Interview with Dylan Robertson, Founder of HelloYoga.com and Pure Enterprise – Part 3/3

Transcript:

JASON:  Can you tell us about the project that you’re focusing on and spending a lot of time which is the Hello Yoga intended for the Yoga community in Japan?

DYLAN: This is a site I started building as my personal blogger, which is a hobby in my spare time. I actually teach yoga, I’m in to yoga, I noticed that there was no central resource online available for English speakers to find out what was going on. And it’s really quite interesting because you would have this world famous yoga teachers coming from India or the US, to Tokyo to give workshops and obviously teaching all in English. There is no information available in English about these events and workshops, all in Japanese.  Because these were big name teachers, they didn’t have the selling out of these workshops or events and of course 99 % of your market here in Japan is Japanese, so from the computer business point of view, there is no point in having these information available in English:  cost, time and money are needed to get somebody to translate it, organize it; so I put slowly over time those what is become a resource for English speakers what is happening.  So here you have the teachers, the teacher’s directory, a directory of yoga studios; we have some events, we have article and interviews, all these stuffs in English. And as I always running this site and developed it, I started noticing that actually most of the people checking the site were Japanese. And now they were interested in the foreign yoga teachers respective or perhaps the Japanese Yoga teacher who have been abroad starting to broaden, coming back to Japan and this different prospective, so they were reading all of these stuffs and my friends convinced me to make a Japanese version, to know the sides fully bi-lingual. By looking at the English side, it’s actually also available in Japanese language. So this is a platform for Yoga teachers and Yoga studios to promote themselves essentially. It’s a hundred percent free of charge for any Yoga teacher or studio to get a “loan-in” account; and they can put up their event information, they can edit their profile and they can put all these stuffs out. That’s breaking away from the traditional business model which is about saying, “well this is the space on my website and you’re going to pay me to stick your banning here”. I know all these teachers, these are top teachers, well respected big names and I know that the material that they put up here is going to be high quality. I trust them and I’m getting this as multi-generated content, I’m getting interested. It’s continually being refreshed daily, for example, this one I have seen the other day, the great resource, the people keep coming back for and then I interviewed these various teachers as they arrived in Japan. So it’s perhaps a local Japan based-person, Japanese or foreign and so this is building up. I’ve been running this now for almost 3 years and the first step is to build your credibility and do the following online. So we now reached that point; there are interviews on this website with people who are in the top ten of most famous Yoga teachers who are currently active in the world. I have the tag name on here, I have these contents that have been publishing for 3 years, I’ve been polishing it, slowly developing it and the next step is to monetize it in ways that add value to the user’s experience.

JASON: In what ways have you been using social media to get content and to build followers in the company you’re running for 3 years?

DYLAN: Right, the other side of this, is it’s been a great business development tool. People have been following it for some time and you think of Yoga community as well.  These people are kind of in a certain place in society  and then not really business people but actually the opposite, it’s true that yoga is not a cheap hobby; you think all I need is a rubber mats you put on the floor . But if you’re going to Yoga classes, three thousand yen (¥ 3000) per class, that’s the average for a drop-in class in Tokyo for an hour or to 90 minute-class. If you’re attending a workshop that could be anything from ¥ 5000 to ¥30,000 per workshop, which is between 2 hours or a half day-workshop.

JASON: Should people going to these classes have to pay for monthly dues?

DYLAN: There are all kinds of ways that studios charged: dropping price orders, a monthly membership or perhaps for real enthusiastic pay up sometimes for a whole year. The big money for Yoga studios generally is in the Yoga Teaching-Training Programs, and people pay annually in between 300 thousand yen to 600 thousand yen for 200 to 500 hour-Yoga Teaching Training Course.  In US dollars you will have in between 3,000 to 6,000 US dollars, that’s not small change, so the people who actually going to this, tend to be very well off, highly educated, they like traveling. The largest demographic in the yoga community in Japan is Japanese obese , females probably from 70 to 80 % and generally based on the analytics of my Facebook pages they are in the 30’s , so between 24 to 45 put generally you can say Japanese women in their 30’s, and so  they’re interested in foreign cultures.  Yoga obviously comes from India, they’re interested in learning languages, and they’re interested in health, in beauty, in travel, so there’s always a place to market that demographic. Most of them also tend to have quite impressive carriers; I have bankers, lawyers, or top professionals in all kinds of fields coming to my classes or to the studios that I have relationships with.

JASON: Aside from Pure Enterprise and you’re also into Hello Yoga, you’re certified yoga teacher and runs your own classes.

DYLAN: Yes, personally my classes are just for charity and donate the money to the Tyler Foundation. Which I felt is the best choice. But I do it more business development in Japan, so by teaching Yoga and meeting this entire people, I make connections and that leads to business opportunities. Running this site needs a lot of attention, and people see what I’m doing, and I don’t need to explain or try to sell them like ‘Oh, wow, I wish I could do what you’re doing with Hello Yoga for my business, I see you’re on YouTube, you’re on Facebook, you got an “android app”, all this happening, how you’re doing it.

JASON: Basically Hello Yoga is pretty much a broad map to grow content, to develop content, to get your message out there. So Looking to building Yoga Center, what’s your eventual broad map with this site?

DYLAN: There’s a lot of direction it could take, It could be some point a major manufacturer of yoga, where yoga accessories or Yoga goods let’s say they need a marketing vehicle in Japan rather than blowing money on traditional media such as magazines or TV or radio.

JASON: So you’re getting x-thousand visit today from highly focused like target market, that is great for both sites.

DYLAN : That’s saying: let’s build an online community you’re following, or let’s approach to an existing line and might decide  to buy this, that’s one possible strategy.  Another is just continuing to run us and perhaps we may get a corporate sponsor and if it’s a good fits, which will be good for our readership, we could consider that. Another is, all these kind of ways to monetize is extremely specific and so, this all kinds of affiliates marketing we can do which is not shaving stuff in people’s face.  It’s actually saying: “by the way if you’re interested in this, so here’s how you can find more topics, or some good relation to it”. So being helpful to people. There’s also potential to offer premium content: You tube in the US now has this YouTube rental or YouTube premium, so that you can put or rent video content through the internet. I’ve now got this great Yoga teachers, I can offer them the opportunity to have a video shoot and produce an instructional Yoga video and have them online and share the profits with them.

JASON: You have to pay 20 thousand yen to go a workshop yourself and maybe somebody would pay 500 yen or a thousand yen.

DYLAN: Especially for the Japan market which is challenged by the language. You have a famous Yoga teacher from abroad, comes to give their workshop and have an interpreter who will translate everything they say into Japanese, and to have that recorded is gold, because if the person couldn’t get into to it, they really wanted to see this person, I mean Yoga teachers at this level are all kind of operating a similar lifestyles : they tour, they have world tours , they have days in different cities; so if a fan, who’s been following this stuff wanted to capture it, but they couldn’t , then that’s the option you can have that here’s the video of the lecture and it’s just cost 500 yen, but if I have a thousand people, purchase that that’s 500 thousand yen, 5 thousand US dollars.

JASON: So going back to your original idea of sourcing a content, filtering it, distributing it, larger model directed to your site, that’s interesting.

DYLAN: So this is a template, I can bring to any business and tend to adapt to their needs. I have a working model and we could talk and look at what they’re doing, and let’s see how we can apply some of the lessons learnt here, some of the things will not work, but some of these strategies can make it.

JASON: That’s great, very interesting. So, can you give us final thoughts or comments or a summary on Pure Enterprise, Hello Yoga and the Tyler Foundation?

DYLAN: These all been great projects. I feel good about them; I called my company Pure Enterprise. There are certain types of businesses that I wouldn’t want to be involved in. I want to do something which is beneficial for society, can contribute a positive legacy behind. So working for Tyler Foundation has been a wonderful privilege; to contribute to that and helps spread the world about what they’re doing, how they’re helping these kids. To be involved in the Yoga Community and serving them, as where a need where teachers and studios are struggling to promote themselves and attract to following and they didn’t have the budget for advertising, so I’ve been able to serve then by providing this platform for free, but help educate the general public that you’re interested in learning more about yoga, and through that it’s a win-win:   I will serve and I will able to benefit in business terms. I’m open to any new projects; I’m always open-minded and would love to do business with any other organization which is contributing to society in a meaningful and positive way.

JASON: Fantastic, so Dylan, it is always good to see you, thank you very much for your time and I’m sure to see you around very soon.

DYLAN : Thank you.

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