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BEYOND YOGA is an iconic women's clothing line, created by Jodi Guber – focusing on creating chic, figure flattering and mindful active wear, celebrating femininity in all its different forms. Like many young women, Jodi grew upstruggling with body image. To heighten matters, she grew up in Hollywood, one of the most image conscious cities in the World.
After years as a fashion publicist, Jodi exchanged her career to become a yoga teacher. While teaching, Jodi saw a void in the market place for fashionable, figure flattering yoga apparel. Combining her major passions of fashion, yoga, and women’s self-esteem, Jodi created BEYOND YOGA for women of all shapes and sizes.
Yogi Times: What has been the most challenging aspect of your personal journey, and how has that placed you on your current path?
Jodi Guber: The most challenging part of my journey was my own struggle with weight and body image. Growing up it was painful, but today it has given me compassion, patience and understanding. My struggle is the reason for Beyond Yoga.
We live in a world consumed with image and body size. I grew up in Hollywood where the focus on appearance was never ending. Trying to grow up confident around people obsessed with looks was challenging, especially when it was the struggle God blessed me with. Today that struggle has made me who I am – compassionate and determined to help others feel blessed with the body they have – regardless of size or shape. The drive behind Beyond Yoga is to encourage people of all shapes and sizes to be body proud! We are designing campaigns around it and my personal goal on a daily basis is to get people to love themselves right as they are today!! Even if it is 1 person at a time you have to start somewhere!!
YT: How did your yoga practice impact the creation of BEYOND YOGA?
Jodi Guber: I don't think I would have ever developed a clothing line had yoga not become such a big part of my life. As a practitioner and teacher, yoga introduced me to so many possibilities – BEYOND YOGA being one of them.
YT: What was the inspiration behind the name BEYOND YOGA?
Jodi: Several years before I started Beyond Yoga, I had a PR company called Beyond PR so the idea was already in my head. I like the idea that the clothing line is for more than just yoga, hence BEYOND YOGA. There is more to yoga than just the physical activity. I think about yoga beyond the asana practice. I want BEYOND YOGA to fit into the yoga lifestyle including breath, meditation, travel and joy. It’s important that our customers know what the energy and creation behind BEYOND YOGA stands for and holds in its existence. The other limbs of yoga are a big part of what I am attracted to in yoga and it holds equal importance to me and guides me in my daily running of the business. I really try to treat my employees well and consider what yoga has taught me about acceptance and peace as a business owner.
YT: What sets BEYOND YOGA apart from its competition?
Jodi Guber: It is a company inspired by a woman, run by two women, and considers so much more than just the financial success of the company. It is of utmost importance to me that the line truly fit and flatters many body types. (While I am a size 12 – it is just as important the garments fit me, as well as my partner Michelle, who is a size 0). While active wear tends to be fitted and body hugging – it is important that all shapes and sizes look and feel good in our collections. The collections are designed for today’s modern active woman – considering how busy she may be – offering clothing that takes her from carpool, to the gym and then off to do errands or lunch with friends, while still feeling fashionable and properly dressed. Our styles are simple, chic, and very transitional. Where many athletic lines seem geared to women who would read SHAPE and SELF (and ours does too), we also very much cater to those more sophisticated fashionistas who read ELLE and VOGUE.
YT: Competitor Lululemon once recalled one yoga pant because it was
see-through, costing the company an estimated $67 million in sales. How does
BEYOND YOGA ensure quality and customer confidence?
Jodi Guber: I am not really sure how that happened. We are always looking at our pants in every position. We have always considered the see-through factor because as a teacher, you get up close and personal and that is something that I have always considered. Quality is of great importance to us – we have checks and balances in place to catch things like that. When we do find a flaw, we are quick to fix it. We like to keep our customers happy and coming back!
YT: What continually inspires the fashion and function at BEYOND YOGA?
Jodi Guber: We are inspired from many different places, architecture, design, the runway, and travel – but, no matter how much we like something it must be functional!
YT: BEYOND YOGA is one of few companies still 100% manufactured in the USA. How are you able to balance this increased cost of manufacturing and still
Jodi Guber: We try to do our best. A few of our items tend to be higher and we take a lower margin, so we can continue to give our customers what they want. Again, the bottom line is important, but not at the expense of what our customers want – so sometimes we take a less likely approach, but in the end I think it pays off.
Yogi Times: Each season BEYOND YOGA launches an eco-friendly line where the fabrics are either locally or domestically grown. What other initiatives are you taking to make positive impacts in the environment?
Jodi Guber: We use low impact eco-friendly dye processes whenever possible. We change our collection frequently to keep up with our customers changing needs. In the past we have used organic fleeces, organic cottons, and recycled polyester. Currently we are using eco- friendly tencel ribs and bamboo fleeces.
Additionally, we are always trying to lower our carbon footprint by recycling our paper, using recycled papers for printing, and buying bus passes for our employees that have opted to take the bus. One time we even bought a bicycle for an employee. We do what we can, where we can!! It’s very important to us!
YT: Are you the main designer, or do you work with a designing team?
Jodi Guber: Design is definitely one of my biggest areas of focus, which I am very heavy-handed in, but we do have a great designer on staff. Design is always a group effort. We like to hear what our team thinks and consider everyone’s point of view. Once in a while, I stand my ground and insist on something, but that is rare!!
YT: Seva, the act of giving back, is an important part of yoga. How does
BEYOND YOGA give back to its community?
Jodi Guber: We believe there is always acause worth fighting for and we take great pride in our philanthropic endeavors. As a team, it's not only important to design clothing for every woman, but to reach beyond the usual shopping experience by pledging our time and offering professional resources to those in need. As a company we have participated in numerous charitable events including: The Nancy Davis Foundation to Erase MS, Joyful Heart Foundation's LA Wellness Kit for women in domestic violence shelters, and planting trees on Earth Day.
Goodwill for BEYOND YOGA reaches farbeyond our charitable partnerships. Our social responsibility begins with our day-to-day commitment to improve our environment through the use of eco-friendly fabrics and ongoing initiatives to reduce our carbon footprint. We are also making a strong commitment to our local business community by making all of our products in Los Angeles, California. We believe in making everything possible in the USA – keeping our country strong, and having the peace of mind that anyone working on our garments works in a humane work environment that we can visit at a moment’s notice.
Our team is always looking for ways to engage our community. Daily, our employees are invited to go on a 30 minute walk in the Culver City parks surrounding the office. We are starting to invite community members to get moving at lunch and join in on our walks!
YT: How does BEYOND YOGA incorporate Yoga into its workplace and culture?
Jodi Guber: We incorporate the principles of yoga into our culture and products. We believe in treating every customer and business partner with respect. As recognized by the many types of Yoga, all humans have different strengths and weaknesses. Our garments are made with every woman in mind and offer maximum movement and comfort, allowing our customers to play to those strengths.
Our employees go on weekly office outings to a partner Yoga studio, and soon we are planning to offer yoga classes – by our featured teachers – at our offices! We believe it will promote a deeper understanding of why we work so hard to make BEYOND YOGA a success. What better way to find relief than an in-house yoga class down the hallway!
YT: BEYOND YOGA is primarily carried in Resorts, Gym's, and Yoga, Pilates
and Barre Studio's. Are you positioning the company to launch branded stores?
Jodi Guber: Due to the versatility and beauty of the line, it is carried in department stores, small boutiques and everything else in between. A freestanding BEYOND YOGA store is constantly on our minds. I believe it is a matter of when, not if.
YT: What does the future hold for BEYOND YOGA?
Jodi Guber: A lot!! I guess you will have to stay connected to find out. In the immediate future we have Beyond The Bump – a maternity line. It’s great for those who don't even practice yoga, being SUPER cozy and comfortable. And keep a look out for an upcoming capsule men's collection.
YT: Who has been your guiding light on and off the mat?
Jodi Guber: Seane Corn is a big inspiration to me. I feel lucky to call her a friend and not just a teacher. As a yoga teacher, she was a huge inspiration and off the mat her commitment to charitable endeavors is beyond inspiring. My mom, Tara Guber, is also a big inspiration – she has always been a trendsetter and ahead of the curve. Her sense of style is impeccable. I always turn to her for advice and her opinion. On a more spiritual note and not to sound corny – I have always felt guided and protected by angels.