Hello! We’re Jenny and Holly Oak, sisters and co-founders of Oak Studio. We moved around a lot growing up but settled in Mansfield, Ohio when we were 12 and 10. Now we call Columbus our home.
After not being very active growing up, Jenny found running and biking once she got to college. She loved that it wasn’t as intimidating as she thought team sports were in high school—it was something she could do to clear her head and get her outside. She also loved taking group exercise classes at the BG rec center. It was a new concept for her to take classes with an instructor coaching her and other students through an exercise, but she loved learning a lot more exercises versus going to the gym on her own. College is really where her interest in fitness began.
Jenny graduated from Bowling Green in 2008 during the middle of the recession, when it was trying to find a job. She began working at a YMCA in the wellness department. This helped further cultivate her passion of fitness, as she helped coach others on their fitness plan and taught group exercise classes. She enjoyed her time at the YMCA, but was still searching for her first career job. She eventually landed a job as a project manager for a healthcare IT company in Madison, Wisconsin. The company she worked for was known to be a pretty demanding environment—she traveled almost every week throughout the US. Her days consisted of working on-site from 8-5 and then continuing working in the hotel lobby. She lived out of a suitcase and ate out for every meal. However, she still tried to prioritize fitness by getting creative with squeezing in workouts in the small hotel gyms (which were also crowded with other members of her team) or by working out in my hotel room. She used Pinterest to find unique at-home workouts, and also had old workout DVDs.
When she would return home to Madison, Jenny would get so excited to finally take a workout class at one of the studios she had memberships to or a class at her gym. But maintaining multiple memberships was way too expensive and it was chaotic driving to different parts of town for different classes and checking different class schedules to see what class I may be able to fit in that day. She would see familiar faces at each studio she went to, but because she hopped around so much, she never really got to know anyone. With traveling so often and then going to different studios, she was really missing a sense of community.
Holly was active basically her whole life, playing tennis in high school, running races growing up, and rowing for the crew team at Miami University. But when she started law school, she was craving something outside of school to help her relieve stress. That’s when she started going to yoga classes. She loved taking the 60 minutes for herself to move her body and clear her head. As she started her job as an attorney, she kept going back to yoga classes and found it fun to try other studios and vary her workouts to include cardio and strength. At one time, she found herself having 5 different memberships. It seemed there had to be a better way to seek the variety of fitness she wanted, but not pay so many membership fees and run all over town.
It was obvious we were both in the same place—we had fitness goals, we both loved going to studios, we were both sick of juggling multiple studio and gym memberships, and we were feeling burnt out in our jobs. One day in February 2016, it clicked: what if we opened our own studio?! We could offer a variety of classes where we could fit in our strength, cardio, and yoga for one inclusive price, all under one roof. Boom! No more paying tons of money to get all these in one. No more running all over town to get a different workout. And no more feeling disconnected from our community. We could create what it was we always desired out of a studio. And thus, Oak Studio was born.