Cleveland Groove: How being flexible & building relationships made them hot commodities

Hometown: Cleveland, OH

The low down on the guys: 

  • Who’s are they? Eric Tabora & Jamie Ginsberg, co-founders of Cleveland Groove
  • What they do: Cleveland Groove is a contemporary media production company blending photos, video and social media and is based in O-H-I-O.
  • What else do they do: Oh, if running a full time company is not enough, they are also yogis, teachers, and overall creative spirits. Both Eric & Jamie received their 200-hour yoga certification from Cleveland Yoga.  Eric currently teaches at Cleveland Yoga and Jamie moved on to teach social media to businesses and writes for Elephant Journal.  They also thrive on being creative (wait until you see their work)!

I met Eric and Jamie through Cleveland Yoga, the yoga studio I went to when I lived in Cleveland, and was immediately in awe of their knowledge, drive, and determination as well as their kind spirits.  Because of this, I had to feature them and share their amazing story!

{Side Note: Instead of a typical Q&A or writing up a story, I thought it might be fun to mix it up and do a little True or False game based on the interview to start.  Slowly scroll down…you don’t want to see the answers right away do you?}


True or false: Cleveland Groove was the original name they wanted to use for a yoga studio.


For real. Their original dream was to open a yoga studio and have the video department be an extension of the studio to help them offer virtual classes, document events, etc. But instead, they decided to do everything except the yoga studio.  Lucky for us because their videos and photographs are amazing.

Yoga is still an integral part to their business though. Their first job was to shoot a series of videos for Cleveland Yoga highlighting the wonderful teachers at the studio (check out one below).

Since their first video, they have taken the yoga community by storm and have shot some amazing teachers including Baron Baptiste and Jonny Kest as well as musicians such as Girish and Wade Imre Morissette. To top it off Yoga Journal also featured their videos and photos.

{Editor’s Note: This just in, Jamie & Eric are moving to San Francisco in the very near future and opening up a yoga studio with Diana Vitantonio.  The new studio will be called Soul Flow Yoga and opens Nov 1, 2012.  Don’t worry, they’ll keep on making great photos & videos!}

True or false: Cleveland Groove started in the men’s bathroom at Cleveland Yoga.

Again, so TRUE!

Yes ladies and gents, it all started with the two of them in a bathroom.  It makes you wonder how the conversation started right?  So I asked…

Basically Eric quit his job as a software company to teach yoga full time.  He and Jamie were in the bathroom when they started talking about Eric’s future (a typical conversation in the men’s bathroom right?).  While conversing, Jamie had a brilliant idea of doing yoga and videos.  And before you know it, they started Cleveland Groove!

True or false: The guys at Cleveland Groove love red staplers.

This one is still a mystery and you might have to ask them.

But one thing is for sure, they definitely didn’t start renting an office space right away.  They chose to set up base camp operations at Whole Foods and held their more important meetings at Original Pancake House instead.

Why Whole Foods and Original Pancake House?

Whole Foods was the perfect place because it was a free (space, wifi and food samples) and it was a great place to meet people.  I also read that it’s a great place to pick up women.  Hmm…have to ask them a follow up question about that.

Original Pancake House was perfect because of the potatoes.  Jamie loved the potatoes, breakfast of champions.  I don’t blame him because the potatoes are delicious.

In the summer of 2011, they ditched Whole Foods and Original Pancake House and moved to their new digs, equipped with all the latest video, photography, and editing equipment.

True or false: Cleveland Groove is staying focused on shooting yoga videos only.

Nope, not true!

Even with their success after only being in business for almost two years, Cleveland Groove is not content with just conquering the yoga world.  They are expanding into other wellness markets such as spas and doing social media on the side to help fund their more creative projects.

Eric & Jamie chillingSo how they did they become successful in such a short amount of time?  And what’s the secret to their success?

Hard work and lots of it!

That’s it?

Well there’s a little more than hard work to be successful…

Cleveland Groove’s 4 keys to success:

  1. Always learn and grow
  2. Build Relationships
  3. Face challenges with a little OMMMMMM
  4. Do what you love and work hard at it

Starting out, Eric and Jamie had to figure out their own style. It’s a competitive market out there with lots of people vying for business.  A daunting challenge, further heightened by their lack of formal training videography and photography.

But they were passionate and willing to learn on the job and from their mistakes.  They were going to go all out and make it work no matter what.

Their favorite example of their determination was the video shoot for Christina LaMarca.  Plan A didn’t work.  The shoot was originally slated to be at a bocce ball court, but no one was playing that day and Eric and Jamie soon realized they needed to move to plan B.  Unfortunately, there was no plan B.

Lucky for them, there was a boxing ring near by and shot the video there.  Christina hop in the ring and did a little boxing and some yoga.  At the time, they weren’t so sure if the video would turn out, but luckily it did.  The fellas were happy they trusted their gut instinct, grateful for lady luck and have learned from this experience.

There are times when they are able to make lemonade out of bad lemons like the situation with Christina, but not always.  But they guys recognize that this is all a process.  As Jamie put it, “Know that the journey has different roads.  Follow the signs.  To be successful, you have to go down side roads and sometimes encounter dead ends.  But in the end, all roads lead to that dream.” 

Now more confident, Cleveland Groove has found their style.  They let their clients be natural and create an environment of comfort and trust.

To them, building relationships before, during, and after is key.  They try to make people feel comfortable so they can capture the essence or spirit of the person in the shoot.  They want to capture the real moments and want to stage as little as possible.  That comfort really shows in their videos.

Their greatest complement came from Baron Baptiste.  He said, “I like working with those guys.  They are very easy to work with.” It’s a great complement because they made really good videos and didn’t need to travel with a truck load of equipment.  They brought their personality to the project and it showed.

With all the long days and nights, they must be unhappy with the unforgiving schedule right?


These are happy days for them.  They are the most happy when they are shooting and being creative.  Their zest to learn new techniques is also infectious.  While interviewing Jamie pulled out a really cool flash to show off all the new types of shots he learned.

And what happens when they are stressed?

A little OMMMM.

Jamie chooses to do a little meditation in sticky situations.   No, he’s not pulling up his meditation mats in the middle of a shoot, but rather, he applies some tried and true meditation tactics – stillness of the mind – by taking a few deep breaths and projecting a sense of calmness and coolness to the situation.  Eric chooses focuses on gratitude by reminding himself that he’s living his dream.  He doesn’t want to think of his work as his job, but rather, his love.

This leads to the Dream Team’s Golden advice for people who want to follow their own dreams.  What is it?

“It may be sound cheesy but…Love.”

According to them, if you find something you love, you can’t lose sight of that love.  You have to commit and invest wholeheartedly into the project.  Also be willing to go wherever the wind takes you, even if it’s a path you didn’t intend in the first place.

And even though you work harder, it doesn’t seem like work because you’re having fun and doing what you love.

If you want to find out more about Cleveland Groove, visit their website.

*Photo Credit: Minling Chuang, {the JOY depot}


About the JOY Coach

Minling Chuang

Minling is the founder of {the JOY depot} and is on a mission to help new entrepreneurs start their dream business. She spent many years working on branding strategies for top brands like Lean Cuisine & Nestle Toll House and launching multimillion dollar products. Now Minling's passion is to help people create profitable businesses they love! She is also a Kundalini Yoga teacher in Venice, CA. Like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter. And if you want to start your own business, book a clarity session with Minling.

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