity, problem solving and goal setting. I never thought it would be possible to have my own business, and definitely not my own yoga studio, but here we are! I now have 3 locations (more coming soon), an amazing team, and the most fabulous community of students! I guess I’d say I found the job that goes BEYOND my dreams.WHAT MAKES ODD DIFFERENT FROM OTHER YOGA STUDIOS IN LA?
JR: One Down Dog is committed to keeping yoga ODD. ODD is community-driven, diverse, and open to all. We bring a variety of empowering yoga classes, trainings, events and workshops to a diverse population in a welcoming space where students feel comfortable, at home, and connected to their community. Our community means everything to us at One Down Dog. ODD is a yoga home for many—we consider ourselves the Cheers of yoga, the place where everybody knows your name. All of our classes are open-level, and we offer a wide variety of teaching styles and classes. Oh! And we try not to take ourselves too seriously… because FUN is important.
WHEN DID YOU HAVE YOUR “AH HA” MOMENT?
JR: 30 days prior to turning 30 I decided to write a blog post a day as a way to reflect on my previous 30 years of life—I was going through a major transition career wise, and really struggling to figure out what my life was going to look like. I left the yoga studio where I’d managed and taught, and knew I wanted to start my own thing, but felt like it was impossible because I didn’t have the money or the know-how to run my own business. It was during this time that one of my students at the high school where I was teaching let me know that her Kung Fu studio was looking for a yoga teacher and happened to have a small private space they were willing to rent to me. While that space didn’t work out, it opened me up to the possibility of starting something small in a different way than I had imagined it would look. All of a sudden this big, daunting thing I thought would never happen was possible! Soon after that, I found a shared space in my neighborhood and opened the very first One Down Dog with basically no money and not a lot of knowledge about running a business. That was January of 2013… I’m still here!
HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THIS BUSINESS CONCEPT AND DID YOU HAVE EXPERIENCE IN IT PRIOR?
JR: Prior to One Down Dog existing as a yoga studio, I formed the company with the intention of developing a yoga program for recovery centers. The name comes from the saying “one day at a time.” I found myself saying “one down dog at a time” a lot in classes, so it was an easy choice. The idea for opening a physical space came later. After working at studios all over LA, I started the search for my yoga home on the eastside; I was looking for a studio that felt like home and didn’t take itself too seriously—a place with a sense of community that offered fun and challenging classes. I wasn’t finding what I was looking for, so I built it myself! One Down Dog was born out of the desire to create a space where people could come together, have fun, connect and learn through the practice of yoga. The concept has evolved and we continue to change and grow with our community. Prior to opening my own space, I worked in every capacity at yoga studios—front desk, floor scrubber, teacher, social media poster and manager. I had absolutely no business experience or education. I learned everything as I went along. HOW DID YOU FUND YOUR DREAM JOB?
JR: I started with a very small investment from my parents (think under 10k) and managed to get the shared space off the ground. I reinvested every penny earned into the business. When it came time to expand into our very own space, I ran an Indiegogo campaign that generated 10k, I took out a small 0% interest loan from an amazing organization called Jewish Free Loan Association (protip: you don’t have to be Jewish to take out a loan and they loan for all sorts of things with no interest, fees or fines), and borrowed a very small amount from my parents that I was able to pay back in 2 years. All growth since then has been funded by the business itself.
NAME 3 OF THE SCARIEST MOMENTS YOU HAD WHEN DOING THIS.
JR: 1. Overcoming self-doubt to go for it! 2. Signing my first official lease—I had no idea I was going to fund the buildout and pay rent. 3. All of the little (big) things—letting my first employee go, having a kid while running a business, saying no to other opportunities to focus on my dream.WHAT IS YOUR PIECE OF ADVICE TO ANYONE WHO WANTS TO STOP WHAT THEY’RE DOING AND CREATE THEIR “DREAM JOB”?
JR: ASK FOR HELP! Identify your strengths and weaknesses and let other people do what they’re great at, so you can focus on what you are. Reach out and create a network of people who can assist you. Assist others when and where you can. Life is a group project—we can’t do this shit alone.