Creative entrepreneur Jane Krantz is an artist, a dancer, and a yoga instructor. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, she founded Afterglow Studio to maintain her community connection and provide opportunities for other creative wellness entrepreneurs to utilize space.

MetroHartford Alliance Content Manager Nan Price spoke with Jane about being a part of a creative community in Hartford and stepping into a business ownership role.

NAN PRICE: Tell us a little  about your career evolution.

JANE KRANTZ: I went to the University of Hartford Hartt School Dance Division, where I was a dance major. After I graduated, a spent a year studying for my yoga certification and then spent six years teaching at studios and schools throughout Connecticut .In 2017, my friend Jillian Foley founded The Dance Collective and I became Company Manager and Vice President as well as a resident artist and instructor.

Over time, I’ve learned that with all that I do through movement, whether it’s yoga or dance, the most important through line has been community. I love being a part of the community and collaborating with people.

So, although I wasn’t planning on opening a studio, with all of the shutdowns of yoga studios throughout 2020 and the loss of such great communities, it made sense for me to keep that going. I started doing my own thing because there really wasn’t anything else offered. I was creating something that wasn’t available. That’s what led me to starting my own business teaching yoga out of the Dance Collective space in September and then opening a studio in the same building a few months later in December.

NAN: Was it intentional to locate your studio in Hartford?

JANE: It was. A lot of the yoga studios in Hartford had closed. I had lost all my yoga teaching jobs because they were all located in Parkville, which has a distinct yoga community that’s very inclusive and diverse. That’s something I wanted to keep going and providing for our community. So, Parkville was definitely an intentional location for where I wanted my studio to be.

NAN: It was also intentional to allow other creative entrepreneurs utilize the space.

JANE: Right. The studio has big windows with a lot of natural light. It’s great for natural light photography. Starting out, I reached out to local photographer Jeff Hong of J Hong Photography to offer the space, which he’s been using for his photography business. I’ve also been able to provide a space for other photographers and videographers to come in and create content.

It’s important to me because many yoga instructors and wellness professionals don’t really make living wages without having several jobs. Even before this pandemic, that was challenging. So, I wanted to provide an additional income stream.

Afterglow Studio has a team of diverse teachers who pay a monthly rental fee to teach their classes and then they keep all the income they make. Over the pandemic, so many teachers in this industry have started their own businesses because they’ve had no other choice. Studios either aren’t hiring or they’re not paying enough. These instructors have worked so hard to launch their own businesses and build their own client bases. Afterglow Studio is a space where they can continue that and we help promote them, too.

For me, I’m starting to get to the point where I’m finally making some money. But, as they say, if you’re starting something up, it takes a little time—and I’ve been patient. I’m passionate about the studio and I know it’ll grow with more time.

NAN: As you’ve been developing the business, did you tap into any local business resources or did you find your way on your own?

JANE: A little bit of both. It seemed like the studio was very sudden—and it was. At the same time, I realize I’ve lived in Hartford for a while. I spent years teaching at so many places, and I’ve hosted pop-up classes at several different businesses. So, when I look back, I can see how everything is connected.

I had a loyal client base; I didn’t have to do a lot of work to get people into the studio. I also learned so much from working at The Dance Collective. I was a part of the team before they had a space. Jill and I worked closely together and I learned so much from building that business with her. I really want to highlight that too because I owe a lot to that experience. It helped set me up to open my own studio.

NAN: As a new business owner, what advice would share with others?

JANE: Don’t have such specific expectations that you’ll be upset if they don’t happen the way you want them to. You have to learn to go with the flow and, as long as you’re putting the work and energy in, something great will come of it.

Owning a business is always going to be stressful, so you have to let things roll off your back and remember to be grateful for what is working. It’s a learning experience more than anything. Embrace the journey.

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Photos of Jane Krantz courtesy J Hong Photography