Women-Owned Business Series: Kara Gordon, Yoga Instructor

Kara Gordon is inspirational in more ways than one! She works full-time as a type designer, but has a successful side business teaching yoga as well. As much as she loves each of her ventures, her yoga instruction gives Brooklyn —and the rest of the world via Zoom— an outstanding opportunity. Read on to hear Kara’s thoughts on female business ownership, her community, and how other women can find success in their own independent ventures.

First tell us about your business and anything special we should know about it or you.

I’m a yoga instructor!

Tell us a little about your background and why you feel a connection to your work.

Teaching yoga is my “I need to get out from behind my desk” job. I’m a type designer by trade and draw letters all day. Both jobs require high observational skills and articulation of what you’re seeing and responding to it. But yoga is an embodied practice that really requires both the teacher and student to show up as their whole self and make not only connections between their bodies, minds, and spirits, but to each other. It can be a really powerful practice.

We’d like to know about your experience within your community. What community do you identify as being part of ? Why did you choose the neighborhood your business is located in, if you have a physical location? How have you become involved within your community?

I’m a Filipina-American and I’ve been living in Brooklyn for six years now! With the pandemic, I started teaching classes over Zoom, and the majority of my students are older Filipina women across the country and in Asia. I also teach in DUMBO at ONE YOGA HOUSE, owned by an Asian woman, Anna Haddad. My “day” job is located in Manhattan’s Chinatown, so I also definitely feel attached to that neighborhood as well.

I’m active in multiple areas in the neighborhood I live in (East Flatbush) as well as in Chinatown. I’m new to my current neighborhood, so I’m still getting to know some of the incredible organizations doing work here, like Little Caribbean and Equality for Flatbush.

What advice would you give to young women who want to start a small business?

Find women mentors! I was going to say older, but that’s not true at all — there are definitely a lot of young women out there doing the thing. But making connections with other women business owners is crucial. It doesn’t even have to be in your field, everything cross-pollinates and you never know when a great partnership can arise.

What woman inspires you and why?

My mother — everyone says that their mother is the strongest person they know, but mine actually is. My teachers: Nikki Costello, Amy Wolfe, Rebecca Hajek. I’ve been reading a lot of Bell Hooks lately and am in awe of her legacy and her radical ways of living in this world as a Black woman.

What do you think are the most significant challenges for women business owners or women in leadership positions?

The world just isn’t built for us. Capitalism isn’t built for us. We have to find ways to both game the system and not step on each other to get to where we’re going.

How do you motivate yourself and stay motivated?

A flexible routine helps me take motivation out of the equation. If I only worked when I was motivated, nothing would ever get done. You have to practice working even when you’re not “inspired,” even when things aren’t easy.

Being a small business owner means relying on your community to support you and getting involved within your community as well. In what ways do you feel supported and actively engage with your neighborhood of residents and other business owners?

In the yoga community, we’re always passing opportunities on to each other. One size absolutely does not fit all, but the great news is that we generally know someone who can help out! Lifting up others for the opportunity and knowing there’s plenty to go around keeps things sustainable. Also, paying people a living wage, even if it’s more than they ask for. The money and opportunity will come back to you, I really believe that.

If you’d like to learn more about our friend, Kara Gordon, you can visit her website here!

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