03 Aug AN INTERVIEW WITH: KAT PITHER, FOUNDER OF YOGI BARE
Turning your passion into a career can be challenging but extremely rewarding and for some, a dream come true. We were lucky enough to catch up with Kat Pither, founder of sustainble yoga product company Yogi Bare to discuss the joys and perils of starting a passion-based business…
Tell us a bit about how Yogi Bare began?
Yogi Bare is the physical manifestation of the concept of yoga being for everybody and every body. I wanted to develop a range of eco-sensitive products that are accessible and bring some fun and personality to a world that can sometimes seem super expensive and alien or difficult to access. The name isn’t just a fun play on words but the Bare is symbolic of the eco credentials and a sense of stripping back. Yogi Bare began with a tiny range of 4 very basic pieces, a little rough around the edges, the sale of each batch financed the creation of a new product to add to the collection and little by little it grew. Perhaps if I’d envisioned a range too big it would have felt out of reach in the beginning, so I started without expectation or fear, just so in love with each stage of the journey.
What drove you to build a sustainable business?
How can we not? It’s kind of crazy that we developed single-use material that lives forever and will never break down. This planet is our home, it nourishes us, feeds us, gives us a place to live and we only get one shot at getting this right. Truthfully we can’t afford to be selfish any more. A few moments of being more mindful, as tricky as it is sometimes, will eventually have a huge impact as we realise how abnormal the plastic use is. I’m so stoked that leading wellness businesses are paving the way for a new attitude and way of thinking. The Adidas X Parley collab is one of those ways, crafting trainers from recycled bottles. However, when you are a small business just starting out and struggling to afford to work out how to pay for your food shop, it’s hard to be fully sustainable as the solutions are often more expensive, which feels wrong. This will change as reaching for sustainability becomes the new norm. Just do what you can, step by step and keep it in your heart always.
What inspires you most about the work you do?
People. Yoga simply means “to unite”, it is all about connection; with our bodies, with our minds, with one another and with the wider world. My reasons to teach yoga are defined by my personal struggles with anxiety, addiction and a crippling sense of not belonging. One of my favourite phrases is: we are all just walking one another home. That’s what being a yoga instructor is, you are sharing your passion with others. It’s when you see faces flicker with unguarded emotion that you see how yoga is melting something away for them. Yoga is all about taking what you need – some days you need rest and restoration and some days you need to lose yourself in an empowering flow. If you can contribute quietly to someone’s development to self-compassion and understanding, that is everything.
You have followed your passion for the work which is amazing. What advice would you give to other people looking to do the same?
Simply wanting to be your own boss isn’t enough … trust me, it’s not all about ditching heels for trainers & leisurely breakfasts (sometimes). You’ll cut your teeth, hurt your heart, be your legal, finance, creative, dogsbody, customer service and PR department in one. You’ll google everything. Your day will shuttle you between the highest highs, the lowest of the lows, between Elle Woods, Erin Brockivich and Victoria Beckham. The barista will stop batting an eyelid at your 4thcoffee order. You’ll never work harder. You’ll doubt and curse, you’ll discover your fire and determination. And yet, despite it all, you’ll never have felt more alive, a passion and belief in your veins like nothing else. There has to be a real reason for what you are doing. That passion carries you through it all. That passion is the reason.
What is your favourite thing about Ibiza?
I love the attitude of everyone I’ve ever encountered in Ibiza. I really feel the people make the place and that “home” is a feeling not a postcode. People in Ibiza are so welcoming and real. There’s a really laid back attitude that allows you to be who you really are away from the “what do you do for a living?” kind of vibe you get in a lot of big cities.
There is a huge movement for health and wellness. Where do you see this going in the next few years?
A phrase that I recently heard and I adore is “nourish not punish”. I’m so proud to be part of a generation which truly cares about their health and creating nurturing and safe communities to educate and empower each other. I feel like we are moving away from the vicious and damaging mindset of starvation yo yo diets on extreme workout plans and taking a more loving, balanced view. We are starting to see wellness beyond the physical and aesthetic and as an extension of who we are, how we socialise and how we take better care of our mental health. Holistic and wellness practices are being adopted into mainstream medicine; I have many friends who are doctors who see yoga teacher training as the perfect compliment to their medical training which is incredibly exciting. I feel like we are shedding so much stigma right now when it comes to mental health and embracing traditional or holistic practices. When our eyes are open to embracing everything we don’t miss any of the inexplicable magic of this world.
Yogi Bare kindly provide the mats for the weekly Mediate and Move sessions at theHUB. Ibiza. The stylish, functional mats are etched with geometric patterns and made from natural rubber, eco-friendly polyurethane & love. For each mat sold, one tree is planted, helping to build forests through commerce. For further product information, please visit www.yogi-bare.co.uk.