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24th Feb 2016

Ever Thought About Running A Business That Would Enhance Your Community?

Sharyn Hayden

Have you been dreaming about the perfect job that would compliment your family life to a T, where you could access childcare, education for your kids, healthy meals and support, all while you work?

Well, that’s precisely what Lisa Wilkinson did when she opened The elbowroom in Stoneybatter in 2003.

Lisa had been teaching yoga in the local area since 1998 until she renovated a dilapidated old building (and did a lot of the hard work herself!) while pregnant with her first child, which became known as The elbowroom.

The studio first opened it’s doors offering just a handful of yoga classes, and after the birth of her daughter, Lisa extended the range of classes in response to what was required in the wider community.

Low cost, charity and family-orientated classes became the order of the day.

Bump yoga

The elbowroom now offers classes, workshops, courses, training and clinical services to those who are pregnant, have new babies, families, adults and seniors.

Lisa says that her business planning process is very unique in that she built further services in the centre in response to her personal family’s needs.

“When I wanted to help avoiding induction I knew acupuncture helped so I hired an acupuncturist after building a clinic.

When I needed my baby minded whilst I did pilates – I started a Pilates class with an in-room creche service.

When I wanted healthy food every day but struggled with a family to work, shop AND cook – I opened a vegan and vegetarian health food bar.

Through the help and dedication staff, teachers and therapists, The centre has continued to grow and grow.”

Baby and yoga

Lisa now has two children, Tuilelaith (12) and Sean (7) and has a very balanced approach to what she considers to be ‘success’.

The elbowroom doesn’t make any profit (everything gets put back into the business) so she doesn’t measure success in financial terms.

“It depends on what you say is success. Seeing people’s lives change is success. Supporting women, mothers, parents, fathers, families and just about everyone towards reaching their goals. That is success. Having a team of happy engaged staff is success.”

Lisa says that working for yourself is a mixed bag; you are never really off duty and it can be a lot of pressure, but at the end of the day it gives you the opportunity to create something that is magical.

So, what is next for this unstoppable mum and her dynamic business?

“More services for families with children with special needs. I am currently working on a yoga therapy training module aimed at primary school teachers, Occupational Therapists and parents who are involved with children with additional needs. It is my mission in life to educate schools on how to help children who need more support.”

Most communities only dream of the kind of services that Lisa and The elbowroom are providing for families in Dublin 7. Hats off to this pioneering superwoman!