What is Sweet Yield Studio?
Sweet Yield is a creative dance studio and well-being community based in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. She is a creative landscape where both children and adults come to create, dance, play, move, dream, and grow. We offer weekly creativity, dance, and movement classes as well as seasonal workshops.
Our in-studio experiences can also be found online through our virtual learning platform, Sweet Yield Online. There we share signature curriculum, courses, and resources. It is a digital classroom that allows us to share #sweetyieldmagic with those beyond our local community.
The Problem + Backstory
Sweet Yield began in a shared event space on Film Row in Downtown Oklahoma City during the Summer of 2017. Our hours of operation were limited to 12hrs a week with classes running Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday evenings from 4:00-8:00pm.
As our business grew so did our need for a space of our own. Not long after our first Spring Recital a leasing sign went up on a vacant building across the street. With the mighty help of Allison Barta Bailey of Price Edwards and Jill Castilla of Citizens Bank of Edmond we secured a lease and business loan for our build out in early Fall of 2018. Shortly after we began the build out our new studio which came to life late Fall 2018 to early Winter of 2019.
In January of 2019 we moved into our Film Row studio at 629 W. Sheridan Ave. It was an exciting time for our team, students, and families. We now had the opportunity to become fully operational as we rounded the corner to year two of business. The autonomy to dictate our time and space was new and in some ways felt like we were starting over. The desire to root ourselves after experiencing so many transitions in a short amount of time was clear. We then committed to allowing ourselves a year in our new space before adding any new services. What we didn’t know is that quick pivots were something we’d be experiencing a lot more of as we entered the new year.
In March of 2020, our brick-and-mortar was closed by a city government mandate as an effort to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 in our community. Our doors remained closed for a total of 80+ days as we awaited re-opening phases by the city.
Unfortunately, the nature of the services we provide (physical activity indoors) is classified as one of the most vulnerable activities of COVID-19 transmission. Finding a safe and sustainable pivot for our business took a lot of resilience and requires constant adaptations as the pandemic persists.
During the closure we pivoted to online classes. In order to re-open in person, we had to significantly reduce class sizes to implement social distancing, close our lobby to any patrons other than students, provided PPE for employees and customers, and close our rental revenue stream because it was not safe for groups to gather indoors. From March 2020 to December 2021 our enrollment numbers dropped by 50% resulting in a 60% revenue loss.
Throughout 2021 we navigated adaptation after adaptation in an effort to keep our doors open and serve our customers. We saw a gradual increase in enrollment and revenue as aspects of the pandemic changed and we were able to reactive revenue streams within our business.
In January of 2022 we reached our pre-pandemic enrollment numbers and then surpassed them. However, like most businesses, the financial loss during a two-year period is significant and we are still carrying the weight of that loss in the form of COVID-19 backpay rent and an Economic Injury Disaster Loan.
The Solution + Celebration
Through the support of our amazing community, and the resilience of our team, Sweet Yield survived, and even with the uncertainty of an ongoing pandemic, we’ve begun to thrive! It was in January of 2022 that we realized our waitlists were growing and more physical studio space was needed. In the Spring of 2022 we were presented with the opportunity to expand and add second studio classroom to our current space.
This expansion will allow us to increase our current services, hire and train new employees, increase the hours and salaries of our team, deploy new youth programs, and invest deeper in our scholarship program.
Our team consists of artists, creatives, designers, and educators. Each member of our team specializes in different fields of study which allows us to create and facilitate a holistic education experience.
Hannah Ashford, Founder, Creative Director and Studio Instructor // Megan Miller, Graphic Designer // Paige Fischer, Community Director & Studio Instructor // Madeleine Purcell, Studio Instructor // Kendall Stout, Studio Keeper & Studio Instructor // Loryn Coppedge, Studio Instructor // Michelle Wilson, Teaching Assistant & Studio Instructor // Julia Veal, Teaching Assistant & Studio Instructor
Will you help our garden grow?
This won't come as a surprise, but starting and maintaining a business is no easy feat. Sweet Yield has been entirely self-funded and we hope to keep it that way with the help of our community.
Community is one of our “Ways of Being” at Sweet Yield. We believe that our individual wellness depends on the well-being of our community as a whole. This is why we want the investors of this next season of Sweet Yield to be our community - you! The people who understand and participate in our vision and want to see it grow.
Thank you, thank you, thank you! We are so grateful for your support. Even if you are unable to make a financial donation today we welcome your support by spreading the word and sharing our campaign with your friends, families, and personal networks.
Check out our website and instagram to learn more about our work.