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Becoming a studio owner: Laira, HPY Chester

Becoming a studio owner: Laira, HPY Chester

Hotpod Yoga was originally founded around two principles – creating an immersive yoga experience that leaves people feeling great and providing a path for people that love yoga to make a solid career and living from it.  This is still very much at the heart of the business today. There’s a team of people at Hotpod HQ who spend their days offering support and advice to people about to embark on the journey of opening their own studio, as well as franchise owners who have been open for several years (but who still want advice on anything from operations to managing teachers and marketing).

Laira, who opened Hotpod Yoga Chester in early 2022, tells us why she chose Hotpod Yoga and how she’s found the journey so far (two months in at the time of writing this!)…

What were you doing before you opened a Hotpod Yoga studio?

Before I set up Hotpod Yoga Chester, I lived in London where I worked for Pret A Manger. In my last role at Pret I was responsible for their franchise expansion in Europe. I have been practicing Yoga for over 7 years and in 2018 I began my journey to pursue my dream of one day becoming a yoga teacher and studio owner. In 2020 I took my yoga teacher training, got in touch with the HPY guys and quit my job.  The rest is history. I moved to Chester (my husband grew up here – hence the connection) and now I really am living my dream!  Having successfully opened a beautiful studio situated in a stunning church, I feel I have built an amazing community. I could not be happier with what I chose to do with my life!

Why did you choose to open a franchise with Hotpod Yoga?

Having worked in the franchise world myself I really understand the benefits of having a brand behind you. Especially if you are not a well established teacher – like in my case. I did my research and having explored a few other franchise options, Hotpod Yoga was the option that felt right for me. Not only because I loved the concept of the pod since I first set foot in it, but also when I crunched the numbers and heard about the support available, it was a no-brainer!

What has been challenging during the process of opening your own studio?

There were a few challenges along the way… The first one was that I had to wait 5 months for change of use to be approved for the property I chose. This is because it was a church and therefore planning permission had to be given. The next one was related to doing building works during covid. We kicked off construction in November, and soon after that my electrician and plumber got covid. Due to the nature of my building (very old church that hanot been used for for 20 years) these were the first jobs that needed doing and it ended up causing a delay of 3-4 weeks. The last unexpected thing was the price rise of electricity and gas. It was shocking, but luckily I have set my class prices high enough to swallow this.

On reflection, I’m glad for the delay as it just gave me a bit more space and time to work on the other pre-opening bits such as getting to know the locals here, doing my recruitment, marketing, etc…

And finally, what has been the most enjoyable part of the journey?

That is a hard question. I really enjoyed the pre-opening stages of the process… Moving up to Chester, searching for the dream location of my studio and then immersing myself in the local community in the area I was about to open my studio. That was really enjoyable!  I hand-picked the location of my studio, wanting to offer a full lifestyle experience for those who visit. Pre or post class my students can really enjoy the city centre, the amazing walks and food options Chester has to offer. And honestly life just got better as I opened! Every day I meet the most amazing people and I’m really enjoying building a community. It’s amazing seeing how great people feel after a class – that is all I could wish for.


If you’d like to know more about opening your own Hotpod Yoga studio then read our FAQs or request some more information about becoming a franchisee here.