Uscreen Spotlight is a special monthly feature article showcasing our most successful clients to share their journeys through the realm of online video streaming.
The fitness industry has been hit hard by COVID-19.
Gyms and yoga studios had to close their doors, suspend subscriptions, and even lay off staff. It has pushed people in the industry to…
- …hunker down and hope they make it
- …adapt their business model to survive
…and, in today’s post, we’re talking to two fitness entrepreneurs who chose to survive by bringing their brick-and-mortar studio into the world of online video.
Enter Jackie Alexander and Chris Koch, founders of Humming Puppy Yoga…
Uscreen: Hey Jackie and Chris! Could you tell us a little about Humming Puppy and what makes it special?
Chris: Humming Puppy is a yoga studio in Melbourne, with two other locations around the world. We offer what we like to call Yoga That Resonates, which is what makes us special. We use sound and frequencies as an integral part of our practice. When you enter a Humming Puppy studio – or now our online yoga studio! – you’re drenched in two frequencies.
We use a 40-hertz frequency, which is actually a brain wave pattern that is associated with states of peak performance, and 7.83 hertz, also known as the Schumann resonance which is actually the frequency of the earth. Now, I know it sounds a little wacky and weird, but this is rooted in science. The best way I can describe it is by using the example of two piano tuning forks.
If you strike one fork and it starts ringing you can bring the second tuning fork near the first and the two don’t have to actually touch and yet the second fork will also start ringing. It’s a concept known as ‘Vibrational Entrainment’ and that’s what we’re trying to replicate in the studio.
We also value great design, especially the beautiful architecture of many of the sacred spaces of worship around the world, and look to emulate this in a way that is void of any specific religious labels. This allows our students to interpret our spaces in their own unique way.
Our other studios are in Sydney and New York, and we’d just got our business to a point where the studios were doing great business before COVID-19 hit.
Uscreen: Could you tell us a little bit about how COVID-19 affected your yoga studio?
Jackie: It was devastating. We had to shut all three of our studios, which led to some really difficult conversations with our staff. It’s hard to see everything you’ve worked so hard on being pushed to its limits, so it’s been a real rollercoaster. Obviously the entire community is experiencing similar problems and during this time we’ve found a new appreciation for focusing on the positives, no matter how small. One of these positives (and this is certainly one of the bigger ones) has been the opportunity to take our business online.
Uscreen: Had you guys ever thought about taking your business online before COVID-19?
Chris: We’d wanted to take Humming Puppy online for a while. But, we didn’t know how to translate our offline experience into an online one that properly represented our brand. We originally wanted to mimic the Peloton model, by live-streaming all of the classes on our timetable. But, that didn’t work for us, so we abandoned the idea.
However, COVID-19 really forced our hand. We had to take our brick-and-mortar studio online if we wanted to get through this period. That’s when we began experimenting with online options.
Uscreen: What steps did you take to get Humming Puppy online?
Jackie: Getting online was a rapid learning process. We had the financial resources to create our own standalone video platform, but because of the pandemic, we couldn’t get quick access to developers and coders to help us create it. So, we knew we needed to do it ourselves.
We started off with Zoom simply because we wanted to get a live stream going. But, the upload speeds for our in-studio internet just weren’t fast enough to sustain it. Zoom also wasn’t intuitive enough for us to easily play the aforementioned frequencies (that we play in the studio) through the platform. We figured out that recording and uploading content was the only way we could create a viable product.
Then we began looking at other solutions. We looked at everyone in the industry, but it came down to a choice between Uscreen and Vimeo. We found that Uscreen was just more intuitive for people like us – yoga instructors, with no coding knowledge – to get online quickly.
Uscreen: How long did it take you to get your site online?
Chris: We turned it around in a week. That included learning how to use DSLR cameras to live stream, and deciding on the content we wanted to create.
Uscreen: Wow, that’s quick! What was it that made it more intuitive for you?
Jackie: We found Uscreen to be really user-friendly. Time was tight for us, and we needed a platform we could get to grips with quickly. Uscreen was just easy to navigate and lots of things, like third-party integrations, only took a couple of clicks to set up.
Chris: The most important part though was customization. We really can’t speak highly enough of your customizable templates. We could create the website we wanted, and that reflected our brand, with minimal effort.
Uscreen: How has using sounds and frequencies translated into your online yoga sessions? Do you feel it has the same impact when it’s being streamed?
Chris: Jackie and I are very much perfectionists when it comes to sound. We’ve found that inserting the “hum” as an audio track over the video works well. If you’ve got a decent set of headphones or a good sound system, it does a good job of replicating the in-studio experience.
However, if you’re just using computer speakers, we find it doesn’t quite hit the mark. Most computers just aren’t capable of replicating the low frequencies that our signature “hum’ puts out. But, that being said, that’s not what we’ve been hearing from our clients. They send us videos of them doing it in front of the computer and they love it! But we are looking at options of sending out speakers with online memberships, so we can feel comfortable that our online users are getting the full experience.
Uscreen: You mentioned earlier that going online was a positive opportunity for Humming Puppy. Has going online brought anything new to your business?
Jackie: Definitely! The online platform is more flexible than our brick-and-mortar business. Our instructors can share more through our online platform than they ever could in a 60-minute session. We can also add more variety to what we do, like offering classes we haven’t been able to add to our in-person timetable, like shorter sessions or meditation classes.
Chris: It also lets us have crossover between our studios, like sharing sessions from our New York instructors with our customers in Sydney or Melbourne.
Uscreen: Do you see your Humming Puppy website being an option even when the COVID-19 pandemic is over, then?
Chris: For sure. It’s a long-term, sustainable option for us. It helps us to ensure an income no matter what happens in the offline world. And, from a business point of view, this is infinitely more scalable than what we’re doing with our physical locations. We can reach a worldwide audience, without having to open locations in all 197 countries!
Jackie: We’re still growing and defining what we do online, and we’re not at a stage where our Uscreen website is generating the same income as our studios. But as time goes on, we really believe that we can scale the business far more than we ever could offline.
Uscreen: Okay, one final question then I’ll let you guys go. What’s been your favorite part about using Uscreen so far?
Chris: It’s the fact that we can go in and do it all ourselves. You guys have created a platform that would allow any normal yoga studio – who typically would have no experience coding or building websites – to get a high-quality website up and running quickly. We like the feeling of control we have, and that everything is just ready-to-go.
If you want to learn more about Humming Puppy, and their unique approach to yoga, you can visit their Uscreen website right here.