Inspire Me

This Boutique Fitness Co-Founder Uses These Four Simple Words to Find Inner Calm Amid the Storm

Sarah Levey, co-founder of hot-yoga-meets-hip-hop fitness business Y7, reveals the surprising mantra that helps her through rough times.
This Boutique Fitness Co-Founder Uses These Four Simple Words to Find Inner Calm Amid the Storm
Image credit: Courtesy of Sarah Levey
Entrepreneur Staff
Staff Writer. Covers leadership, media, technology and culture.
4 min read

Editor’s Note: Inspire Me is a series in which entrepreneurs and leaders share what motivates them through good times and bad, while also sharing stories of how they overcame challenges in hopes of inspiring others.

We all have stressful days when things just don’t go right. No one is immune, even people whose job is to help other people find their center, like Sarah Levey, the co-founder of celebrity favorite yoga studio Y7.

But on one particularly frustrating day, a conversation with one of her colleagues helped Levey find the mantra that has stood her in good stead as she has grown her company.  

“We were sitting down and talking, and [one of my fitness instructors] looked at me and said, ‘It's like this now,’ Levey told Entrepreneur. “That really resonated with me. Things are different now than they were five minutes ago. They are going to be different 10 minutes from now. All you can do is move forward with what you have.”

Moving forward was something Levey had grappled with even before she fully committed to her business, which combines hot yoga with a hip-hop music playlist. In the early days, co-founder Sarah Levey constantly asked herself this question: How do you know when you’re ready to take your side hustle full time?

Now 30, Levey started the company with her husband in 2013 and worked at her day job as a PR account executive at L’Atelier Group until 2015. By that time, the company had been up and running for two years and opened three studios.

“It became clear that, if I wanted to provide the experience I had in mind, I had to leave my job. We were self-funded up until our sixth location,” Levey recalled to Entrepreneur. “It was a pretty big decision for us.”

The decision paid off. Today, Y7 has 11 locations in New York and California and a growing community that comes to class in the company’s line of activewear.

Levey says that when she has doubts or is in need of inspiration, she thinks about the studio’s clients and how to make it a place where they are excited to be.

“They are the reason I have a business,” Levey explained. “It is really important for me to make sure that the client experience is always top notch, and that we're always taking feedback from them about how to make the experience better.”

The young entrepreneur shared her insights about how to stay in the moment when stress feels overwhelming.

What inspires you at work?

My team really, really gives me my day-to-day inspiration. In the beginning, it was just my husband and I working and doing everything together. Now that we have a team, I have to show up every day no matter. The team is a constant source of inspiration for me about how to be a better leader, a better boss and really understanding the direction I want to take the company.

Who is a woman that inspires you, and why?

Someone who I always really look up to is [designer] Rebecca Minkoff. She is a client of ours, and someone I've gotten to know. She is a mentor to me and a constant source of inspiration. I really look to her in terms of how she is able to run a successful business and really have a fulfilling [personal] life as well.

What I continue to learn from Rebecca is that you can have it all. It's about realizing how to make time and space for the things that are important to you. For me, that means making sure I am spending ample time in my office with my team and making space to spend my evening with friends and family away from the business.

What has inspired you to be a better person?

My sister inspires me to be a better person. She always really puts me in check, and she is a lawyer, so she is a huge sounding board for me in terms of business decisions. With any sort of partnerships I'm looking at, I always look to her. She is able to give me those really tough answers that I sometimes don't want to hear, but it makes me better.

For those women who are looking to start a business or have begun one, but are feeling discouraged, what advice do you have for them to keep going?

What I would say to any woman who is interested in starting her own business is that there is no time like the present. You'll never ever know if you don't take that leap.

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