Transforming Rural Colorado, One Downward Dog at a Time
Brittany Phelps was uninspired by the boundaries and limitations of working a typical 9 to 5 job, because from a young age she envisioned something different for herself. Brittany loved yoga, fitness, and the outdoors. Getting pulled by those desires, she eventually found herself working as a marketing manager in the mountain bike industry and was later relocated Crested Butte.
Like most people living in small mountain towns, Brittany wore many different hats in order to make a living. In order to make ends meet and be immersed in the community, she began picking up additional marketing clients. Then in 2017, the opportunity to purchase a yoga studio in Crested Butte landed in her lap. She immediately started working on financial planning and jumped on the opportunity.
Eight months later, Brittany became the proud owner of Thrive Yoga. She then opened a second studio location in CB South and went on to open a third location in Fruita. With the business expansion came challenges and it was essential for her to find capital to help refinance existing debt. She came across Colorado Lending Source during a rural small business event that the state was hosting in various mountain communities. From there the stars aligned, and she was able to acquire a Colorado Main Street loan, despite not qualifying for traditional financing. This funding allowed Brittany to expand the business with working capital and consolidate debt.
We sat down with Brittany to learn more about her experience as a business owner...
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
There’s no room to judge yourself when owning a business, and it’s okay to not know everything. We are all human and we are very mistake-prone; if you give yourself grace, take yourself lightly and give yourself permission to evolve it’s going to be a much smoother experience.
What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve encountered owning a business?
The biggest challenge is the constant evolution of your brand, services and product offering. We are fortunate to be at the point where our business is stable and organized; we are in the process of refining what we offer. Being focused on the long-term and continuing to stay inspired and passionate has helped us overcome those challenges.
What is it like owning a business in a rural community?
Owning a business in a rural community requires that you work and live from a place of integrity. We treat everyone like a neighbor, community, or family member. Sometimes we have to work a little harder to care and nurture those relationships, because every person matters in a small town. The volume of a seasonal small town has been difficult and at times we wished we had a larger volume of business, but not at the expense of not knowing each and every person that walks through our doors.
How did you decide to work with Colorado Lending Source?
I received a loan through Region 10, who then introduced me to Colorado Lending Source. The staff at Colorado Lending Source was incredible to work with and walked me through all of my options. They held my hand throughout the entire process, and I could tell that they had the best intentions for my success.
What do you look for when hiring employees?
We hire passionate, good people that live to serve humanity and the planet. We have exceptional teacher training programs; we can train incredible yoga teachers. We also created a business strategy and mentorship program to train thoughtful, strategic staff. I hire good people and teach them business strategies. It makes a big difference when it comes to efficiency and creating a beautiful culture.
In what ways does Thrive Yoga help support the community?
Thrive Yoga shows up in each of their respective communities as a place where people can heal, turn off, unplug, relax, and simply be. Our spaces create opportunities for people to connect with themselves and to the collective. We believe that the world would be a different place if we all felt allowed to live more authentically. Through practice we can find the strength to freely express our true nature and by "liberating ourselves we give others the permission to do the same". Thrive Yoga Studios serve their communities through equipping humanity with enriched practices and the tools people need to live meaningful, expressive, joyous lives.
How Brittany describes the entrepreneurial journey in one word...
STAY-TUNED! For the past few years I have been obtaining a robust business education through real-life experience. We needed those few building block years in order to continue to flourish and thrive!