How this entrepreneur turned her passion into a career

We caught up with Malvina Kang, founder of Hom Yoga.

With it’s bright modern spaces, minimalistic approach and A-grade teachers, its no wonder Hom Yoga has become a staple for Sydney and Singaporean yogis. A favourite of Amodrn’s own Bianca Cheah, the calming aesthetic combined with a varied mix of teachers and styles allows you to escape for a blissful hour of peace and tranquility.

“Our driving principle is to allow people to practise yoga in whichever way that works for them to bring the greatest vitality, level of fitness, and feeling of beauty and wellness into their lives,” Hom Yoga.  

We recently spoke to Malvina Kang, owner and founder of the eco-luxe mini-sanctuaries, about her interesting journey and the inspiration for creating a distinctive style of studio. Her philosophy and approach to all things life and business is an inspirational take on following your heart and passion.

What inspired you to open Hom Yoga?

A photo posted by Hom Yoga (@homyoga) on

At the age of 12, I did my first yoga class in Singapore and felt this complete sense of serenity and peace. Then, at age 14, I did my first Bikram class in Victoria, Canada and I remembered feeling strong and powerful afterwards. At the time, I told my friends and family that I will open a yoga studio when I grow up! I forgot about it for a while, and continued with University in Los Angeles. I was living like a regular young adult, going to school, partying, boys etc. The entire time I was also practising and training. When I moved to Singapore, I continued the rat race working in the corporate world. The entire time; I was practicing before or after work. One day, it hit me. The only thing I looked forward to in my day was going to a yoga class. I couldn’t see how I could sustain my working lifestyle any longer.
I decided to open a yoga studio, but I wanted to do it on my terms and not have it be a copy of someone else’s idea. After visiting a few studios in Singapore, I noticed that the offerings were either really cold, or in a space which felt really daggy and smelly! I visualized a space where it was beautiful, simple, sleek and well designed. It would offer a dynamic style of yoga with the best quality teachers, and staff who would go above and beyond for every single person who entered the space. When I opened the first studio in Raffles Place, Singapore we had a wait list and had to quickly open the second studio in Orchard. I then had the opportunity to move to Sydney around the same time, and again I saw similar gaps in the market. Soon thereafter, I opened the Darlinghurst location in 2010 and the Surry Hills location recently opened in July 2016.

What was the first step you took toward making your idea a reality?

Made a plan, and a to do list. Then I travelled to Los Angeles and New York and visited all the best fitness centres, yoga studios, spas and hotels for ideas and inspiration. The entire time I was visualising the Hom Yoga space. This included the energy of the brand and how it would reflect in everything from the logo, to its interiors, and the teachers.

Can you tell us a bit about the philosophy behind the studio?

The studios are all designed with the intention to give all members a seamless experience when they arrive. T overall design aesthetic of the studios relies on maximum use of height, space and light and all the furniture and fittings sleek and simple in design. As much as we can, we make our furniture from re-milled oak timbers. The most important thing is that everything is really pared back in a sleek, simple, peaceful and inspiring way.

What were you doing before Hom?

A photo posted by Malvina Kang (@malvinakang) on

I did many jobs before starting Hom as I didn’t know what I wanted to do. Every time I had a school holiday, I remember thinking that I couldn’t waste time just hanging out with friends. All I wanted to do was work and learn something new! My first ever job was working in the PR department at Dolce & Gabbana in their Rodeo Drive office. Then I worked in the PR division of MGM in Beverly Hills. I also worked as an editorial assistant at the Los Angeles Times at a small magazine publication called Distinction Magazine. When I moved to Singapore, I worked in a non-profit organisation, Singapore Institute of International Affairs, championing environmental sustainability in the South East Asian region. Then, I did a 180-degree and worked in the PR division of Bates 141 representing a few super cool consumer lifestyle brands.
Everything I did was absolutely pivotal and essential to my growth as a woman and businesswoman. I learnt so much everywhere I went, and was hungry for knowledge. I respected and looked up to all my bosses. To this day, I’m still applying things I’ve learned from past jobs and ex-bosses.

How involved are you in the day-to-day business? What does a typical workday look like?

I’m very macro, but also very micro. I’m all about empowering my team in regards to the running of the business; but also very much involved in the specifics and details of the business, as that is the kind of the stuff which ultimately makes the difference.

What has been the best advice you’ve ever been given?

Throw away the business plan and just do it!

What have you learnt from managing an international business/studio?

A photo posted by Malvina Kang (@malvinakang) on

The importance of communicating the values of the business and its vision to all the key managers. It’s also important to empower them with all the knowledge they need to manage their teams and translating those same values to the rest of the business, in everything that they do.

What are your top three tips for someone who is looking to start their own business?

  1. Take action
  2. Be flexible
  3. Stay true to your vision and values

Can you tell us the best and worst part of your job?

Best part is doing what I love everyday, and knowing that I’m contributing something great (yoga) to people’s lives. Worst part is that I feel like I’m constantly working and thinking about work ALL the time. But that’s actually one of the best parts of the job as well!

What is your own food and fitness philosophy?

A photo posted by Malvina Kang (@malvinakang) on

I try to eat a plant-based, whole foods diet. Lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes. Organic if possible, especially for fruits like blueberries, apples etc. I treat myself to a chocolate, or sweet dessert sometimes with the meal, and love a glass of red wine. I try to get to a yoga class at least 5 times a week – I don’t do anything else but yoga! If I can’t get to a class, I make sure I’ve had an active day with lots of walking and pushing my baby around in his stroller.

How do you see the brand evolving of the next few years?

Growing this brand throughout Asia and Australia, and seeing my vision of creating a beautiful, inspiring, and contemporary yoga studios come to fruition.

Quick questions:

First thing I do in the morning: Cuddle and kiss my baby.
Last thing I do at night: Read the news.
Most people probably don’t know this about me, but: I love having showers.
If I could only do one yoga pose a day, it would be: Downward Dog.
The one place I’d never wear yoga pants: Anywhere apart from yoga studio.
My favourite café/restaurant is: Jackie’s Café in Paddington.
If I were a fruit or vegetable I’d be: Spinach.
If sugar were a superfood, my diet would consist of: Chocolates.
I never leave home without: iPhone.
I’m inspired by: Travel.
My favourite emoji is: Love heart eyes.
My pet peeve is: When someone drags his or her feet whilst walking.

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