We had the good fortune of connecting with Steve Hart and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Steve, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
Without a doubt, the most important factor behind the success of my business is the steadfast commitment to my mission statement and core values. It is so easy to get wrapped up in the ups and downs of running a business, paying the bills, growing and adapting, that we can lose sight of why we are doing what we are doing. That is why the mission statement is so important. It is the foundation upon which you build your house. When things get tough, which they will, having that solid foundation of your purpose and your WHY allows you to adapt and survive. For a long time I stressed about money, how to pay the bills, how to pay staff, etc, and that mindset came from a place of lack.
About 6 years ago I recognized this and worked steadily to rewire my thinking to focus solely on our mission and allow the finances to be a byproduct of the value we provide to the community. I firmly believe this change in mindset has been the key to our success, and the creation of my other businesses that are on a trajectory to grow steadily. When things get tough, and 2020 was the toughest to date, I continually came back to this way of thinking. How can I help my people? How can I improve my community? How can I affect positive change in the world? Answering these questions is a more effective way to improve the bottom line of the business rather than “how can I make more money”? I learned over the years it is more important why you do what you do and how you go about doing it, rather than what you do. My yoga studio is focused on providing health and happiness to our community through the offering of high-quality yoga classes. My eyewear company is focused on providing health and happiness to our community through high-quality blue-blocking computer glasses that will protect our customers from the harmful frequencies emitted from screens. Different business, same purpose. I know we will continue to be successful in these ventures because our actions are aligned with our purpose. This gives us a strong foundation upon which to operate, but flexibility when we need to adapt our offering due to external factors (COVID, industry changes, etc.).
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
My business is all about health and happiness. Riffs Yoga Studios was founded in 2012 and is now a two studio operation with an outdoor location in Bird Rock, La Jolla and an indoor location in Ocean Beach, San Diego. We are focused on proving an accessible avenue to a regular yoga practice with supportive and experienced teachers. We offer live music and sound healing in a variety of classes to offer an extra special experience that is unlike anything else. Our outdoor studio in Bird Rock feels like an escape to Bali, a vibe we’ve carefully cultivated over the years, which has certainly been a blessing since the pandemic hit and we had to temporarily close our Ocean Beach location. Hart Eyewear was born out of necessity. In March of 2020, when COVID first came through the country and shut everything down, I had to take our yoga business online, and all of the sudden I was staring at a computer screen for 10 hours a day. I started feeling the effects of so much screen time and knew I wasn’t alone. After extensive research for a good quality product to protect my eyes without any success, I saw an opportunity to make something myself to provide to others just like me. It took a year of development and testing, but I’m super excited to have launched my eyewear brand focused on sustainable operation, high-quality protection, and maximum comfort and style. Through these ventures, and several others I’ve participated in over the years, I’ve learned too much to share in just a few paragraphs. However, if I come sum it up with just one lesson that I’ve held onto and I see so many others my age ignore, it would be this- Success takes time! And it won’t come unless you show up every day for years. When things get tough and you want to give up, you have to persevere and keep going. I’ve gone through so much over the years and wanted to quit hundreds of times, but I believe the survival and success of my ventures is due to nothing other than my unwillingness to give up. This is why it is so important to have a mission and a purpose in your work. I care so much about people feeling good and living a happy life, that I’m willing to work through all of the challenges to do my part in making that happen. To me, getting an email from a happy customer or staff member about how my business has changed their life is more important than any pay check. This year, as challenging as it was, was most definitely my best year professionally because we were able to provide an invaluable sense of peace to our community while the world was swirling in chaos. The support was overwhelming, and I will never forget how many people shared their positive thoughts and wishes with our company.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Well, after an outdoor live music yoga class at Riffs of course, we would walk the street in Bird Rock and see all of the awesome vendors in the neighborhood and the beautiful cliffs overlooking the waves. After a quick surf, we’d head down to People’s in OB for some amazing vegan food and great community. We would end the day with a sunset hang at Kate Sessions with my pup and a beautiful view.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There are so many people that deserve credit for the success of my ventures. Every employee that has worked for me deserves credit for a piece of the evolution and growth of our company. There are too many to name, but I can honestly say that I love my staff, even those that left for whatever reason over the years, for their contribution to our growth as a company and my growth as a human. Three people in particular that deserve a shout out- My mom, Dale, who passed away in 2014 and is the guiding light for all that I do. She is my inspiration for everything, and my source of strength when the going gets tough. My dad, Larry, who has been supportive of me through it all and taught me so much as I tried to navigate this world of entrepreneurship. My partner, Karina, who has talked me off the ledge more times than I can count, and keeps pulling me back to what is most important when I get wrapped up in the daily chaos. My dog, Raja, who is the purest form of love and comfort. He continues to teach me how to live and gives me purpose for my work.
Other: Riffs Yoga Studios Info: www.riffsyogastudios.com @riffsyogastudios www.facebook.com/riffsyogastudios https://www.yelp.com/biz/riffs-yoga-studios-bird-rock-la-jolla