Yoga mats are the latest fashion accessory to hit the circuit. Reese Witherspoon, Jessica Biel and Jennifer Anison to name a few are often papped hiking around the streets of Los Angeles with their mats on show.
While I’m still in Rishikesh in Northern India training for my 500 hour Yoga Teaching Certification, it seemed appropriate to check out the latest mats and products on the market. A recognisable brand among the yogis and practitioners of the yoga world that’s constantly keeping up with fashion trends and the latest eco-technology is California based brand Manduka.
Manduka are on the highest level of quality when it comes to yoga products and they continue to remain unmatched in the marketplace. The products are crafted using simple, enduring and natural materials and a fine attention to detail is paid to everything produced by the brand.
Founded in 1997 by architect turned yogi Peter Sterios, Manduka was built on the simple idea that a better yoga mat can make a world of a difference in your daily practice. The brand strives to support and enrich the yoga community around the globe by providing them with the best quality mats and products.
Today, Manduka products which include the legendary PRO range and innovative accessories are sold in more than 65 countries around the world. They are committed to eco-responsibility and are extremely mindful of every decision made in the manufacturing process. The brand supports fair labor practices and toxic-free emission facilities and wherever possible, they use natural, recyclable, sustainable and biodegradable materials.
The PRO series mats are designed to last a lifetime and the only yoga mat that I’ve ever come across that comes with a lifetime guarantee, who doesn’t want that? Although I’ve never heard of anyone even needing a replacement when it comes to the Manduka PRO.
The philanthropic brand also recognises a different organisation or individual every month for sharing the gift of yoga with those in need by donating yoga gear to support their cause. Recently they were honoured to support The Wounded Warriors Project and Connected Warriors groups through a Yoga Fundraiser event in Escondido California.
CEO of Manduka, Sky Meltzer, was happy and willing to chat with us exclusively about the brand…
Tell me the story behind Manduka & how you differ from the many other yoga brands on the market?
Manduka was founded on the simple idea that a better yoga mat can make a world of difference. In 1997, Peter Sterios, an architect turned yogi, discovered a simple, elegantly-designed black yoga mat with a unique combination of firm grip and complete support that revolutionized his yoga practice. In honor of the yoga masters who inspired him, he sought to share this amazing product with other teachers. And in the great yoga tradition, these teachers shared their mats with their students, and a yoga company was born. Now, Manduka is known in more than 65 countries across the world. We are still evolving, still introducing new products, and still celebrating the spirit and wisdom of the yoga teachers and yoga students who help make us the world’s most inspired yoga accessories company. And we are still the only brand that offers a mat with a lifetime guarantee.
Eco-friendly is a word that attracts customers, tell me about your Eco-friendly mats and products?
We are committed to sustainability, and are mindful of every decision we make in the manufacturing process of our products in an effort to preserve natural resources. We support fair labor practices and manufacture in toxic-free, emission facilities with zero-waste production. Wherever possible, we use natural, recyclable, sustainable and/or biodegradable materials, and constantly search for new green technologies.
Our prop collection was developed using materials including sustainable cork, natural unbleached cotton, and recycled wool fibers. We even use recycled bottles (eight, in fact) for each of our yogitoes skidless towels. And our newest collection, LiveON, the first 100% recyclable and reclaimable collection of yoga gear uses a closed loop process.
Does Manduka ever collaborate and partner up with well-known yoga instructors around the globe? Do you have any exciting collaborations planned for this season?
We have an incredible community of teachers from all areas of the world who make up our ambassador program. These instructors are our heart and soul, our eyes and ears and storytellers for our brand. We support them during events, workshops, retreats, social programs, teacher trainings – however and whatever we can do. Many of these teachers are featured in our ads, on our website and through our social channels. Tomorrow we are launching a social campaign, #NowStartsNow – a call to action for the yoga community to live in the now, take a chance and make each moment count. We are working with a handful of ambassadors including Talia Sutra, Hadji Jones and Daniel Scott to contribute to our blog and share their own inspiration, while encouraging their fans and followers to do the same.
How do you continue to stay at the top of the brand market after so long in business?
We are very clear on who we are and how we choose to show up in the world. We are yogis and engineers and everything we do is about precise performance, exceptional quality and loving care for our planet. We strive to provide the best customer service whether it’s greeting a customer on the phone or responding to a complaint on social media. We have an emphasis on innovation and bring our products to life through exclusive manufacturing agreements – designing for performance rather than price. And most importantly we listen to our community bringing them the highest quality products to help make their practice the best it can be.
Where do you see Manduka in 5 years?
Inspiring yoga to more and more people all over the world. Continuing to reinvent and innovate the tools for a more joyful yoga practice and push the boundaries for sustainable manufacturing methods for these products.
Thank you Peter & to everyone logging on to read The Fashion Report, namaste!