Kat Pither is Founder of Yogi Bare, 500 Hour Certified Yoga Teacher and Wellness Journalist & Writer. From humble beginnings, Kat envisioned a way of channeling her creativity to find her own way of managing acute anxiety and PTSD through yoga and wellbeing. Kat found that ‘yoga land’ could sometimes be alien and hard to connect with so set out to create a brand that could inspire all. Kat has created an accessible range of innovative, eco-centric products, designed to galvanise creativity, movement and play. She has organically built a loyal community of Yogi Bare ‘cubs’ who support and follow the brand.
Can you tell us a little about your background and the company?
I remember being so excited to attend a yoga weekend workshop, I was so nervous as I was attending alone and at the time was relatively new to yoga and didn’t have any friends who were into it. However it was turned upside down when I left the first day feeling like I didn’t belong. I didn’t go back but equally I continued to learn and discover and eventually started to attract my kind of tribe. Years later as a teacher I had a new student emailing me before class and echoing my old worries from that workshop: “I won’t fit in” The rebel in me woke up and I got to work. 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 with accessible price points. I wanted to inject personality to a world that can sometimes seem alien or difficult to access.
How did the idea come to you for the company?
My favourite Nirvana lyric is “Come as you are”. I feel like those few words truly sum up what Yogi Bare means. Through the brand, I want to make you feel something.
How did you achieve awareness?
Social is our little portal to the outside world. Without digital marketing and social media, we would have been voiceless. You can really use it for good – from IG takeovers, hosting classes and discussions on Instagram, creating YouTube meditations, writing honest blog posts and sending emails that make people feel safe and seen. You can find a way to balance honest heart and soul with the more practical pieces of brand messaging.
What are the key successes?
It’s been a dream to work with the likes of Liverpool FC, Sweaty Betty, Oliver Bonas, Anthropologie, David Lloyd and Virgin Active. But as cool as household names are, you don’t ever forget about the people that built your brand – every studio and teacher – you look after them first and foremost. Otherwise, you might as well quit.
What were/are the challenges and how have you overcome these?
I think we normalise the 24/7 nature of being a founder with an online business. But this pace of life is not normal or sustainable. The boundaries kind of went out of the window for everyone in 2020. We relied on technology to WFH (work from home) and as a doorway to connection. So, my advice is: get outside and surround yourself with real things – nature, food, friends, laughter and dogs. Sometimes all you need is to breathe in the fresh air and realise that most of our stresses and problems are associated with a pretend world that lives on our phones, in our inboxes, on television, or in magazines. As soon as you step away from those things and the hold they have on you, you feel free.
It’s been an interesting year navigating the constant changes in shipping, the extreme price flux in freight and limited warehousing staff due to social distancing. But as long as we communicate openly with everyone, then it’s okay. People just like to be informed, and that’s where the digital space and social media has helped massively.
What would you like to share with others to encourage them to start their own entrepreneurship journey?
Ask yourself what you why is. You have to have a why. Simply wanting to be your own boss isn’t enough. 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 your between the highest highs, the lowest of the lows. 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.
Can you share your top tips for entrepreneurial success?
Fear or perfectionism destroys more dreams than financial or logistical barriers ever could.
Yogi Bare began with a tiny range of 4 very basic pieces, a little rough round 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. If you have a dream you don’t need permission from anyone but yourself. Don’t be afraid to just start, don’t be afraid to ask for advice and mentorship. I think its less about sitting back waiting and hoping for everything to be at a certain stage or having all the tools and more jumping in and making your own mischief and magic.
Who are the 5 people who inspire you the most and why?
David Bowie – For his way of seeing the world with no boundaries
Basquiat – For breaking boundaries
Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia, immovable in ethics and values
The Black Mountain College – an experimental interdisciplinary college in the 30s and 40s which reimagined what education could be and prioritising art, curiosity and play as vital components to finding new solutions in all fields. The college spawned some of the greatest designers, theories, poets, composers and artists who changed their respective fields forever.
Every entrepreneur out there with passion and purpose … you are so much stronger and more resilient than you know.
What are your favourite inspirational /motivational quotes?
“In a world older and more complete than ours, animals move finished and complete, gifted with the extension of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings: they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.”
What are your Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn social handles and also website links so our readers can connect with you?
Instagram: @yogi.bare Facebook: @yogibareyoga Personal instagram: @whatsgoodkat Linkedin: Kat Pither