Anais’s Story: Building a community on Level 6 of a car park

In celebration of International Women’s Day, we’re shining a light on the women of Peckham Levels and their stories. Introducing Anais, Head of Yoga at the LEVELSIX studio!

How did your enterprise get started?

After working at a couple of yoga studios in London I really felt called to start a studio of my own, and having lived in New Cross for a few years, it felt right to open my business there. The community needed a safe hub where they could move and breathe together, and you could feel that beautiful vibe in every class.

This year’s International Women’s Day slogan is #BreakTheBias and celebrates women’s achievement and taking action for equality. What does this mean for you in your work life?

To me it means to provide the same opportunities to everyone and to celebrate and praise individuals for their talent and dedication, regardless of who they are.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced?

Certainly being a business owner at the same time as being a woman, Latina and from a humble background makes it harder to get that initial support, especially when it comes to investments and loans for a business. I’ve just had to prove myself and let my work speak for itself, but it hasn’t been an easy or fair journey. I believe more government financial support is needed for the yoga industry, especially post pandemic, considering how much it benefits those struggling with mental health and trauma.

Unfortunately it is still widely regarded as a luxury.

What do you love about running your enterprise?

The sense of community. The wonderful people I get to meet and work with. Those who work at a yoga studio are most likely interested in doing good and helping others. And those who attend the classes want to take a moment for themselves and enjoy their practice. So the general vibe at a yoga studio tends to be cheerful and uplifting. 

And the most important piece of advice you’d give to other women looking to start their own business?

Buddy up. It is a hard journey already, try not to do it alone. That would be the first thing I would change if I did it all over again. Find other determined, inspiring women to work with and believe in each other, there is so much value in having an accountability partner, a sounding board, an extra pair of hands and eyes. Build your tribe.

Head to the LEVELSIX Yoga website to check out their timetable or book a class. Your body will thank you!