Haidee Dampney – Yoga with Haidee & The Tree Project CIC

Haidee Dampney

With a background of twenty years in working with vulnerable young people and families to help them recover from drug and alcohol addiction, it seemed inevitable that if Haidee Dampney was to run her own business, that it would be focused around helping people to improve their wellbeing. 

In 2015, Haidee set up Yoga with Haidee, after training and gaining qualifications with the British Wheel of Yoga. The practice tied in neatly with her own personal drive to work for social equality and helping every person to experience the benefits of yoga. 

Yoga with Haidee

“The leap to setting up the yoga business was scary. I was used to a regular salary coming in and I felt extremely insecure,” Haidee states. “This insecurity continues to be a challenge today, but you get better at dealing with it as the number of clients builds.”

The Tree Project CIC

Haidee then set up The Tree Project Community Interest Company (CIC) in 2017 with the vision of helping to create a world where everyone thrives and to provide opportunities for both individuals and the community. Based around The Five Ways to Wellbeing (Connect, Learn, be Active, Notice & Give), it highlights the simple actions that people can take to improve wellbeing. As a CIC, it can access funding to help those without access to wellbeing opportunities, of which yoga forms a part.

“If young people have a space which is calm and safe, it can help to build their confidence and help them to frame their lives in a different way. Hopefully, this can lead them to make more positive life choices,” Haidee explains. 

Haidee connected with the Accelerating Women’s Enterprise programme, primarily to help with The Tree Project CIC. “I had gone through a difficult experience where a professional that I employed didn’t carry out some work in the correct manner which had an impact on the project,” she explained. “I realised that I needed help to sort things out as by then, COVID-19 had arrived.” 

“The AWE team helped me with my confidence in making decision, before which I was questioning whether to continue with the businesses,” she stated. She signed up for a range of workshops and had regular 1:1 sessions with the AWE team. “The help that AWE gave me was fantastic!” exclaimed Haidee, “I especially enjoyed the workshop on Imposter Syndrome and working through it, it helped me to realise that I had a lot to be proud of – I ran two businesses, and I can now say out loud that I am a female business owner.”

By providing her yoga classes online, Haidee has managed to maintain a good level of clients and the work of The Tree Project CIC is steadily building too, despite the lockdown. 

“I really value the support that the AWE programme has given me as it gives me the space as an entrepreneur to develop ideas and approach the challenges in a more structured way,” said Haidee. She has also made a strong connection with another woman on the programme which provides a support network for ideas too, which she describes as  “one of the most important benefits of the AWE programme, as it reduces the feeling of isolation that all sole business owners experience.” She adds that the workshops and support from AWE gave her the practical skills and the time to work through key aspects of the business such as working out your buyer personas and pricing as well as planning promotional strategies and where the business is heading. 

“One of the biggest challenges as a new business owner is around finance and setting up the right systems to make this side of the business work. However, the best bit about running your own business is that you can manage your own time.” 

“One thing that the programme has taught me is to break down the work into manageable chunks and to carry forward the experience I had in my previous career,” says Haidee. 

She explains that she “loves being my own boss and has tremendous enthusiasm for the work that she does.” She does emphasise that it also allows her to shape her working week around her family and time for self-care – “I’m living how I want to work.”

“My advice to anyone at the beginning of their start-up journey is to bear in mind that you will be responsible for all aspects of the business – some you might enjoy while other bits you might not. Be prepared to work hard as it is definitely worth it,” says Haidee. 

Looking to the future, Haidee is looking forward to returning to face-to-face contact with people, particularly young people who will have been affected greatly by the recent lockdowns. She is also working on a funding application for a scheme which has the potential to help more vulnerable young people which excites her. She highlights the Dalai Lama quote below which is her inspiration for moving forward.

For more information about Yoga with Haidee visit her Facebook page and for The Tree Project email thetreeprojectcic@gmail.com 

Kimberley Chandler – Cinnamon Yoga

Kimberley Chandler

An ambition to spread her love of yoga and sharing its benefits with others was the inspiration for Cinnamon Yoga, set up by Kimberley Chandler in 2019. After resigning from her office job for a media production company in Brighton, she worked at Soul & Surf in India. 

It was here that she was inspired to take up yoga and she soon began training as a yoga teacher in Goa. She then travelled to Sri Lanka where she found her first yoga teaching job at another retreat.

“I was sick of working in an office and when the opportunity to work abroad arose, I grabbed it and this then developed into a love of yoga which has become a career for me.”

When she returned to the UK, Kimberley continued with her yoga classes in Cornwall at studios in the Truro and Falmouth area and this together with her background working in hospitality is behind her idea to combine a healthy café with a yoga studio. 

Whilst exploring ideas for her new business online, Kimberley came across the Accelerating Women’s Enterprise (AWE) programme and got in touch.

“It sounded like exactly what I needed, a non-judgemental environment that was as much creative as academic, where it was okay to not know what I was doing,” said Kimberley. She attended a four-week programme of workshops together with one to one sessions with Pam. 

“AWE has really helped with my confidence in knowing that my ideas aren’t completely crazy or impossible! Meeting other entrepreneurs also made me realise that there are many others out there like me making it work, so I can too!”

Kimberley explained that prior to starting the workshops, that she was apprehensive but once she started and the fact that she met with other like-minded new business owners, she enjoyed them. “I liked the fact that there was no jargon and it provided me with really useful tools such as the business plan which I developed through Outset Online,” she added. “It helped me to realise that I needed time to plan my idea properly including working out a budget.”

Kimberley is continuing to make plans for her business and is looking for a suitable property which has meant a lot of research into which locations would work best. “I have decided that I need to get the café side of the business up and running first to provide the income to develop the studio as I build my customer base.”Kimberley is using social media, particularly Instagram and Facebook to develop sales leads with regular posts along with promotional support from the studios where she currently teaches yoga, and this has enabled her to build up a strong client base. 

“Like many new business owners, it was the financial side of things which concerned me most,” she stated, “ However the skills I have developed through the AWE programme have enabled me to make sound decisions and plans to hopefully make my business more successful long term.” 

“I have to work hard at managing my time productively as I also still work full time at a restaurant in Truro, but this is helping to further build my knowledge of the hospitality industry.” Kimberley said, “The approach that I am taking is slow and steady, but I hope that this way, I can avoid some of the risks of setting up your own business – I’ve learnt that preparation is the key to confidence!” 

For more information, search Cinnamon Yoga on Facebook

Sophie Dialkova – The Palm Tree Yoga

Sophie Dialkova

Originally from Hungary, Sophie Dialkova spent half her childhood in Austria, which meant that she spoke fluent German. Her aptitude for languages led her to study Translation Studies and she became a language teacher, working in a range of places, including the Middle East. However, a passion for yoga and wellbeing inspired Sophie to set up a new business when she found herself living in Devon, not knowing anyone and unemployed. 

Sophie tried yoga a few times, first in 2006 in Scotland, in a cold and dark room at the Student Union and then a few years later in Austria and again in England in 2010. However, she didn’t really start practising it regularly until she moved to Dubai, to teach German.  For a time, it was running that she enjoyed most, completing a half marathon and triathlons but the popularity of yoga in Dubai meant that Sophie soon started practising again. “I was finding the running scene to be too competitive and was looking for a way to exercise, mentally and physically, in an environment that was not pressured,” said Sophie. 

Having visited Bali on a yoga retreat Sophie started to plan her future. She enjoyed working with children but wanted to find a way to be involved in more flexible learning which incorporated mindfulness and non-competitive movement, which was a view shared by her fiancée Alan. “We wanted to focus on the non-academic side of education,” said Sophie. 

After completing her training as a yoga teacher for adults and children, Sophie started to teach her pupils in school which they thoroughly enjoyed.  One of Sophie’s major achievements was to implement a yoga curriculum for students aged 10-14, which saw students practise yoga and mindfulness weekly. She also began running yoga sessions for families, teachers and children in her local community. 

When their teaching contracts ended in Dubai, Sophie and her fiancé  Alan, moved to Plymouth, which was Alan’s home city and where he had located a new teaching job. Finding herself unemployed, Sophie started to develop plans to start her own business and carried out research on business support organisations. This led her to meet members of the Outset team who provided her with the training, advice and mentoring for the initial stages of her business start-up, as well as introducing her to the Accelerating Women’s Enterprise team.

Sophie participated in the start-up workshops, where she learnt about cash flow, business planning and digital marketing. She then extended her knowledge with more in-depth workshops. “Whilst I gained a huge amount of business insight and knowledge, the two biggest things that I gained from participating in the support programme were the friendships that I have formed with people that I met. Also the positivity and enthusiasm towards my business that I have received from Outset and AWE, which boosted my confidence,” she stated. 

Sophie continued, “Some of the most useful parts were the 1:1 sessions where I received tailored advice for my individual business. This also helped my advisor to gain a better understanding of the ethos behind my business which is to create a positive, kind and educational yoga and wellbeing environment for all levels and all ages.”

Having started providing yoga classes at a studio in Plymouth, Sophie registered her business in October 2019 and week by week, the number of attendees increased. She also started to provide yoga for staff and pupils at Alan’s primary school as well as corporate yoga. 

“At this point I had an Instagram page but not many followers and I didn’t really promote it. Outset encouraged me to set up a Facebook page as more of my target audience were using this platform, which linked with my Instagram page,” explained Sophie. “It was a steady process to gain followers, but it has proven useful to connect with other yoga teachers and new clients” she continued.

In March 2020, the first lockdown of the COVID-19 pandemic hit, which had an impact on her ability to deliver yoga classes in the studio. However, with the support of the AWE team, Sophie found yet again encouragement and transferred to an online provision which was popular with her regular clients. 

Where possible, Sophie provided yoga outdoors through the summer months, mainly to adults as schools were closed. Venues included a café overlooking Plymouth Hoe where breakfast was included – all outside in the beautiful sunny weather. A business connection made through social media, helped Sophie to start running classes at Ocean Studios, at the Royal William Yard  which she describes as “a beautiful venue with plenty of space, light and atmosphere.”

Her classes attract a range of people – beginners, groups of friends, students, mums and daughters, couples, families, retired people looking to try something new as well as keen cyclists and athletes. “One thing that I have learnt on my business start-up journey is the importance of word of mouth which is amplified on social media,”stated Sophie. 

When asked about the main challenges of setting up a business, Sophie responded, “When I moved to Plymouth, I didn’t know anyone, I was unemployed, and I didn’t know how to run a business. While my excitement levels were high, I didn’t know how or where to start.” Support from Outset & AWE enabled Sophie to gain the skills she needed from a practical and an emotional point of view. 

Due to the support she received, Sophie was able to present her business at the South West Business Expo in 2019, reaching out to other businesses and building her network of contacts. 

As lockdown continues, Sophie is continuing to provide yoga sessions through Zoom, and she has adapted her timetable to fit with the change in people’s lives as they are now busy with home schooling and remote-working.  She does however say, “I would 100% recommend Outset & AWE and have already done so to some of my fellow local businesses – one is booked onto an AWE course already. I would not be here doing what I love if it had not been for Outset & AWE.” 

Looking forward, Sophie would love to return to delivering yoga in schools as well as classes in person at the venues she worked at previously including outside in the sun!

“I would love for my business to become a space where people can come together and practise yoga, whether that is online, in a studio, in schools or on a beach. I could see the business operating from anywhere in the world bringing communities together through movement and healthy food, maybe a yoga studio and a vegan café under one roof.” 

For more information about Palm Tree Yoga visit www.thepalmtreeyoga.com