For small business owners in Mandurah, adapting to constant change has become the new norm.
And for Kati Cooper, owner of Coastal Bliss Yoga and Wellness, change has been something she's dealt with since the beginning of her business.
"I opened last year and had my opening weekend during the first lockdown. It was better than I expected, I do find that people started turning to smaller studios rather than going to the big gyms, they'd rather come to a small place and practise with a smaller amount of people," Ms Cooper said.
Her journey with yoga began when she was living in Scotland at the time with her husband.
After moving back to her home town of Budapest, Hungary in 2014, Ms Cooper decided to start her yoga teacher training.
Opening her own studio was always the dream, but it wasn't until COVID-19 hit Australia that she had the opportunity to follow through on her goal.
"We moved back here [Mandurah] about four years ago. My husband lost his job because of COVID-19 as he was working overseas in the oil and gas industry. So when he lost his job, we decided he would take some time off and spend the past year with the kids. I then opened my studio, which was always my dream, but with him working away and having the three young kids, that was never an option," Ms Cooper said.
Now, her dream is finally a reality with a beautiful studio located on the foreshore, offering views out to the water and a calming space to practise yoga and mindfulness.
However, constant changes to COVID-19 rules and regulations as of late has forced Ms Cooper to look at her business plan and decide the best way to continue offering yoga classes to the community.
Many fitness studios in Mandurah and around the state have moved classes online to cater for a wide audience and make fitness more convenient for everyone, regardless of vaccination status. Ms Cooper has resisted this trend by deciding to not offer online classes, instead moving some classes outdoors to "maintain a feeling of community and togetherness", which she says is the premise for her business.
"I'll be starting classes at Henry Sutton Grove soon. I feel there are some people more anxious about being in a close up space and would feel much safer to be outside.
"My niche is prenatal yoga. It's so important, especially when mothers are expecting a baby or just had a baby, to find a community. What's going on around the world is separating people from friends and families.
"From my own experience, people often say, 'I'll do it tomorrow, or maybe next week' for one, and secondly, the personal touch to just say hi and see each other in person is what my business is all about, and I don't think I could offer the same services from behind the computer screen.
"I'm sure I have lost a couple clients to that, but there are heaps of people who also feel they are not interested in an online practice but they are looking for a more personal touch and that feeling of being with the community," Ms Cooper said, adding that everyone is welcome to her open air classes, regardless of vaccination status.
Ms Cooper says in the current climate and challenges small businesses in Mandurah are facing, instead of dwelling on what she can't do, she is expanding and focusing on areas where she can continue offering a service to the community.
"What I'm offering is so important, and I can see there are many people who really need that at the moment. My dream was to build a community, not just a studio," Ms Cooper said.
To find out more about Coastal Bliss Yoga and Wellness, including their yoga timetable, click here: coastalbliss.com.au
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