Working Women Wednesday is a weekly highlight of the hard-working women within the Girl Gang. This week’s feature is the Owner of Hope Yoga, Jackie Walsh.
Your Local Girl Gang: Tell us about your business. What is your mission statement? When did you launch?
Jackie Walsh: Hope Yoga is in honor and memory of my parents Helen & Jim Walsh. My mom had breast cancer before I was born and was re-diagnosed with brain cancer in 1996. Upon revealing her diagnosis to my dad & my five siblings, she brought home a Newfoundland puppy that she named Hope. It was her way to show our family that she was not giving up hope and that everything would be okay. Helen lost her battle with cancer two years later on September 12, 1998. Hope lived until 2006 and was a large part of the Walsh family.
My dad had several different forms of cancer throughout the years but eventually passed away on March 12, 2013. Both Helen & Jim embodied true selflessness, always putting others before themselves. They always encouraged their children to work hard, be kind, be of service to others and to follow their dreams. Their favorite sayings were “Never, Never Quit” and “I did it my way.”
The vision of Hope Yoga is to create a safe, welcoming, explorative space for the average person to be able to take a class and feel at home in their bodies & minds. We offer a variety of classes, events, and workshops that come back to the true values of yoga. We hope to help people to heal, grow, & thrive, and create a greater sense of self and community.
At Hope Yoga we believe that yoga can be made accessible to anyone that wants to try, regardless of physical, mental and financial limitations. We encourage our students to arrive on their mat as they are, and feel the transformation unfold in their bodies and minds. We want to be a safe haven for anyone whether they have practiced yoga hundreds of times or if it’s their first time on the mat.
We officially opened our doors January 12, 2019 and these past 5 months have been incredible to witness!
YLGG: When and how did the idea for your business come to you?
JW: After the loss of my father in 2013, my sisters and I decided to take a trip to Bali, Indonesia. While in Bali I met yoga teachers Alicia Cheung & Oliver Rensch. After many heartfelt conversations I decided to sign up for their yoga teacher training that October in Bali. I honestly had no intention of teaching, but rather saw it as an experience that would help me see the world and allow me some time to heal. After completing my 200 hour YTT & a 100 hour yin yoga training, I knew in my heart I was meant to teach. My experiences with loss and grief brought me to becoming a yoga teacher and I could not wait to share this practice with others.
After coming back and teaching I knew I wanted to open a yoga studio, but waited a few years until finally opening Hope in the town where I was born, raised and currently reside.
I knew that Fairview Park would be a great market for yoga as there were no studios in the area or surrounding cities (Westpark & North Olmsted). It took a little bit to find the right location but when we finally did we started doing work to the space immediately and transformed it into the beautiful studio of my dreams. I couldn’t be more thrilled with how the space has turned out and our doors are open to anyone wanting to try yoga!
YLGG: What is the best piece of business advice you have received?
JW: Stay in your own lane. Don’t be concerned about what others are doing and stay true to yourself and your mission. Try to remain in the abundance mindset as much as you can, rather than scarcity where you are just focusing on what your “competition” is doing. Yes it’s good to look at what other yoga studios are doing, and also to go practice in other studios but don’t replicate what someone else is doing because you’re nervous what you’re doing isn’t enough.
YLGG: What piece of advice you would give to women starting their own businesses?
JW: Go for it. You’re never fully prepared and you will learn so much along the way, but if you are passionate about something and you just keep putting it off, you just need to do it! Also make sure you find a solid group of friends, or family to be your support system. There are so many ups and downs that come with owning a business and you’ll need people to lean on during the tough times, to celebrate during the good times.
YLGG: What do you like most about your workspace?
JW: I love the way the studio looks and feels when you walk in. It’s weird to have an image in your mind of what you want it to look like and then bring that image to fruition. It is important to me to have the space feel welcoming and healing and I think we achieved just that. It’s light and airy, but also cozy and homey. The bright light shining through the windows and the plethora of plants make you feel at ease. Having the front desk right when you walk in allows you to be greeted and welcomed by our staff. I just love everything about how the space turned out!
YLGG: What is something you could not go a day without?
JW: A big hug from my big fluffy Newfoundland, Penny, and my boyfriend, Tyler.
YLGG: Name a woman, past or present, who you admire.
JW: My mother, Helen Walsh. I admire her strength, in birthing six children, battling cancer twice, and even though she lost her second battle she gave one hell of a fight. I admire her empathy, kindness and generosity for being a nurse and always trying to help others even when she was the one that was so sick.
I admire her determination to never, never quit especially when it came to living for our family. Her ability to find ways to surprise us, including bringing home a Newfoundland puppy to tell us she was sick, always finding ways to make the most out of a bad situation, caring for others over herself.
I admire her ability to smile and laugh at all the things that happen in life, good and bad. Her ability to pick everything up on a whim, including six kids and heading down south to find the sunshine, seeking some quality time with family and the ocean.
I miss her & my dad so so much, each and every day. I hope that this studio and this mission are making them smile down from heaven!