Nestled inside one of Peckham’s infamous railway arches is Y-oga Store. Part yoga studio, part coffee shop, part food store, part garden centre, and all-round dream destination – we’re huge fans.
As Peckham locals ourselves, you’ll often find us down in their arch at the weekend; picking up a coffee, moving through a vinyasa practice, or – if we’re lucky – giving the semi-resident dog Apollo a fuss. We love to stock places we personally love, and were very pleased to grab manager and instructor Jeni for a quick word…
How did you come to work with Y-oga Store?
Well, I originally came to work at Y-oga Store as a cafe/studio assistant during the summer of 2020 while I was furloughed from my previous job. Having done my yoga teacher training I was just looking for a studio to get my foot in the door of the industry with.
By absolute luck and chance after a couple of months the opportunity to take over running the business came up and it was just too good an opportunity to pass up! I get to teach yoga, curate the studio schedule, help people through the practice and also have a great time in the cafe meeting all our lovely locals.
What have you learnt over the years, when it comes to running a small business?
Community is key.
Building up a strong local community and making them feel like part of a family is so important for small business. We rely heavily on our local customers & members, often it will be them who spread the word to friends & family and bring more people to us.
Social media has also proven so important for letting our customers know what's happening and when, and when we have new products (like H&H) in the Store its a great way to spread the word!
How have you and the business had to flex with COVID? What does post-lockdown look like for you?
It’s been a rollercoaster! Our Yoga studio was closed for many months with COVID, so we had to improvise and expand our other offerings during lockdown. This is actually how the Store came about!
Our cafe remained open throughout, and we are lucky enough to have had enough space in our little shack to become more of a shop - selling everything from bread, pasta & sauces, ceramics, dried flowers and of course granola! It has worked incredibly well for us and has meant that regulars we built up in the Store have now signed up as yoga members since the studio reopened. We have some plans in the works to eventually expand the Store a little, but for now we are focussing on building back up our yoga schedule post lockdown.
Where did you first come across H&H? What made you choose to stock H&H?
I originally found H&H during the first lockdown as I'm a bit of a granola addict and was looking for local SE London businesses to support.
Then, when I joined Y-oga Store, they just so happened to be using the granola for breakfast bowls in the cafe. We have since started stocking a variety of flavours in the Store and are just bringing back breakfast bowls for the summer!
What's your personal favourite H&H product?
I was a HUGE fan of the Blueberry, Cornflower & Puffed Rice Limited Edition granola, which we are currently using for our granola bowls (while it lasts!).
Although, having said that, I also recently tried one of the new Limited Edition flavours, the Dark Chocolate & Pear, which may well be my new favourite.
How do you go about choosing which products to stock, and what other products from the store do you love shouting from the rooftops about?
We try to source as much as we can from local indie businesses; I try to source as many of our products as possible from local independent businesses & suppliers. As close to Peckham as possible or at least from within London. My aim with this is not only to support local small businesses, but also cut our carbon footprint in terms of deliveries. Luckily a lot of our suppliers deliver their items in person so we aren't using many big delivery companies!
Although it’s hard to choose a favourite, I would say our Moringa products from Life of a Tree would have to be one. We sell tea, powder, oil and Kombucha all made from Moringa which Femi grows on his farms in Nigeria & Greece, and then it is all made in Peckham. He even helps the community by paying disadvantaged local kids to make up tea bags to help keep them off the streets.
Another favourite are our yoga cards by Mysa. They are beautiful, thoughtfully crafted cards each depicting and explaining a different yoga pose. Set up by yoga teacher Puravi Joshi in lockdown, they are sustainably made and show all body types and skin colours. Well worth buying if you are a beginner looking to understand yoga a little better!
What are you currently excited about?
Expanding our yoga offering, widening our community, and continuing to create a space where everyone feels welcome, seen and supported.
And, finally - what do you wish you could have told yourself this time last year?
Your time will come.
This time last year I was feeling quite lost, as most people were, thinking about the prospect of a decade long career disappearing during the pandemic. But a little patience, and some lucky timing has completely transformed my life. I am doing something I love, in a completely new field and absolutely loving life! I get to meet new people every day, work with wonderful colleagues and suppliers, and hopefully help people and the community with what we offer here. If you had asked me this time last year if I thought I'd be running a business the answer would have been a huge no!