Small Helping Small
By Jordan Regas
By: Jessie Monsivias Photos by: Rachel Benavides
The women of DWNTWN CC Collective are bringing a communal experience that includes a full yoga studio, a Kevin Murphy hair salon, and an Etsy design studio to the enchanting Water Street Village. Yoga Time Studios founders Erica Bertero and Leah Murray are making a breakthrough in community-based leadership by collaborating with Angela Acuna of Sunkissed by Elle and Morgan Lang of Beau Monde Hair Gallery. “This is a huge thing for Leah and me to have something unique and original, a co-op where small business helps small business,” says Erica Bertero.
Before Yoga Time Studios acquired their own space, Leah Murray and Erica Bertero lived their passion of teaching yoga through a preliminary collective with Island Time Sushi Bar. Both women shared the vision of collective space with another business as means to lift one another other up.
What began as a weekly after yoga hangout at Island Time Sushi Bar quickly grew into an offer for the women to practice yoga on Monday nights when the restaurant was closed. Classes became so popular that restaurant patrons thought the sushi bar was open on Mondays and would mistakenly come in to eat dinner. Island Time eventually began opening on Mondays. Now, Monday is one of their busiest nights.
The lounge evolved into a full fledge studio during the day, but Leah and Erica agreed that the classes were getting so big they needed to hold night classes. Coincidentally, that realization and the chaos of Hurricane Harvey caused Erica and Leah to seek a new space and revamp the yoga community in the heart of Corpus Christi. The women worked together to find a space for a studio.
Yoga Time Studios was born as a donation-based yoga studio that delivers a portion of its proceeds to specific nonprofits such as The Purple Door, The Gulf Coast Humane Society, and the Surf Rider Foundation. However, the DWNTWN CC Collective encompasses more than just yoga.
Sunkissed by Elle offers unique custom-made yoga wear designed to fit your body and meet your needs. Make an appointment, and then come in to take measurements and discuss fabrics and fits. Once you decide on the look you want, she’ll make it. After being introduced to BUTI yoga by Erica, Angela took to designing her own yoga clothes. “I knew what I wanted out of a yoga pant, so I found what I needed in a pattern that was especially suited to my body. That’s hard to find in a store. I knew that it couldn’t just be me, so I decided to offer that service out of the Collective studio.” You can make an appointment and then go in to take measurements and discuss fabrics and fits. Once you decide on the look you want, she’ll make it.
The third component of the Collective is Beau Monde Hair Gallery is an eco-friendly Kevin Murphy salon. Within the studio, Morgan provides wellness and beauty services without the use of harsh chemical products. The salon offers haircuts, color treatments, blow outs, and styles. A fellow yogi herself, Morgan has always aspired to work on hair and do yoga in the same space.
By encouraging and empowering local businesses and women, DWNTWN CC Collective has transformed what it means to be a community by instilling yoga life philosophies of abundance, teamwork, and generosity in the Coastal Bend. “I’m really hoping this shared studio space becomes a bit of a getaway for the community!” Angela says. “We put a lot of time and thought into the feel and décor of what we want for people to experience as they take a yoga class, book a hair appointment, or have a fitting. I hope people get the feeling of community and strength coming from a group of women trying something new out!”
Regardless of the reason bringing you into the Collective, the experience you have while there is much the same. The women behind this project will greet you with the warmest of welcomes, the feelings of love and community will surround you, and you’ll leave with a desire of returning, no matter the service you’re seeking.
For more information about DWNTWN CC Collective and its businesses go to dwntwncccollective.com or follow them on Instagram @dwntwncccollective.