Behind the doors of Solstice Yoga in Atlanta, Georgia sits owner, Kristen Mercado, a family oriented woman with an undeniable passion for helping others through the practice of yoga. This small business superwoman and mother of two delicately balances the challenges of owning a small business and the joys of motherhood with seamless ease.
After suffering from a tragic car accident in 2003, Kristen took advice from her doctor and started taking yoga classes to alleviate pain from related injuries. Little did she know, it would change her life forever. Yoga quickly transitioned from a hobby to a way of life. “At first I was going to one class a week, then two classes a week, and then I was becoming a teacher,” she says. As a prenatal yoga instructor, she realized that there was a gap missing in the yoga market. “I would keep in touch with my students and they told me that after their baby was born they would stop doing yoga because they didn’t have time or because the cost or hiring a babysitter was too high.” After countless hours of research and planning, Kristen decided to open her own studio to solve this problem. She envisioned a studio that was family-oriented, offering affordable yoga with inexpensive child watch during classes.
A little over three years ago, in the fall of 2014, her vision came true as Kristen started the journey into owning her own business. After attending classes, workshops, and meetings with the Small Business Association, she wrote a detailed business plan. “Writing the business plan was not easy, but it definitely helped me streamline my idea, my pitch, and focus on how I would be successful,” says Kristen.
It took a long time, and there were many obstacles to overcome, but through it all, she was able to design a studio with a loving environment where the main focus is on the personal wellness of each student. Solstice offers a unique experience, different from the traditional approach, where the needs of each individual are heard and incorporated into the class. Being the only studio in Atlanta that offers yoga, barre, and Pilates classes, students are encouraged to delve into variety and broaden their interests.
Though she is hardworking, dedicated, and driven to help her business succeed, Kristen says that family is what’s most important to her. In between teaching classes and the responsibilities that come with owning a business, she manages to keep a level head on her shoulders and still finds time for the little things. Today she is bringing treats to her son’s class to celebrate his birthday. She says, “first and foremost, my family comes first. Being a mom and a wife is my number one priority for sure.”
Kristen’s compassionate soul and empathetic spirit has led her to a mission of helping families through yoga. Solstice Yoga is not only accommodating to local moms by offering child care during all yoga classes but is also accommodating to moms who need help covering the cost of classes. Through a volunteer program, moms can work in the childcare center and in turn log their hours for free yoga classes. Because the child watch leaders are moms, it offers a different close-knit environment and special bond between everyone at the studio.
The child watch program at Solstice Yoga Studio is not your typical approach. It offers a truly an interactive play experience for each child. Each month, the space is set up with different storybook themes and is constantly changing to keep kids excited to come back. Having other mothers as child care leaders keep the moms’ minds at ease and creates a loving environment. To top it all off, parents are sent a newsletter every month outlining opportunities for both them and their children at Solstice.
The small town feel of Candler Park lends itself to an array of local businesses. Walking through the town, it’s almost impossible to spot a chain restaurant. The people are welcoming and most establishments are within walking distance and family friendly. Constellation has been working with Solstice Yoga and other small businesses to keep the small town feel alive in Candler Park. Constellation sponsors vendor booths at local farmers markets and festivals by paying the vendor booth fee so local small business can promote their business.
Once a month, Solstice Yoga teams up with Constellation at the Park Realty Office to offer pop-up family yoga classes. The whole family is welcome to attend and tasty treats are offered after. During the holiday months, you can finish up the family yoga session with hot chocolate and holiday-inspired treats.
Kristen says, “the beautiful thing about family yoga is that it’s not just a workout, but it’s helping kids and parents see how they can use mindfulness, breath, and meditation techniques at home. The kids have fun because it’s something that they can do with their parents, but then they walk away with real-life tools like using their breath when they’re nervous or angry.”
Of the relationship with Constellation, Kristen says, “It’s invaluable and I really enjoy getting to know other business owners as well. We wouldn’t be able to do the things that we do without Constellation, we really appreciate it.”
Constellation is so proud to be associated with such a wonderful small business. If you are a small business in Atlanta who is interested in forming a relationship with Constellation, contact Christina Mattera at Christina.Mattera@Constellation.com.
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