Should yoga instructors sell supplies?

yoga-teacherIf you own a yoga studio or teach yoga, you may have considered selling yoga supplies as another form of income. After all, how many times have students asked you for recommendations about the best type of yoga mat to buy? Wouldn’t it be smart to be able to sell your recommendation on the spot?

That could, in fact, be a great idea. Many yoga studio owners supplement their income by selling mats, bags, and t-shirts. You might even expand your line of offerings to include other things that people interested in yoga might want, such as jewelry, yoga books and other lifestyle or metaphysical items.

However, before you take this step, you should understand that the retail business is very different from the yoga business. You may be used to selling a service and publicizing classes, but there is an entirely different learning curve involved with selling products. When selling products, know that there is an initial investment since you have to buy inventory. If the inventory does not sell, you could be looking at a loss.

If you think selling supplies may be the right move for you, consider these following tips to get started.

Know your audience. Before selling anything, know what your audience is likely to buy. Look at the clothing they wear and the yoga accessories they carry. Note the questions they ask you about products and accessories. You might even survey your customers to see what types of items they’d be interested in buying. There is always risk involved with retail, but you can cut down on that risk if you really know who you’re selling to.

Start small. Don’t turn your yoga studio into Amazon.com, offering any and everything yoga. Instead start small and see how your customers respond to the products you bring in. This will also help you to learn what sells and what doesn’t. That way you can see what you might want to order more of and what you might want to keep off your shelves forever.

Make the price right. Pricing is crucial to your success. You don’t want to charge so much that no one buys your product, but you don’t want to charge so low that you can’t make a profit.  You want to be able to charge at least two times the wholesale price, so if you were able to buy it for $7, you want to charge at least $14. You might also be able to get your costs down by buying popular items in bulk. If the pricing can’t work with your customers, retail might not be your best option at this time.

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