If you have been thinking of starting a yoga mat business in 2020, you are in the right place. I’m going to take you through the 6 stages of getting your new yoga mat designed, manufactured and into the hands of yogis all over the world.
Making a yoga mat from scratch might seem daunting – some products seem easier to make than others, but there are plenty of manufacturers and if you know what you are asking for, creating your own yoga mat for sale can be done.
However, in some regards, the manufacture itself is almost the easy bit! Creating a brand that stands out from the noise, and engages your dream customer – and the people that INFLUENCE your dream customer is something that you can start and should start work on right now.
First of all, I’m going to assume here that you actually practice yoga – maybe you are even a yoga teacher! To design your own yoga mat and turn it into a successful business, you need to have a clear vision for a mat that serves the needs of your practice better than anything else out there.
Let’s go through the six main stages ahead of you.
What is special about the kind of mat that you want to create? Think about materials, thickness, size, grip, weight.
Make a list of your favourite 4 yoga mats – why do you love them? How are you improving on what they provide?
Research everything you can about those mats that you already love – find out everything you can about where and how they are made, and what materials they use.
Research different manufacturers – is it important that you have your yoga mat made in the US? Or in the UK, Europe etc? Do plenty of research and speak to as many manufacturers as you can – don’t just fall gratefully into the arms of the first one you find! Ask LOTS of questions.
Your costs will be lower if you work with a manufacturer in China (and there are plenty!) but you will have to deal with importing, and the slightly “unknown” factors that can crop up dealing with an overseas manufacturer, including the environmental aspect.
You may have to send them samples of (i.e. cut up!) your favourite yoga mat to explain precisely what it is that you are looking for.
When you are negotiating price, think about the cost of transporting your order from the manufacturer to your own location, as well as packaging costs. Your mark-up needs to be very high for this to be a sustainable business – there is a reason that good mats are about $100 or more!
3 Brand Design
Now you have to turn your physical concept into a visual concept! Think about a catchy and unique brand name that will stand out in online searches, but still be easy to spell. You might have to invent a name! Words like chakra and prana won’t stand out enough. You need to be the first hit on Google when someone searches for your mat by name.
Keep your brand design simple – look to your own favourite brands from the last couple of years. I bet they only have 1 – 2 colours, and a clear, stylish logo.
If your mat is printed (as it should be with your logo and possibly a beautiful pattern) you will need to establish all of this before you place your first order.
Do as much of this yourself as you can. At most, perhaps get a professionally designed logo – as it is going onto physical products too, this might be worth investing in.
4 Your Website
You will need an ecommerce website, so get yourself set up on Shopify or WordPress and start blogging too – the more (relevant!) WORDS there are on your website, the easier it is for Google to index your site and show it to people.
You definitely do not need to hire a web designer at this point – Shopify has beautiful chic templates that you can use and with strong, light photography you can do this yourself.
Have a popup to get people to sign up to your mailing list and give them a REASON to do so (no “get my news and events” please!) – a video series on nailing your Chatturanga, a series of inspirational and mantas to start each week.
Start working on your online “fame” and presence. What does your yoga mat offer to users that doesn’t exist anywhere else? Does it provide optimal alignment? Grip? Sustainability? Start creating visual content around that on Instagram and Facebook.
If you are a yoga teacher this might be a good time to invest in a photo shoot that you can draw on in social media, but if that is not possible there are lots of suitable images you could use on platforms like iStock. Use inspirational quotes (relevant ones!) and utilise Stories heavily to build up the Know Like Trust factor.
Check out my blog post on creating an automatic email sequence even before you have a product – this is the time to implement something like that!
When you have the first sample of your mat, you will need a photo shoot. You might even be able to do this, especially if you have a recent iPhone or similar. Have a go, use Lightroom presets liberally to get a “pro” finish, especially with lots of light. I have a blog post on DIY photoshoots here that might be helpful.
Now you are ready to sing it from the rooftops! Tell EVERYBODY on social media over and over again. If you have been able to gather email addresses, TELL THEM.
Tell all the yoga teachers you know and offer them a go – if you have the budget, maybe even give mats to yoga teachers you can rely on to spread the word. Yoga teachers can be very influential – their students want to buy the kit they see their teachers using.
If you’re a teacher spread the word at your classes, on your teaching Instagram (if it has been separate from your new business Insta) – as your yoga teacher friends to post about it in their feeds.
When you start shipping your product, CELEBRATE! YOU DID IT! 🍾 but also make getting reviews your top priority. You will need to use these heavily in your marketing campaign, so get people to leave Google reviews, or just email you with their feedback – this will help you improve and build trust.
I can help you create and launch your own yoga mat this year. Book a discovery call with me and let’s make your dream into a success.
PS: Want to know what my favourite yoga mat is? Check out Phantai – a fantastic startup from a yoga-teaching Mom here in the UK.