Move, Breathe, Thrive — The Growth of Monarch Yoga

March 20, 2024

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Amid the uncertainty of COVID-19, while many businesses were pausing operations, one small business dared to defy the odds and  set up shop. Monarch Yoga emerged as a respite from the stress and loneliness many of us felt during the pandemic.

Michelle Dillon opened Monarch Yoga in June of 2020 to answer the call for safe human connection many were craving during the height of the pandemic. Starting as an outdoor traveling yoga studio, they offered one class per week at parks and other outdoor spaces across Philadelphia. Since then, Monarch Yoga has seen tremendous growth. They opened a brick-and-mortar location at 171 West Berks Street, the first yoga studio in Kensington, offering 40+ classes a week in three different styles: heated power flow, slow flow, and yin yoga. This large studio has space for 50+ yoga mats, an expansive lobby, roof deck, and lots of windows to keep their robust plant collection healthy. And they’ve grown from a tiny company to a team of over 20 teachers and four administrative roles.  Their teaching team is extremely diverse, helping to foster a diverse community of yogis of all ages, backgrounds and experience levels. 

“I knew that [PIDC] supported women-owned small businesses and wanted to learn more about the offerings.”

Michelle Dillon
Owner of Monarch Yoga

Though they’ve grown significantly since their inception, Dillion wanted to keep yoga accessible and to support other small businesses. They offer several $5 classes a week hosted in breweries, parks, and other locations throughout the city taught by newer teachers. They are active in their community, hosting regular neighborhood trash pickup events and “fundraiser flows” to benefit local organizations. 

To keep things fresh, Monarch Yoga regularly tests new workshops, class types, and unique venues. “This winter, we took our outdoor yoga and beats class indoors and hosted a local DJ that taught over 75 students each month,” said Dillion. “May 1st will kick off our outdoor yoga season, where we will have options to do yoga on the roof deck of our studio and at fresh air venues all throughout the city.” 

Dillion understands the challenges women in business face. That’s one of the reasons she came to PIDC.  “I knew that they supported women-owned small businesses and wanted to learn more about the offerings,” said Dillion. “PIDC has been extremely helpful in navigating large changes within our business and supporting us as we expand! Monarch Yoga would not be where we are today, without the support and guidance of PIDC.” PIDC provided Monarch Yoga with a Working Capital & Equipment loan to help the business with its rapid growth. “With the help of PIDC, we have tripled our membership base and [are] creating a lasting change [in] our neighborhood,” said Dillion.

Monarch Yoga opened a brick-and-mortar location at 171 West Berks Street.

Dillion recommends women entrepreneurs find supportive networks. “Fishtown/Kensington has a strong network of women-owned small businesses. Find others that are doing similar work, and start the conversation… ‘How did you do it?!’” she says. “A support network will give you confidence to step out of your comfort zone and just DO THE THING! Get the LLC, sign the lease, say yes to your first client, create the Instagram, make a website. If you have feelings of doubt and fear, good – you are growing!“

There are big things in the works for Dillion. She’s hoping to expand to another location soon, thanks to PIDC assistance. We can’t wait to see what’s next! If you’re looking for a yoga studio that works for everyone, it’s time to give Monarch Yoga a visit.

Learn more about PIDC’s financing opportunities for businesses.

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