BizTimes Bubbler Executive of the Week: Marietta Pucillo

Last updated on July 3rd, 2019 at 07:14 pm

Marietta Pucillo, owner of Yama Yoga
Company address: 231 E Buffalo St., Suite 201, Milwaukee, WI 53202
Industry: Yoga studio
Number of employees: 20 independent contractor teachers, 15 volunteer deskers, myself and one part-time office manager employee
Family: Three dogs, a parrot and a significant other

What compelled you to open your own yoga studio 10 years ago?
“I was working as the manager of another studio across town and we were researching a second location downtown. I found our current studio space and fell in love with the urban charm of the building and Third Ward location. I am a transplanted New Yorker and I lived for many years in the SoHo section of Manhattan. The Third Ward reminded me a lot of those days and that excitement. It didn’t work out legally for us to open as a second location for that other studio, but I was fortunate enough to have a few students who believed in me enough to help fund opening Yama on my own.”

What do you attribute your business’s decade of success to?
“The word Yama is a sanskrit word for the first of the eight limbs of yoga, the five that govern our outward behavior to others in the world. Those Yamas are non-violence, non-lying, non-stealing, non-greed and moderation or control. Those words are how we have tried to behave in all things when it comes to our clients, our teachers, our staff and our business collaborators in the yoga community. Staying true to those ideals and remaining committed to delivering the absolute best yoga possible to the widest range of students of all walks of life, ages and abilities has kept us a solid and safe source of physical practice, mental calming and spiritual exploration. I hear from students and teachers alike that they always feel like Yama Yoga is home.”

What challenges have you faced while working to grow your studio?
“Keeping healthy financially is always challenging. We never want put the burden on the backs of our students or our teachers. We try to make yoga available to a wide range of economic levels while still having to live in the real world and pay our bills. It is always our mission to live up to those yogic ideals in a terrible economy, especially with an overwhelming number of options now becoming available in an ever-growing yoga market. Time and money are always challenging on a practical level for me and my small staff. I have been blessed with a great, loyal group of teachers and students ready to help get the word out about Yama being the best kept secret in Milwaukee.”

What’s new at Yama Yoga?
“Everything except our continuing quality of teachers and classes…we have a new website, a new logo and are about to launch into a new decade in Milwaukee. Both of our studio spaces have gotten a new facelift and we are redesigning our office for the 10th anniversary on May 1.”

Do you plan to hire any additional staff or make any significant capital investments in your business in the next year?
“We have been actively looking for the right space for a second location with the ambiance that fits our particular personality. We are in the process of interviewing faculty members to launch a 300-hour higher education program in the beginning of 2016, adding to our already existing 200-hour Teacher Training program. We have begun to attract some national personalities to present workshops and immersive experiences to our students and instructors.”

What’s the hottest trend in yoga?
“Yoga is not a trend; it is a 10,000-year-old tradition so I can’t really speak to the hottest trend in yoga. We try to stay on course and true to those traditions. The yoga ‘trends’ change constantly depending on what comes down the road from the newest fad or hybrid popular on the coasts. We try to avoid getting into that mentality. We want to provide the best yoga available in Milwaukee with a lovely blend of styles and levels for all students who want to attend. You want hot, it is here. You want gentle, it is here. You want alignment, it is here. You want quality, it is here. Our offerings are not based on trends but on tradition.”

What sets Yama Yoga apart from other yoga studios in Milwaukee?
“I try not to see the world in terms of us and them. I work very collaboratively with many studios in the market in order to make the practice of yoga thrive and flourish. In that way we all win. I would say our very unique setting does help us to stand out to new and long time students. We are in a 150-year-old renovated warehouse building owned by a very talented and world famous metal sculptor. The studios are lovely, sunny rooms with cream city brick walls and glistening hardwood floors. The entrance and lobby areas are covered in artwork by sculptors, painters and photographers. We also have classes available seven days a week and throughout the days and evenings and a variety of experience levels possible from novice to seasoned practitioner. We offer new students from the greater Milwaukee area an introductory 10 days of unlimited yoga for a single payment of $10. All of our teachers are top notch, well trained and dedicated to offering the finest experience to our students at all levels.”

Do you have a business mantra?
“Safe. Solid. Source.”

From a business standpoint, who do you look up to?
“I have always been fascinated by the business ethics and success of Steve Jobs.  He was a guy with a big dream and he made it come true.

“I think Warren Buffet is an amazing man, with a great sense for ethical business practices while being one of the most successful business figures of our time.”

What was the best advice you ever received?
“Every customer is an individual. Treat them like one.

“When it comes to other businesses:
The bridge you burn today will most likely be the one you will have to cross tomorrow.”

What do you like to do in your free time?
“I love to kayak, bicycle and motorcycle. I have several dogs, and I enjoy going on long hikes daily. I love to travel to adventurous places for vacations which include hiking, camping and other outdoor activities, on and off the water. Yama Yoga has sponsored several yoga retreats over the years to exotic places like Costa Rica and Belize which included other adventures like ziplining and snorkeling.”

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