In conversation with Andie Pineda
When I started to think of women I wanted to profile for International Women’s Day, Andie came to mind immediately. Not only is she a dear friend, but she is a power force, and a woman who has never been afraid to take a leap or dream too big. With the launch of her exciting new venture Vinny Yoga, Andie has already taken the Melbourne yoga scene by storm. I caught up with Andie to chat all things Vinny Yoga.
What do you do? Founder of Vinny Yoga
How, when and why did you decide to launch your own business? What was the lightbulb moment? Can you describe the situation, that life-changing moment? The beginnings of Vinny started when I moved to Melbourne 3 years ago. I had a regular yoga practice but I didn’t know any other yogis here, so I was trialing many different studios. With the plethora of Vinyasa style studios in the Northside alone, let’s just say it was an overwhelming and time-consuming process! But with a bit of patience and luck, I eventually found my studio and my favourite teachers. It’s hard to break down exactly why you vibe with a certain studio or teacher, but you know it once you find it and I definitely did! It’s a magical feeling, a feeling of being at home. So fast forward a couple years, in January 2018 (I remember it was the night of the super blue blood moon) I was telling my partner Jimmy about my current yoga dilemma. All my favourite yoga teachers were either moving away, on maternity leave, or no longer teaching — I didn’t know what I was going to do! After brainstorming business ideas, we eventually landed on a simple online directory concept that featured yoga studios and more importantly, yoga teachers. Systems like Mindbody and ClassPass didn’t tell much about the teachers themselves, so we wanted to create one platform that provided in-depth information on who they are, where they teach, and how their style. A couple of months later, I quit my full-time job to focus on creating Vinny and have been working hard on it since!
What do you think equipped you for it and what gave you the conviction to actually do it? It’s been a culmination of personal and professional experiences that equipped me with both the skillset and the relationships to naturally lead me to this point. I didn’t ever envision or have a specific plan that this is where I’d be or what I’d be doing at this point in my life, I just knew intuitively that I was ready to do something on my own. Being in Melbourne and getting inspired by all the self-made, self-employed entrepreneurs here definitely gave me more confidence that it is possible for myself. Coming from the San Francisco startup world wasn’t necessarily the case, where there is a different set of expectations and mentality towards what it means to own and start a business.
What were the major obstacles or challenges, especially unforeseen ones?The biggest challenge continues to be where and how I spend my time. But that’s everyone’s life isn’t it?! 🙂 As Vinny is brand new, I want to say yes to all the opportunities that arise, but I need to reign myself in and constantly assess what is worth investing my time and energy into. The other challenge has been to practice patience. I was given the advice recently to “Get good at being small.” This hit home for me because it’s easy to get swept away by the numbers and let it be your everything. When for me, it’s not my everything.
What were the unexpected rewards or highlights? Definitely the support of the people I’ve met along the way and the relationships built in the process. All of it has been really positive and organic.
Having your own business can at times lead to self-doubt. Do you relate to this and how does it manifest for you ? How do you combat it? I could 100% relate. For me, self-doubt manifests when I start to compare what I’m doing to others and getting caught up in how my business is perceived. Doing simple things like spending large stretches of time away from a screen or going for a walk without my phone or sitting in a park to do nothing but people watch. When I remove all these layers of stimulation and distraction, it frees up space to go inward and listen to what comes up. It’s like a reset button to get back to my core.
On the flip side, what are your hopes and visions for putting your work out there – how do you hope the world benefits from your work? I’d like Vinny to be a part of creating more content and education around making yoga more accessible to people of all walks of life. There are endless types and styles of yoga available that most people have no idea about. There’s a lot of demystifying to be done and common misconceptions to shift when it comes to yoga and I see Vinny playing a role in that. From there, I’m really open to Vinny evolving as it does, as long as we are helping more people find and deepen their yoga practice. Whether that’s online or offline, in Melbourne or in other cities with high-quality, engaged yoga communities.
What relationships have been integral to your journey? So many have been key! But my relationship with my partner Jimmy is #1. He’s a part of Vinny as much as I am, both from a creative and business standpoint. Also the relationships developed with yoga studio owners and yoga teachers here in Melbourne, practicing with them and getting to know them as friends.
How does being a woman impact your work? It’s predominantly women in the yoga and wellness industry. The women that I’ve met thus far have been very supportive. As women, there’s this common ground to want to lift each other up and be of help. Particularly if we’re all small business owners and working solo, I’ve found that women are very open to banding together and collaborating.
What advice would you give women wanting to start their own thing? Tap into the sort of leader you are and want to become – whether it’s strong and empowering or warm and nurturing. Also enlist others that complement your style because because both are needed.