Sweet Pea’s Studio’s story begins with family. In 2001, Jenny and her husband Scott were visiting Jenny’s sister, Kate, her husband, Ron, and their young son in PA. Jenny and Kate, who is also a massage therapist, were dreaming of a time when they could live in the same area. Coming from a large, close family, the sister’s were imagining a retreat center that they and their husbands could run, and all live and work together. Some months later, still dreaming of the future possibilities, Jenny and Scott started to envision what they could do in Chicago where their life was, where Jenny’s massage therapy, Doula and Yoga business was and where they could create a version of the dream they envisioned. Since Jenny and Kate call each other “Sweet Pea”, Scott, a marketing and ad man, announced his idea for the name of the place…Sweet Pea’s Studio. By April 1st of 2002, a beautiful loft space with an enormous skylight was found, walls were painted, an inspired brand and logo was created, teachers were on board and Sweet Pea’s Studio, A Family Yoga Center opened in Chicago. In the early days, the Studio was home to many different activities. Many of Jenny’s Yoga instructor friends were teaching as there were very few actual Yoga Studios open in 2002, and Jenny and Scott started to envision their next project…a baby. In May of 2003, their daughter Eve was born, and the meaning of “Family Yoga Center” became more personal. Young families were discovering Sweet Pea’s and felt at home inside classes and gatherings that were accessible, that supported natural and holistic birthing and parenting, and requests started to pour in. “Can you do a class on Comfort Measures for Birth?” YES. “Can you host an attachment parenting group?” YES. “Can you offer classes for pelvic floor health?” YES. “Can you host groups that want to discuss life after a cesarean birth (ICAN)?” YES. “Can you have drop in lactation support groups?” YES. Music classes, childbirth education, Red Tent celebrations, Yoga for mom and baby, Infant Massage classes, carriers and cloth diapers classes, playgroups, support groups, and on and on…YES! The Studio became a hub of all things Pregnancy, Birth and Parenting. Jenny could be found teaching classes with Eve in the sling, and gifted practitioners found a home for their classes and bodywork. The Yoga and Birth communities also began to grow at this time. Jenny, Corinne Peterson and Lynn Pigott started to train other Yoga teachers on the fundamentals of Prenatal Yoga. Doulas and Childbirth Educators, home birth groups and performance artists all found the Studio, and hundreds of families found their tribes.
In 2006, Jenny and Scott had another child, Nathaniel. Nate was born at home (on purpose is how Scott always finishes that sentence), and the “Barron Von Fishman” family was complete. Within the few years since SPS had opened, the Studio had expanded, classes were busy, and life was full. During all this time, Jenny’s beloved mama, Nancy, had been diagnosed with cancer, received treatment, and was in remission. In 2006, it was back and the family was traveling to and from Nebraska to be with her. In the next 2 years, more sadness landed in the family’s path when Kate’s husband was diagnosed with and shortly after, passed away from complications from cancer, Jenny’s Grandmother passed away, and Jenny’s mother lost her battle to her cancer. The family had already felt the loss of a beloved parent when Scott’s father had passed away shortly after Eve’s birth, but this extreme wave of loss hit the family hard. Jenny felt the burden of running a business, raising small children and tending to the grief in her world, and it became too much. Her work would have to be put on hold. After much consideration and sadness, the decision was made to close Sweet Pea’s Studio. Family was more important.
When the time came to close, Jenny’s close friend and colleague Rita Di Rito, was ready to expand her business, Mother Me, and she took over the studio space. With time and support and healing, Jenny began to take up more work again, and even began to rent space from Rita in her old studio. With the ways of the world of self employment and motherhood, Rita’s life took a turn, and Jenny and Scott decided to reclaim the lease when Rita moved out. The Ravenswood Avenue space became Sweet Pea’s Studio again. With more of a focus on her own teaching and renting to a wonderful collection of holistic health practitioners, SPS became more of a Community Wellness Center. Jenny became certified as a Childbirth and Breastfeeding Educator, began to grow her offerings to expectant and existing families, refocused her attention to teaching pre and post natal yoga primarily, began mentoring more Yoga teachers and reinvesting in her own studies as a bodyworker and yoga practitioner. She is working on a book and is creating a Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training Program.
Currently, the Studio continues to be a thriving Family Wellness Center. With more and more growth in the field of Yoga and Bodywork, Jenny’s attention continues to be on providing a warm and welcoming space for all, offering classes and creating community. Without a doubt, those who are experiencing amazing transformations that come with becoming parents have found a home at Sweet Pea’s. The pre and post natal offerings continue to be the primary focus of the Studio, and Jenny is training and mentoring new teachers to grow the class offerings. She also is looking forward to exploring more trainings in Craniosacral Therapy, bodywork to support newborns and breastfeeding, and Yoga for the Endocrine System, Menopause and many many other inspiring and exciting topics.
As Sweet Pea’s Studio moves into its 14th year, and Jenny, Scott, Eve and Nate ride the waves that all families do; growth, change, discovery, meeting challenges and starting new adventures, its exciting to think of all the wonderful experiences to come. As Jenny always says at the end of each class, “From my heart to yours, I wish you all many blessings on your journey!”