Robyn Parets started Pretzel Kids in 2005 as a local yoga studio for kids in Boston, MA. In 2016, over a decade later, she switched her business model to providing online courses training others how to become yoga teachers for kids.
She shut down her studio and has since turned Pretzel Kids into a global children’s wellness and yoga company. Over 400 prospective teachers have paid for the course. In 2019 Pretzel Kids launched a web marketplace and subscription platform where teachers can list their classes and take payments from clients.
Robyn is a true entrepreneur. Here are my takeaways:
1. Look at where you can differentiate
Robyn first started offering yoga teacher training from her studio back in 2005, but as time went on every studio began to do the same. It was hard to differentiate.
Robyn and her co-creators, who were school teachers, took a different approach and concentrated on building a structured curriculum based on what they knew worked in schools. This enabled them to differentiate themselves in a crowded market, and later made it easier to transition to online.
2. Build your audience first by giving value
Robyn said that, if she had to start again, this is what she would do differently. She had her local audience, but when it came to launching Pretzel Kids online she had start from scratch finding people who wanted to learn to become a teacher.
Building the audience took time. Some things she did:
- Took her existing email list and segmented it to find the subset of people who were interested in teaching yoga.
- Created a Facebook group of people who want tips on kids yoga, and got their email addresses when they joined.
- Wrote blogs and offered freebies, such as e-books on how to bring your in-person yoga classes online during a pandemic.
3. Learn to write emails
Robyn took a course on how to write better emails, and her emails greatly improved.
“If you compare the kind of emails I send out now to a year ago, it’s night and day. The community wants to hear your voice, they want to learn about what you stand for, but also what value you offer beyond selling a course. And as a result my sales have been increasing because the community feels like I’m listening to them and offering value”.
4. Know what you don’t know
Robyn knew she had gaps in her knowledge when it came to digital marketing, so she jumped into learning it. She took courses and webinars, and then hired experts who could help her to implement the techniques.
They created lead magnets and marketing funnels to help her to build her email list. “That was integral because some things I did well, and some things I just didn’t have the expertise”.
She advises using freelance contractors rather than hires, because not all of them worked out, but the ones that did added enormous value.
5. People will pay for things that help them get paid
At its core, Pretzel Kids is helping people to generate extra income.
If you want your business to be resilient during economic downturns, build something that brings your customers new income streams.