Victoria Young was an organizer of the Diner en Blanc event, where I was table captain, when we met. She simultaneously was at the helm of that massive event while finishing law school AND opening her own cycle studio here in Memphis.
Standing O to her for still standing because thassalot. I respect her hustle.
Victoria is a Duke University alum, who went to Los Angeles for graduate school (education). She became interested in the charter school movement, urban education and education reform. That path – and a sage professor/advisor – eventually led back to Memphis, which is one of the hotbeds of education reform.
Like many of us, she was “never coming home.” And like many of us prodigal children, she wanted to bring the experiences and knowledge from other cities back home. Thinking of Memphis as a temporary stop, she taught seventh grade English Language Arts at Riverview Middle School and 11th-grade English at Whitehaven High School
But the pull of home was heavy. Even when in law school at UT-Knoxville, she had felt an obligation to Memphis. Wanting to contribute creatively to the community, Victoria envisioned something that would be attractive to transplants from larger cities while speaking to the mind, body and soul of Memphians.
The cycle studio, located in the EDGE district just next to The Trolley Stop, has opened over to great reviews and acceptance from the surrounding community. Many of the faithful followers are UT Memphis medical students and doctors. Classes are primarily in the early morning (6 a.m.) or early evenings, with additional times coming soon.
The spin studio is intimate, no more than 25 bikes. The digitally controlled lighting can be tweaked from blue to purple to pink, matching the instructor’s vibe. Victoria is very careful to cultivate an open culture that isn’t pretentious. So don’t run out and buy up all the Lululemon. It’s not that kind of party.
Victoria readily acknowledges that she jumped into the venture feet first, with a dollar and a dream. The return on investment includes having learned many valuable lessons personally and professionally. For example:
* Sometimes the thing you want isn’t the thing for you. She got close to a space on Highland Row but it didn’t’ pan out. Something better awaited her in the EDGE district. It needed a ton of work but it all came together perfectly.
* You can’t tell your dreams to everyone because not everyone will get it. Push past the naysayers.
* Persist. She almost gave up when she was unable to find a suitable space. Then a friend gave her a lead just in time. (Won’t He do it?)
* Surround yourself with good people. As she prepares to begin her legal career as a litigation associate at Baker Donelson next year, she will need to step back from the day-to-day operations. This means putting people in place that can carry the business forward. And, she has found them. “God will send you what you need when you need it.”
I’m sure inquiring minds want to know how did she do all of this? She’s 20-something, still in law school, not a trustafarian and so on. Well, by my assessment it was grace, timing, sacrifice (her car, her nice apartment and I’m sure other trappings) and good fortune. She quotes Mark Cuban,
“When you don’t have any capital, you get real creative,” she says, quoting billionaire businessman Mark Cuban.
True, true. Many of us can relate to this on a personal level as well.
The Medical District Collaborative funded the pre-development. Then she was awarded a grant earmarked for new businesses in the EDGE district. The rest was pure sacrifice and family collaboration.
Trolley Stop owners, who just wanted a good next-door neighbor to fill the empty space, stepped up with support. They understood that a rising tide lifts all boats. When one does well, they all do well.
Well done, Victoria; very impressive.