It isn’t stretching the imagination to say that the last thing that one would think a basketball player would be interested in, would be yoga. In fact, many people probably wouldn’t associate any professional male athletes with yoga. And yet for Jason Deutchman it was something that he relied on throughout his years as a professional basketball player.
Movement is mandatory.
We do it every day, even if some of us don’t move quite as well as we should wish to. Studies have shown that those who practice yoga regularly are better equipped to manage stress, anxiety, and are less likely to experience depression and other ailments. Research has also shown that yoga improves sleeping patterns, which is something that many athletes with old injuries have trouble with.
After suffering from a multitude of injuries, including a collapsed lung, Deutchman decided it was time to focus on healing his body — and while he was at it he came across the idea for building a business around something he enjoyed, yoga.
Finding Healing (and Igniting an Idea)
Noticing that there was a serious shortage of yoga mats that catered to people like him, Deutchman saw the opportunity for filling a niche in the market that hadn’t yet been realized. Guys didn’t want to walk around carrying flowery exercise gear, let alone flimsy and flowery gear. Thus it was that the idea for Yoga Strong came into being and one night over dinner, it became a plan.
High-quality yoga accessories that had aesthetically pleasing patterns and colors was something that didn’t yet exist, therefore the way was clear for fashionable, long-lasting products to hit the market.
Deutchman set to work immediately to acquire a local LA designer to share her input on fashion trends and color schemes. He also took a close look into what was needed to make the yoga mats not only aesthetically pleasing to the eye but also beneficial to the body during workout.
Using his background as an athlete to his advantage, he worked out exactly what was needed to make Yoga Strong mats precisely what everyone needs. The mats needed to have a high thickness, yet not so thick that one would sink into them, causing an imbalance — this would cater to sensitive feet and knees.
In addition to this the mats also needed to have a non-slip surface with a rubber base and suede top layer to keep the sweat from sinking into the base layer. Last, but not least, the rubber base needed to be eco friendly for sustainability.
Putting the Plan Into Action
Once all the planning was done, it was time to put it all into action and get down to the nitty gritty of sourcing materials and making prototypes. Being located in Los Angeles was a decided plus since there wasn’t a shortage of fashion designers who had the experience to combine and create the right patterns and colors.
After receiving the first samples, Deutchman experienced what so many new founders do …
The first samples were awful.
However, a successful business venture comes from learning from the mistakes, rolling with the punches and never giving up. So after the disappointment of the first samples, adjustments were duly made and it wasn’t too long before the first Yoga Strong mats were ready for launch.
The whole process took around nine months from the beginning of the request for samples until the final samples were approved. The quality control was finally up to standard and the color and dimensions were at last what was expected. Upon introducing Yoga Strong mats to his athletic community, Deutchman received some encouraging feedback.
Building the Brand
As many company founders may have discovered along their journey, going fast too soon is not the best approach. Building a brand does take some time and it’s best to do it one step at a time instead of trying to do it all in leaps and bounds, which Deutchman found out the hard way.
Due to the fact that Yoga Strong is entirely self-funded, he wanted to see a return on his investments from the get-go, which is why he dove headlong into pricey influencers and Facebook ads.
Unfortunately this didn’t have the effect he was hoping for and after a few months it was decided that it would be better to put a halt to everything and start over from the beginning — this time, doing it right. Now, before doing anything, he first took some time to learn how to run an E-Commerce business, what was needed to be successful and the steps to take.
It was at this point that he realized it wasn’t going to be as easy as he first imagined, but this didn’t stop him. Building the brand takes more than just application to business principles and having a great website. It takes patience, consistency and, above all, persistence.
Success Is Earned
Yoga Strong has succeeded in blending strength training and yoga into one and making products available to the public that cater to every single individual, no matter who they are. By using YouTube as a medium as well as affiliate partnerships, they have grown their brand and earned the success which they have achieved.
It has taken a lot of hard work and grit to get to this point, but by learning from the earlier mistakes and taking things slow, Deutchman has built his company from the ground up into a whopping $120K turnover per year.
New start-ups need to be aware from the beginning that what works for one business may not work for another, it will always involve an intense learning curve no matter what you’re selling.
After taking all this into account, trusting the process and staying the course, it can be assured that Yoga Strong will continue to grow from strength to strength. After all, yoga is something that can benefit everyone as we all need to move more on a daily basis.