When I opened Dragonfly Hot Yoga in June 2011, my goal was to get my amazing Midwestern family, friends and neighbors to try yoga. Yoga had done so much for me and I wanted to share that with my community. I wanted to make yoga and fitness accessible to Every Shape, Every Size, Every Person.
Dragonfly is a local small business owned by myself and my husband, Carlos, a combat veteran that I lovingly dragged into the business of yoga. We have four daughters between the ages of 7 and 12. I grew up here and we're honored to be able to raise our children here. We employ well over 100 talented and dedicated instructors and staff and I am proud to say that our management team consists of six of the most hardworking and upstanding women I've had the privilege of knowing.
Since we opened our doors, we have expanded to 4 locations in the Madison area. Over 54,000 people have taken class at our studios and we have had 1,379,166 unique clients each of our instructors taught class to! We have trained over 250 instructors and we have held almost 59,000 classes. We have given away over $75,000 of our services to the community and yogis in need, held over 1500 free yoga classes, and our community has helped raise over $100,000 for local non-profits and causes.
Dragonfly has won Best of Madison every year since opening, and we are about to turn 10 years old in June. We truly need your help to make that happen. When the pandemic began, I thought we could make it through without a direct plea for help. I thought government assistance, continued support from our wonderful community, and a pivot to online streaming would be enough for us to squeak by to see the other side. We tried really hard to not have to do a full-on fundraiser. We started dfly on demand (dflyondemand.com) so that we could connect with you through our app and online while we stayed at home. We permanently closed our beloved Flyght (indoor cycling business) in hopes that would help save Dragonfly. We have wiped out our savings, put a second mortgage on our home, borrowed money from family to pay our bills and care for our children. We've applied for every grant and government loan out there. Currently, there are no government programs helping the fitness industry. Many boutique gyms (like ours) actually run on small margins, so the pandemic poses a huge challenge on our very existence. (Write your congress representative and tell them to support the GYMS Act )
We asked for help in December by asking for support for our Dfly On Demand , which did help some and we are so thankful. A dedicated group of you have been able to keep your monthly membership payments even though we haven’t been open much of the time. We thought once we got through the winter, things would start getting back to normal. And, slowly but surely, it is! But, it is not happening fast enough for us to hang on. I have stayed up countless nights willing my brain to come up with a creative way to save us without having to do a GoFundMe.
Our rent is a huge part of our overhead. Our locations were chosen with purpose, with you in mind! We wanted Dragonfly to be there for you on your way to the grocery store, on your way to and from work. Dragonfly is there to remind you to take time for yourself, to make self-care a regular part of your routine. Rent in these kinds of locations is high and a big reason why it's so hard for small, locally owned businesses to compete with national franchises in these spots. Against the odds, we did succeed and we did thrive. In normal times, the high rent totally makes sense, and our locations are part of what makes Dragonfly so special. Then, the pandemic hit. Virtually overnight, we lost 71% of our revenue and it stayed that way for the past year. The PPP money was helpful, but out of the last 14 months, it only helped us get through 2 of those! For over a year, despite all of our efforts, grants, loans and community support, we have gone in the hole an average of over $50,000 every month. Because of this, since September, we haven’t been able to pay our rent at any of our studios. On top of that, I have been personally sued by a landlord for $120,000 plus THEIR legal costs because COVID shut us down and we couldn't pay rent. So not only are we struggling to pay regular business expenses, but we have also had to hire attorneys, costing us even more.
Here are some graphs to show how the pandemic has affected us:
We need help to pay back rent at our studios, to get us to our 10 year anniversary and through the rest of the summer. We are so grateful to those who have helped this past year (maintaining memberships, joining our dfly on demand fitness app , buying 10 class passes , etc.) and you are the reason we have made it to this point. The community in Dane County has been great with vaccinations, and we are close to herd immunity here. We are slowly building back our members and classes. We made it through the worst of the pandemic and we just need to make it to fall, when we should be able to be fully operational again. Your past support covered paying our talented instructors and staff, but we need help paying rent to get us through!
I am so proud of our community and staff for getting us this far. Unfortunately, I don't know what else to do. What I do know is that Dragonfly should survive. I do know that if we can just catch up on our rent, we will be back better than ever. Most importantly, I know that our community needs each other and needs mental and physical wellness spaces after such a devastating year. We want, more than anything, to be there for you, to hold space for you, to help you heal, and to continue giving back to the community we love and call home.
How will we use the funds?
Pay back rent on all four of our locations
Fitchburg back rent owed: $17,000
Downtown back rent owed: $56,714.90
Middleton back rent owed: $76,694.68
Sun Prairie back rent owed: $75,935.20
Pay rent during our slower summer months: $117,945.90
Pay legal fees to get us through the lawsuit: $TBD, but estimating anywhere between $20,000 and $50,000.
We know it's not much, but to thank you for your donation, we're throwing in some Dragonfly swag (while supplies last):
$10-99 Donation: Dragonfly Sticker of your choice
$100-299 Donation: Dragonfly Car Magnet
$300-499 Donation: Dragonfly Tote Bag
$500+ Donation: Dragonfly Tank Top/Shirt of your choice
If GoFundMe isn't your thing, we have other ways you can help support us!
1. Become a member ! The pandemic caused us to lose nearly all of our monthly members. We have two outstanding membership deals going on right now: commit to 12 months at $99/month (normally $119) and get your first month free or commit to 6 months at $99/month!
2. Subscribe to our online yoga and fitness classes (we have over 1,000 classes to choose from) at dflyondemand.com. We can also be found on Roku, iOS, Apple TV, Amazon Fire, Android, and Android TV. Get your first 3 months for only $7.49/month with code SAVEDFLY. It's only $14.99/month after that and you can cancel at any time.
3. Buy a gift card to our studios !
4. Purchase our 10 Class Pass !
If money is an issue, there are a few simple & free ways you can help support us through this difficult time:
*Share this GoFundMe campaign!
*Like and follow Dragonfly Hot Yoga on Facebook and Instagram !
*Like and follow Dfly On Demand on Facebook and Instagram !
*Engage with us on social media: comment, like, share, drop your favorite emoji (this helps algorithms so we show up on your feed and others!)
*Share Dragonfly's Facebook and Instagram pages and posts that are relevant to you
Thank you so much for reading and for considering helping save a Madison, WI staple and getting us to 10 years so that we can continue serving you for another 10 years and beyond! It really is true that "We Fly Together”!
Some testimonials from our amazing clients:
"I feel that I have found yoga for life and Dragonfly has changed my life forever… I want all the teachers and staff members to know what a difference they have made in my life".
"Yoga has put so much peace to my mind that I never thought could be accomplished with exercise and practice…As a student, the best part about Dfly is the community. I have met so many great people who support me, both in and out of the studio…The studio staff is so welcoming and truly care about getting to know you. I’m lucky to have found Dfly and am so eager to share my experiences with friends who have yet to meet this wonderful community."
"Dragonfly has truly made me a better wife, mom, employee, and friend. The confidence and energy that I get after the class infiltrates into the rest of my life. I am so thankful to all of the wonderful instructors and staff at Dragonfly that make every experience so fun. I am so grateful to have this practice in my life."
"It’s great to be surrounded by fellow yogis with the same goal and know that it’s an inclusive space where no one is judging each other but instead trying to empower each other to be better… Dragonfly is one of my favorite things about living in Madison! It truly has a family feel and is unmatched in its ability to transform your body and your mind."
"I love the culture at Dragonfly—all you have to do is show up, goof around a little, and grow. The instructors have an incredible way of making you feel strong and awesome. Dragonfly gave me back the strength and confidence to get back out there and explore the world!"
"Dragonfly Hot Yoga in Sun Prairie has become a beautiful and necessary support system for me to become a healthier, happier and more peaceful person. Thank you for accepting me as I am and letting me know that it is ok. Love you all!"
"Dragonfly has changed my life. Overall, I’m healthier, stronger, more confident, and it’s helped me outside the studio more than I anticipated...I don’t think words can express how much the Dfly community means to me, but I’ll just say how grateful I am for all the friendships and experiences that have come into my life!"
"I always believed yoga wasn’t for me. Dragonfly changed that … Dragonfly has amazing instructors, amazing classes and an atmosphere that makes you feel welcome. The instructors and other yogis aren’t just people that you see every week, they become your friends and a part of your fitness family. They want you to succeed and the studios become a place that not only do you belong to but you miss when you’re not there. A gym can’t do that. The weights in your basement can’t do that…Dragonfly is such a part of my routine now that to miss class definitely affects my day adversely. It is something I look forward to every day."
"Dragonfly has been an essential part of my journey. At 32, I’m truly the strongest, healthiest, and most centered I’ve ever been…Thank you Dragonfly for empowering me! I owe my physical and mental wellbeing to the teachers and staff at DFly."
"My favorite part about Dragonfly classes is that there is no pressure to look or move a certain way. I love being able to come to yoga and take what I need from my practice with out being judged. It’s so freeing!"
"I have struggled with depression and anxiety most of my life and finding Dragonfly has definitely made me a better person. It’s really changed my life and helped me through so many bad times. I have cried on my mat a couple times but it was a good cry. I have went through some tough times and yoga has really really helped me get through them. It really helps seeing all the happy friendly faces… Now I have confidence and feel right at home at Dfly."
- Kaitlin McCulley
- Kara Gentilli
Fundraising team: We Fly Together (8)
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