What's Behind YM's Studios?

February 16, 2019

Yoga Movement Circular Road has finally come to fruition after years of hunting for the perfect space — yes, YEARS! To YM’s founder Peter Thew, opening up a new studio is a whole lot more than picking an empty spot and running with it. After six years of building YM, each studio location and their respective fit outs are still – if not more – carefully considered than ever. 

YM's first ever studio on Carpenter Street was built from scratch by the hands of our founders, Pete and Alicia. A door was used as a makeshift-turn-permanent reception desk (take notice the next time you head to Carpenter Street), lockers were carried in and fixed up the night before opening day, frames were built and painted by Pete himself... right up till our East Coast Studio! It was not until YM Robertson Quay — then East Coast, and finally Circular Road — that we hired an interior designer to professionally fit out the studio. 

But don’t take it from me, hear it from the man himself as he speaks about YM’s never-ending search for the best spaces in town and the work that goes into bringing each studio to life!

Hi Pete! How do you pick the locations of YM studios?
We’re always looking for spaces that are highly accessible to the YM FAM, ones that are a little quirky and strange, and locations that have a great mix of tenants around them (read: good food and great coffee). Of course, the rents also have to make sense, so that we can make the numbers work and keep the business where it’s at. 

We love the old school feel of shophouses… they just give you a lot more creative license to play with light, walls, and little nooks. Malls have always felt too corporate for us, and the ownership is usually very strict and regimented as compared to working with single location landlords. 

What do you look for in a YM location?
Over the years, we’ve gotten much better at knowing what we need. When we started, there wasn’t a huge focus on facilities, but as the industry has expanded and changed, people are really looking for full shower and hair facilities — as much as they are for an epic class! The challenge with old buildings is always fitting the right amount of facilities in within the confines of the original layout. But, these challenges are what makes the search fun. 

We really want spaces with great natural light, that have an open feel, and can comfortably fit some really nice sized practice rooms. We also believe in “dwell time”, so we try and create areas for people to chill out in with their friends, before and after class.  

Large windows and high ceilings at Orchard 22

Chill out spots at Robertson Quay

Where do you draw inspiration from when it comes to putting a studio together?
We’re always looking for reference outside of the yoga industry and largely outside of fitness lifestyle in general. Of course, we need to have functional aspects to a fitout, but for look, feel, lighting, flooring, and finishes… we generally look at the F&B industry. The cafe scene (globally) is just so amazing at throwing up some of the freshest and most creative ideas on how to use space… and they are regularly working with quirky areas that require a lot of ingenuity. Pinterest is great to gather references, but ultimately, it’s about getting out there and walking in to a few places and seeing what you like. 

The studios all have very different vibes to them. Tell us, how did the initial concept come about, and how did it morph into what it is today? 

They have their own little things going on. We want to be sure that we’re delivering spaces in line with the area, so not to have that “cookie cutter” Starbucks-type feel to them. We want individual spaces that communicate with people in different ways. 

Simply put, we’ve also just got better at fitting spaces out over the years. We’ve got a lot of things right since YM has been around, but we’ve also made our fair share of mistakes, so we now know how to approach our fitouts much better than we did five or six years ago. 

Pete working with our interior designers to fit out East Coast

Getting the practice rooms right before anything else

What has stayed constant throughout all studios? 
We always focus on our practice rooms first. They are actually the cheapest thing to fit out, versus a bathroom, or reception… but they remain the most important component of any space. 

If you had all the resources in the world, what would your ideal studio look like? 
Wow, this is a tough one! For me personally, I would love to have a totally curated concept, with multiple brands. It would sit on a huge chunk of land and there would be studios, gyms, spin, boxing, cafes, and a wine bar. I love when people are in a large group together enjoying a concept, but interacting with it in their own way. Sometimes, yoga can be hard to approach, or maybe boxing is your thing, so I would love to have a space where I could do a yoga class and my partner goes in to box, we both come out at the same time and have a great meal and some coffee… maybe a beer! 

Building our new home on Circular Road

A sneak peek into the details at our new space

So which neighbourhoods have you set your eyes on? 
We have the new one coming up at Circular road, which will be by far our best yet. 

The practice rooms in this one are going to be stunning, with a really fresh, somewhat hipster, colour palette. The change rooms and showers will be massive and I think people will appreciate the detail going in to this concept. 

I also have my eyes and ears sharply focused on some other areas, but we’re always waiting for that magic spot! 

Get excited — we're just slightly more than a month away from opening our biggest and best space yet! Keep a lookout on our Instagram Feed and Facebook Page for the latest updates on Yoga Movement Circular Road!