Sid Valley Business Awards: Jala Flow Yoga owners thank supporters

Tom and Louise Hunt of Jala Flow with their business award. Ref shs 25 18TI 6039. Picture: Terry Ife

Tom and Louise Hunt of Jala Flow with their business award. Ref shs 25 18TI 6039. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

What’s the history of your business and what does it do?

“Jala Flow Yoga offers a truly dedicated space to practice yoga for those of all experience, knowledge and interests, seven-days-a-week.

“This beautiful space, conveniently located on Sidmouth High Street, offers an extensive variety of styles of yoga, meditation and therapy, as well as workshops, retreats and training.

“Its core value is to have a positive, life-changing effect on anyone who walks through the door.

“We have worked tirelessly since opening in July 2015 to provide a yoga class for everyone – those looking to escape the routine of daily life, or athletes looking to enhance their sporting performance.”

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What inspired you to start it?

“We met at a yoga studio in Hertfordshire. At the time, Tom was disillusioned with the corporate world attending his second yoga class ever, and Louise, with over 12 years of teaching experience, had always dreamt of running her own yoga studio.

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“The next thing Tom knew, he was under a strict yoga training programme, engaged to be married and moving to the beach in Devon. He didn’t argue very much.”

Where do you see your business in five years’ time?

“We want to establish Jala Flow Yoga as a leading place in the UK to practice yoga and become a globally-recognised centre of training.

“As our numbers grow, so will the diversity of activities available. This will allow us to continually invest in recruiting local teachers, as well as attract guest teachers who are highly regarded worldwide.

“Combine this asset with the delights of our beautiful Sid Valley and we are sure people will be willing to travel long distances to seek out such an experience.”

How did it feel to win your award?

“It was a combination of disbelief and relief. Yoga studios set up and fail all the time. The reality is that no matter what your business is, success relies on a little luck and a lot of correctly made decisions and hard work.

“It was immensely fulfilling for fellow business owners to endorse that we have created something of value to the area that is recognised as a business success.

“Knowing that the two of us had achieved this together was a very proud moment.”

What advice do you have for anyone thinking of starting their own business in Sidmouth?

“Embrace Sidmouth as a place you love and ask yourself if you genuinely think your business will bring benefit to the people who live here.

“People are proud of where they live and want it to remain wonderful. The local council, businesses and people will be very fair and supportive if you follow this like-minded approach.

“Good customer service is paramount. When you receive an enquiry answer it immediately. When something goes wrong, fix it immediately. When you agree to do something, do it.”

Is there anyone you’d like to thank?

“Everyone in Sidmouth who has embraced Jala Flow Yoga and made it such a wonderful place to be.”

The judges said: “This rapidly expanding business, run by Tom and Louise Hunt, has developed a client base of 700, operating from premises above Potburys in Sidmouth High Street.

“The business has already established a very high reputation for the quality of their work, but the judges especially noted their highly entrepreneurial and innovative approach, and in particular, their flexibility with customers - it would be disappointing if yoga instructors weren’t flexible.”

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