In a world that’s become increasingly focused on business strategies and rapid growth, Modo Yoga stands apart. The brand currently spans 70 franchise locations—but that wasn’t part of the business plan. Modo Yoga started with five studios and a fresh approach to expansion.
For Modo Yoga, a slow and steady approach coupled with a passion for yoga fueled organic growth. This is the story of how the studio became a well-loved name across Canada and beyond.
Strength in community
Brands like Modo Yoga provide a unique look into the franchise fitness world. Instead of using traditional sales and marketing strategies, Modo Yoga focused on building and nurturing a community.
Co-founder Jessica Robertson writes, “With yoga alchemy, we can easily re-define marketing as storytelling, sales as sharing, our brand as our emblem, our flame, and we are legally a franchise, but in reality, we are a community, a sangha.”
Instead of complex marketing campaigns and lengthy business plans, Modo Yoga leans on a simple set of founding philosophies. Their six pillars—be healthy, be accessible, be green, be community, be peace, and live to learn—serve as a foundation for the Modo Yoga community, business, and brand. With 70 locations (and counting), these shared values keep the studio unified.
“We’re a franchise that didn’t mean to be a franchise. A strong community is a huge part of our brand,” explains studio development manager Angela MacDonald.
A unified effort
When COVID-19 hit last year, things changed—but Modo Yoga stayed true to its founding philosophies and community roots. As a result, the pandemic brought the studios closer together in many ways.
“Prior to COVID, each studio was an island. The main tenants that made them Modo Yoga were the same,” says MacDonald. “But since COVID, we have a more unified front. We talk to studio owners over Zoom more than ever before.”
This coming May, Modo Yoga will hold their Annual General Meeting over Zoom to make crucial decisions for the year ahead. “Every studio has a voice and gets to vote on what affects the community,” adds MacDonald.
In the spirit of unity, Modo Yoga requires a two-thirds majority vote for franchise-wide decisions.
The power of support
While each Modo Yoga location has full control of its studio, the HQ team meets weekly to discuss each studio’s questions and issues. Proactive communication allows Modo Yoga to provide real-time solutions and support.
Modo Yoga also extends support to its community members through an energy exchange program, donation-based classes, and an annual community-wide campaign for charity.
“The energy exchange program helps make yoga more accessible. People have the option to donate time in exchange for a free membership,” says Nava Dabby, Studio Operations Manager for Modo Yoga. “Every studio also offers donation-based classes.”
Donation-based classes are a win-win, giving students an opportunity to drop-in at an affordable price and allowing new teachers to gain experience.
During difficult times, community is more important than ever. It brings people together around a shared sense of support and belonging—even when physically apart. Through slow and purposeful growth, the studio has cultivated a community that can weather the storm together.