Bulldog 100 Honoree Interview: Selby Hill (ABJ ’14)
Bulldog 100 Honoree Interview: Selby Hill (ABJ ’14)
This is one of a series of interviews honoring Grady College alumni who have been recognized as Bulldog 100 recipients in 2024. The Bulldog 100 is sponsored by the UGA Alumni Association and celebrates the 100 fastest-growing businesses owned or operated by UGA alumni.
Selby Hill (ABJ ’14) is a co-founder of Yonder Yoga, an infrared hot power yoga studio with six locations. She identifies her love of yoga, communications skillset and entrepreneurial spirit as the pillars of her success.
What motivated you to become an entrepreneur?
A combination of my passion for yoga and teaching ultimately led us to co-found Yonder Yoga. I started teaching yoga as a high school English teacher, and while I loved the studios I worked for and attended as a student, I always had a vision of how I would do things differently. With my two business partners, we decided we wanted to bring professionalism in a business-first mindset to the yoga space while still preserving the local, community feel of a studio. Our team and client base are loyal to the brand because they feel they can trust that no matter what class, teacher or studio they are in, they get the same Yonder Yoga offering they’ve grown to love.
What key lessons have you learned from your entrepreneurial journey?
Every day I am learning something new, so I love doing what I do. My greatest takeaway is not to be so hard on yourself. Like the yoga practice, life and all the things we pursue in it will be perfectly imperfect. In line with that lesson, I’ve also had to learn that I can’t make everyone happy. Being an entrepreneur means that at the end of the day, the decisions are yours. You must trust yourself to make decisions that align with what you believe in. That also means letting go of the need to be everything for everyone. Instead, we try to focus on the people who are drawn to and love our brand and how we can continue to improve for that audience.
What skills and/or values and/or circumstances do you attribute to your success?
Be flexible. Stuff happens, your ideas evolve and times change, so you have to be willing and ready to adapt, modify and stay competitive.
What qualities or behaviors differentiate exceptional leaders from the rest?
The ability to lead by example positively. I have people ask me all the time how we train our staff to be so genuinely welcoming and enthusiastic, and the truth is, we didn’t. We brought leaders onto the team early that we felt embodied our passion and excitement for Yonder as well as our professionalism and leadership, and now those people are who our new hires look to emulate. We find that people often want to work for us because of the experience they had as a client, and so we don’t have to deliberately tell them how to greet students and make people feel special — they simply do it because they’ve experienced it.
How did your time at Grady College shape where you are today?
Grady taught me the importance of a network and the value in making connections. Connection is what yoga is all about, and that’s how I believe it most aligns with business. You have to be connected to your mission, your team and your community to be successful. We don’t do a lot of marketing outside of social media, and it’s because a lot of our growth comes from word-of-mouth and making connections that bring more people into our space. Additionally, Grady taught me the value of having a story and sharing it, and that’s something that I think has given us a lot of success too. Our partnership is made up of three of us who all were NCAA athletes at UGA, and while we all had different paths to discovering yoga, we aligned with what we valued about it once we found it.
What advice do you have for today’s Grady College students?
Soak it all in! When I was a junior taking my public relations classes, I thought I knew exactly what I was going to do after college and for the rest of my life. Now, that idea makes me laugh. I took so many detours and new directions over the last ten years, and I am so grateful that I did because it got me where I am today. So all of that is to say, soak it all in, every bit of it, because you never know when you’re learning something that you will need one day.
What goals have you set for your company?
Our initial goal in starting Yonder was to create a yoga business that was scalable but still maintained the small business, community feel. We set a goal to open 5 locations in the first 5 years, and we ended up opening our fifth Atlanta location 3.5 years in. Next up, we are opening our sixth studio in Athens this spring, and after that, we want to expand to another Atlanta-like market. Where that is, we don’t know yet, but growth has always been our goal since day one, and the more we witness the impact our yoga community has on people, the more drive we have to continue to chase that goal.
Are there any books or podcasts that you would recommend to young entrepreneurs?
You are a Badass by Jen Sincero and Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon are two must-reads for anyone, no matter what you do. Sincero tells us everything we should already know about our mindset, our potential and how to make things happen, but she does it in an actionable and inspiring way. Then Kleon’s book is 10/10 necessary for anyone in a creative industry, which aren’t we all? His principle that nothing is original and everything is created from something that has already been done was incredibly liberating and inspiring for me. Finally, I love all “How I Built This” podcasts by Guy Raz —he interviews some of the most successful entrepreneurs and how they grew from the beginning. They’re equally inspiring and educational.
Other Grady alumni recognized in the 2024 Bulldog 100 list include:
- Leo Falkenstein (ABJ ’13, BBA ’14), Consume Media
- Elizabeth Newton (ABJ ’99), ENewton Design
- Marie Hunter (ABJ ’02), KRG Fuel + Energy
- Brooke Beach MacLean (ABJ ’11), Marketwake
- Trevor Williams (ABJ ’02, MA ’04), Pig Apple, LLC
- Cindy Edwards (ABJ ’86) and Stephanie Duttenhaver (M ’81), Sapelo Skin Care
- Jason A. Russell (ABJ ’96), Stable Kernel
Editor: Jin Lee | email@example.com