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We meet Sandra from Unwind Yoga Studio in Cookham to find out more about the business. 
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Tell us about Unwind Yoga Studio 

In 2019, after years of thinking about it, I started creating a yoga and meditation sanctuary for people suffering from pain, stress & anxiety and looking for a way to become flexible and calm. I loved yoga and attended local studios, but there was no local studio that was airy, spacious, nature-inspired and calm, so I created one! Unwind Yoga Studio opened its doors in January 2020 - and closed in March of that year for 14 months, so you can imagine that it hasn't been an easy ride. BUT, we are here, and now in 2022, we see an increasing number of people come to us for a number of reasons: to start yoga, to become fitter, stronger, more flexible, to de-stress - and find community. 
Unwind's WHY: “Everything we do, we believe in making people feel more positive. We believe in being optimistic and strong, and we believe in making you optimistic and strong. The way we make you feel more positive is by teaching effective methods of movement and stillness for your body and mind in a serene, sustainable environment. And the way we do it is through yoga, meditation and mindful wellbeing practices.” 
Unwind's mission: At Unwind we offer a local, dedicated and eco-conscious space for slower yoga styles, meditation and wellbeing practices in a calm, natural and mindful environment with expert teachers that teach movement and stillness practices that are good for each unique student. 
Unwind's vision: Unwind Yoga Studio aspires to be Maidenhead’s go-to eco-conscious studio for slower yoga styles, meditation and wellbeing practices by offering wellbeing services that make students feel happy in their unique body, mind and spirit. 

Lockdown was tough for many retailers, how did the pandemic affect your business? Have you found ways to make your business more resilient? 

Yes, undoubtedly, lockdown was hard for us, just a fledgling thing in March 2020 when it closed for lockdown, and it seemed that all the hard work, effort and money invested in 2019 was dissolving into nothing.  
In lockdown 2 we started classes on Zoom and began to grow a little community, which became so dedicated, over 90% of the members that joined us then are actually still with us now, in person. The good thing with lockdown was that it slowed down my learning curve, I could make mistakes and that was okay as things really could not get any worse lol, and I had time to work with a business coach, and learn a LOT about cash-flows, financing, HR, Sales etc.  
I got to know my students really well and realised who our ideal dream clients are. I took the time to get to know the teachers, and figured out that looking after my teachers and staff is an important part of the business. I was able to refine our eco-friendly business idea, and I had time to refine our mission and vision, so now, in 2022, I am in a very good position to build the business and move from start-up to scale-up strongly. 

What are your plans for the business? 

Top priorities (and what I am using the grant for): 
1. Marketing (new shop front displays and I bought a digital display for the window) the yoga studio 
2. Retail: I am establishing a wellbeing & yoga shop (I have also used some of the grant to buy eco-friendly stock from UK based, female owned, small businesses) 
3. Training: I am taking more training to offer assisted stretching classes (whoop, this is going to be awesome!!) 

If you could give advice to other local businesses, how would you support them? 

Be prepared to pivot when you have to, it's hard, but when one door closes, another one can be there to walk through. 
Surround yourself with positive, helpful people that support your mission and vision. 
Have a mission and vision :) even if it is fuzzy to start with (mine was...it was a gut feeling more than anything), start with that and then give yourself permission to take time to refine it.  
You don't have to do it all perfectly, but stay true to your values. 

How to support your local business. 

Unwind Yoga Studio Limited 
Our popular 5x month yoga studio membership at 40% off for the first six months with your advantage card! What you get: Our 5 Class Silver Membership with 5 classes per month (regular studio classes on schedule). 12 months minimum contract, 6 months at discounted rate of 40% off purchase price, then 6 months at the full membership price. Billed monthly. Must present valid RBWM Advantage card to be eligible to purchase. Members get an extra 10% off selected events and retail in our shop. 
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