Founded in 2009, Black Swan Yoga was named after the theory of black swan events— something unexpected that has a major impact on your life and the lives of others. And the brand has lived up to its name.
They've broken down barriers and seen tremendous growth that isn’t slowing down anytime soon. What started as a single studio in Austin has since grown to 14 locations throughout Texas and Colorado—becoming the largest Texas-based yoga business in the Southwest. They currently have 130 employees across seven corporate locations and three licensee ownership groups that manage seven studios— and a plan to expand across the country.
Black Swan Yoga (BSY) has been a Mindbody customer for many years. The software has enabled their revenue growth to more than quadruple into the double-digit range. With a healthy profit margin, they have been able to further fund investments important to their community, and employees—including employee benefits, enhanced yoga teacher training options, and more locations.
Yoga for everyone
BSY believes yoga should be available to everyone—all styles and philosophies are welcomed into their doors. They are proactive about the way they approach inclusion and provide a community-driven approach to yoga—void of intimidation or status that can sometimes be associated with boutique studios. The studio’s business model is donation-based; customers pay what they can for classes—there are no hidden costs, just yoga for all.
The brand believes everyone should have access to yoga—regardless of age, gender, or financial status. Every month, they also raise money for local nonprofits, many of which work with underrepresented communities. For Black Swan Yoga, inclusivity isn’t static—it’s an ongoing effort.
An untraditional (but powerful) approach to customer service
Another unique feature of BSY: You won’t find a waiting area at any location. Students walk through the doors and directly into the practice room where the instructor checks them in. Without a traditional front desk, it’s imperative their team still provides a top-notch customer service experience—with no time spent. With a remote customer service team and the help of Mindbody’s Messenger[ai],—an AI-powered front desk—the Black Swan Yoga team does just that.
Messenger[ai] turns missed calls into bookings through automated messages so staff can stay focused on the customers they’re with. It also provides BSY the peace of mind that comes with knowing every client call is handled—and none of the clients are waiting on hold. It has significantly lowered the number of touchpoints their customer service team is responsible for.
They’ve named the beloved tool Sage Swan—a gender-neutral alliteration that felt in line with their mission. Alex Earle the CEO and president of BSY shared “As a company, our revenue has continued to increase, as well as our average class size since implementing Messenger[ai]. Black Swan has captured 21 new clients attributing well over $1,000 in revenue simply through the bot interaction (no human engagement). Since implementing Sage, “we have had 21,448 messages exchanged with Sage, of which 424 needed human engagement.”
For more complex student inquiries, BSY employees can easily access the Messenger[ai] dashboard and app to add a human touch. For the rest, Mindbody has them covered. The most impactful feature of BSY: the ability to book classes. “I really love seeing the chat bot convert somebody to signing up for a class. Seeing that it took no interaction by a human is pretty special,” Earle shares. We used to have dozens of missed calls with our old phone system, and it was rather cumbersome to manage. Now, we've consolidated our phone numbers to one mainline, which is completely managed through Messenger[ai]. It's reduced the number of missed calls and phone calls overall by more than 90%. Customers can get their questions answered much more effectively through Messenger[ai].”
“In the last two years, Mindbody has exceeded my expectations with its commitment and execution of improvements with the software, both back-end and front-end iterations," says Earle. "I appreciate the opportunity to participate in pilot programs when appropriate for things like Messenger[ai]. These are the exact needs of our business to help streamline our processes and make the customer experience efficient and pleasant.”
Over the decades, BSY has seen incredible success while executing its mission to make yoga accessible to everyone. As the brand strategically expands across several states through new locations, Earle knows the team will be able to continue to lean on Mindbody’s tools. It’s an honor to support the Black Swan Yoga team’s mission to provide yoga without barriers.