We had the good fortune of connecting with Christine Malmborg and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Christine, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I have been a yoga instructor by profession since 2009. Prior to becoming a full-time yoga instructor, I earned a Master’s Degree in Business Administration and worked in various sales & marketing positions for tech companies for 10 years. In 2009, I became a certified yoga instructor and switched professions. While instructing yoga, I applied my in-depth business knowledge and experience towards managing yoga studios. After 7 years of helping other studios with their success, I decided it was time to embark on a business of my own. I had the knowledge, the experience, the drive and motivation and a modest amount of capital to persue this. I just wasn’t sure what exactly I wanted to do. I had considered opening my own studio but I wasn’t too excited about signing a 5-year lease.
In 2015, I was vacationing in Cabo San Lucas where I tried standup paddleboarding (SUP) and paddle yoga for the first time. I love being on the water, being immersed in nature, and I had an wonderfully memorable experience with paddleboarding. My entire life I had alsways lived near water. During that vacation, while I was out on the Sea of Cortez on a SUP, a dragonfly visited me. All the signs were there and my entrepreneurial spirit came alive. I felt immensely inspired and knew this was going to be my path… Offering SUP Yoga in Colorado Springs and Monument.
Fast forward to today… I’m now in my 5th season with Dragonfly Paddle Yoga. The business has grown every year and my service offerings have expanded to include Excursions, Rentals, SUP Skills Workshops, SUP Yoga Teacher Training and Fundraisers. I am passionate about creating joyfully memorable experiences for people. Plus, I am passionate about empowering women with their minds and bodies through the practices of yoga. I’m continuously learning and growing and look for novel ways to grow the business. I care deeply about the health of our lakes and the ecosystems and the wildlife they support.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Offering Paddle Yoga classes on the lake is a seasonal endeavor that lasts 4-5 months. I therefore need to maximize my time on the water. I’m always thinking of new experiences people can have on the water with SUPs, in order to expand my offerings on the lake. One such experience is evening paddle yoga with illuminated boards. I devised an LED lighting system for my SUPs so that they glow at night. It’s a magical experience especially when the stars and full moon are shining in the night sky. It was a a difficult system to maintain though as there many parts to put together for each SUP and it required numerous batteries. Once I earned enough money, I purchased a more high-tech lighting system that saved me the expense of batteries and set-up time.
What sets my paddle yoga classes apart is my ability to teach to varying experience levels within a single class, I connect with each participant on a first name basis, I keep everyone safe, and I take incredible pictures of each participant during class. My years of experience teaching yoga, understanding and observing body mechanics has enabled me to tailor my teachings on an indivdual level, while instructing to a group. My goal for each class is for every participant to feel confident, empowerd and to have fun.
I have been humbled by mother nature more times than I care to count. I pay constant attention to the weather and I’ve had to learn how the weather behaves in order for me and my clients to be safe from the dangers of thunderstorms and high winds, while maximizing my time on the water. The key is to stay alert, to always be prepared, and to not let cancellations due to weather get me down..
One of the biggest challenges I have had to overcome in starting and growing my business is to be less risk-averse. Although confident in my abilites and inspired to lead paddle yoga classes, I really didn’t know if I could achieve starting and running a business. I leaned on my ‘tribe’ for encouragement and support, and had to remind myself that I had already been doing this for other businesses and it was time I did this for myself. Had I not taken a chance on myself, Dragonfly Paddle Yoga wouldn’t be the success that it is today.
The next challenge I am faced with as I grow my business is growing my team. I put all my heart and soul into this business and it will take the right people to help me grow it. Again, I need to take a chance, this time on others, to help me grow.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
When people come to visit the area, I want them to experience the most beautiful or unique outdoor places available. This would include the COG Railway to Pikes Peak, paddling Rampart Reservoir, walking the Paint Mines, hiking Garden of the Gods and of course, Paddle Yoga with Dragonfly Paddle Yoga.
Other experiences I would recommend include a soak at Sun Water Spa, the Olympic Museum, rent a Pikes Ride bike and tour downtown, Old C and Manitou, visit the Pioneers Museum, and enjoy high tea at Glen Eyrie Castle.
Some of my fav locally owned places to eat that I recommend include: Shugas, Rabbit Hole, Crystal Park Cantina, Garden of the Gods Market Cafe.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There are many, many people who have supported me on my path to starting and running my business. My sister Jackie Goode – – who encouraged me every step of the way and supported me through the ‘bumps in the road.’ My dearest friend – Brook Brown – who let me bounce all my ideas off him as I was pulling my business and operational plan together, who helped me shop for the perfect van for my SUPs, and who built an amazing rack for my SUPs. And, all the lovely women who have been taking my classes on the lake since my opening season, and who have helped me on the shore, and who have given me feedback to help me improve my offerings, and who have inspired new ideas for growth of the business. I could not have done this without my tribe, aka support network.
I am also immesnely grateful to all the media and news outlets for their support over the years in showcasing my business to the community.