Every January is special here on the ODD blog because we feature none other than our fearless leader/owner, Jessica Rosen! Rather than our usual interview style post, we're instead bringing you the origin story of One Down Dog straight from the...horse's mouth...(that phrase is really strange when you think about it). Grab yourself a nice hot mug of tea and sink into it!!
For most of my life I’ve known that I wanted to start a business based in service. I started out thinking that would be as a therapist - developing my own program for teens struggling to find their way in life. While in my masters program (I have a MA in psych) I found yoga and took my first teacher training right after graduation. I soon realized I enjoyed teaching yoga and leading groups far more than working as a therapist in a one-to-one capacity. I moved to LA, managed a yoga studio, and started to ideate ways I could make a living in the wellness space. I had this crazy wild dream of one day opening a yoga/wellness space, but I never gave it much thought because of layers on layers of self-doubt and negative self-talk along with the voices of many people in my life that meant well, but told me that my dream was basically impossible.
In 2008 I took a massive leap and moved to LA from Michigan where I was working as a substance abuse counselor and yoga teacher/front desk associate. The studio were I worked was opening a location in LA and I moved out here to manage it and teach. A month into being in LA the economy crashed and the studio fell through. I was broke- I had no job and a mounting pile of debt. My MA in psych was basically useless as my license didn’t transfer to CA and I had no idea how I was going to survive. I just knew I couldn’t go back.
I hustled trying to find a job. I ended up working at American Apparel, and eventually (after a bunch of interviews) got a job at Lululemon in Glendale. I worked at YAS on Hyperion for a hot minute, almost became the manager of The Hub yoga studio in West LA, taught at Shakti Box in Los Feliz…I did whatever I could to get by.
While at Lululemon I had the assignment of writing a 10 year vision. I wrote something along the lines of... "I own a yoga studio in Los Angeles with 2 rooms, a room for wellness/massage services, an awesome retail space, and the most amazing community of students." I laughed about how impossible that was and thought for sure that there was no way it would actually happen. That was August 2009.
Soon after, in January of 2010 I finally got to manage that yoga studio I moved out here for. I did that for a few years and started teaching and leading a group at a rehab facility for teens in Malibu. After about a year I realized it was time to form a business and decided to create my LLC - which meant I needed a name. I wasn’t quite sure what the business would be, at the time I imagined that I would create a yoga program for addiction that I would teach throughout LA and train others to teach the program under my guidance. It didn’t quite work out that way, but that intention is what sparked the name, One Down Dog.
I was sitting at lunch with a friend of mine that was interested in by business concept and together we started brainstorming ideas for names. I was talking about what I wanted to convey – this idea that we don’t have to rush, it doesn’t have to be all at once, all or nothing – we can slow down and use our practice to find what we seek from within. We threw out a lot of ideas and then came back to what is said often in meetings and therapy – “take it one day at a time.” The lightbulb went off! One Down Dog… at a time. I had no idea One Down Dog was ODD. Thank you Universe (or whatever) .
Fast forward a couple of years - I left the yoga studio and started teaching yoga and working as a substance counselor at a private school. A student of mine asked if I’d like to teach yoga at her tae kwon do studio on the Westside. I met with the owner and found out that he is also renting a small space next to the studio that was empty at the time. All of a sudden, this crazy wild idea of opening a yoga studio one day became a possibility. After doing the drive twice, I said “this is not what my dream looks like” and ended up passing the space on to a friend that went on to open a studio there – sharing is caring.
It was in that process that my now sister in law, Chelsea, suggested that if something like that existed on the Westside, it also had to exist on the Eastside. We went on Craigslist and found our first space – a 1 room space that we shared with an ashtanga teacher that only led classes from 5-10am. It wasn’t perfect, it wasn’t what I had visualized, but it was exactly what I needed to overcome all of the fear/doubt. Chelsea expressed interest in partnering and I was certain I couldn’t do it on my own, so we went into business together and got started on making One Down Dog. We didn’t have much money, or business experience, but for some reason people kept showing up. After a few months Chelsea realized business wasn’t for her. I cried a lot. I thought for sure it was all over. I told myself “see you are a complete failure, nothing you do will ever work out.” …and a whole lot of other horrible things. But something inside of me kept me going.
Chelsea and I worked our shit out and I took a leap on signing the lease on our current Silverlake space 9 months in to our venture. I had no idea how I would fund it / stay open, but I signed on the dotted line anyways. I managed to scrounge up enough cash to do a full build out between JFLA, an Indiegogo campaign, and a small loan from my parents. MAD LOVE TO THOSE EARLY SUPPORTERS!! One year from opening our temporary doors, One Down Dog Silverlake launched with a big opening/anniversary party. Raise your hand if you were there! I still have a hard time believing any of this is real. It often feels like a dream. But here we are, 6 years later with 3 locations and the most amazing crew of staff, teachers, and students. Let’s be real, none of this would be possible if it weren’t for all of you. Thank you for going on this journey with me… One Down Dog at a time <3
If you'd like to soak up some of Jessica's awesomeness while simultaneously tapping into your own, be sure to sign up for her annual Make Awesome Happen workshop that's kicking off on January 23rd. The four-week series is all about goal-setting and goal-crushing. You'll spend the time learning tools to help you tap into your innermost fabulousness while basking in the amazing energy of the equally ambitious people around you. Sign up in any of the studios or online!