We had the good fortune of connecting with Amber Lopez & Brandi Boers and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Amber Lopez & Brandi Boers, other than deciding to work for yourself, what else do you think played a pivotal role in your story?
Each of us had built a career in corporate America, spending 50+ hours each week working in high-stress roles. While working full-time we had the opportunity to open Elevate Yoga and at the time it was simply a hobby and an escape from our own stressors, our happy place. When we did this, it wasn’t to “work for ourself” and there was no goal to eventually transition our careers from the only thing we knew to being entrepreneurs. But it wasn’t long before that vision changed. At first, we envisioned creating an environment that was a safe, welcoming, warm and accepting place for all; not just a yoga studio, but a true community. And that’s exactly what we did. We not only met so many new people, and were witnessing our students becoming friends with one another, but we began seeing that the space we had created was not only our happy place and our escape from our day-to-day high stress jobs, but it was that same thing to every person that walked through the door. We were connecting with the community and with others that also needed an outlet away from their stressful lives, who needed connection with others, and who needed acceptance, love, and support. Students began sharing their personal stories with us, their struggles and how what we were building was helping them. To this day it brings tears to our eyes and continually warms our hearts to think back on the moment we realized that we were building something bigger than we ever envisioned, something bigger than us, and something that so many others needed in their lives. It was at this point we made the decision that our vision was not only coming to fruition but in a way we couldn’t have ever imagined. We realized that we were making an impact on people’s lives, in a positive, nurturing, loving and caring way and that was a big deal. And that was it. We knew that there was no high-paying, corporate position that could have replaced what we were feeling, what we were building, and the community we now considered family. It was at this point we made the decision to move our pop-up, donation based studio to a full-time, brick and mortar location and leave our full-time jobs for a career that is nothing short of labor of love, but the most rewarding decision we could have ever made.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
We are Phoenix’s first aerial yoga studio and we’ve built what we have from the ground up, with nothing. Just 2 women that had a vision to share a passion with everyONE. What sets us apart from other studios is that we are more than just a studio, we are a community, a family, and a place where you’re not just going to come take your class and go home. You can expect to get to know the instructors, us as owners, and create new friendships with the other members. We believe that anyBODY is a yoga body and we support all walks of life exploring the art of an aerial yoga practice. This community, culture, and environment that we’ve built is what we are most proud of. The business isn’t “Brandi and Amber”; it’s truly the members of our community. They are what drives us and keeps us going day in and day out. We got to where we are today first because the opportunity to open Elevate presented and we took a chance. Fast forward, our continued success has come from being determined, passionate and dedicated. And, it helps that we balance each other out so well! Starting and running a business is not easy, but we’re extremely luck to have each other (we honestly couldn’t ever imagine doing this alone). Early on, we recognized our individual strengths which has helped us divide and conquer. We have a strong shared vision for who we are and what we want, and that has allowed us to remain on course through adversity. When challenges have presented it’s been our ability to work together so incredibly well that is to credit how we overcome. We’re able to stop and take a step back, remember what our vision is and pivot as needed. If anyone can remember back in March when everyone’s worlds were turned upside down… that is the best example of how we overcame a challenge. Within 72 hours we pivoted from being an in-person aerial yoga studio to a virtual mat-based yoga studio. If it weren’t for that, we might not be where we are now 6+ months into a pandemic. Lessons we’ve learned along the way? A ton! Likely too many to list, but probably the biggest lesson learned that we have taken from our experience in a corporate setting is to always surround yourself with people that know more than you and are smarter than you. By realizing you do not know it all and you do not have all of the answers has been one of the biggest lessons learned. It’s ok to ask for help, to collaborate with others, and to work together. Because after all, we’re all in this together in the end. The biggest thing about our brand and our story is that it’s ok to take chances and embrace being unique. We took a chance on sharing our passion for aerial yoga with others when no one else was. We took a chance on creating an environment that isn’t like the studio next door: when you walk in, everyone knows your name, your dog’s name, your partner’s name, and we’re going to ask you how you are doing, we have fun, we are playful, and we are quirky. We took a chance on each other, this community, and entrepreneurship. And the result? The best version of our vision was born. We are a commUNITY, we accept everyONE and everyBODY, we create friendships, we are a family.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
We LOVE supporting local and love the state of Arizona, and oh… we are BIG foodies! Some of our favorite things we would not miss are: Coffee (the best way to start the day): Our go-to includes Fair Trade Cafe or Copper Star Coffee, and Vovomena has coffee flights! Brunch (our favorite meal): Fame Cafe, Vovomena, Otro (get the pancake!) Wine (because life is ALL about balance): GenuWine Arizona or Rott n’ Grapes (for local) but we LOVE a trip up north to visit all of the various tasting rooms and vineyards! Hiking (we love getting out in nature): Piestewa is our go to locally, but head up north and the views in Flagstaff and Sedona can’t be beat! Dinner (there are so many good ones, but these are our favorites): Forno 301 for Italian, Feednix for food trucks, Taco Chelo for tacos, Churn for ice cream, and La Pinata for some authentic Mexican Activities: Pretty much anything that explores Downtown Phoenix and Roosevelt Row (we love the culture, arts, and murals that are everywhere!), The Painter’s Lounge for a fun, creative time, Day Trips (one of our favorite things): Cottonwood, Jerome, Sedona, Flagstaff and the Mogollon Rim
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Of course our family have always been our biggest cheerleaders and supporters! Beyond that we wouldn’t be where we are today if it weren’t for Wayne Rainey, Cydney Guess Schest and the entire family over at The MonOrchid that took a chance on us back in 2016. We called the north studio home for a year and 9 months and the support, passion, and vision that was cultivated from everyone there has contributed to our vision and passion for community to this day.