1. Take us back to the beginning, how did Namastetics come to be?
Namastetics was born from a vision to be a brand that focuses on inclusivity and accessibility; two values we felt have been lost in the yoga apparel industry, due to high prices and exclusive locations. My co-founder Shane and I felt that there was a need in the market for high-quality products, at affordable prices. I had been practicing a lot of yoga in Nov 2016, after ending a stressful job, I felt pretty broken. Even walking down the street to get a coffee felt like an unbearable task. I knew I needed to heal my soul, so I decided to try an intro month at a nearby yoga studio, and on the last day, I felt like a completely different person than who I was when I first walked in. Shane and I share the desire to encourage both beginner and seasoned yogis alike, to embark on their yoga journeys with us- without letting costs or comfort stand in the way from finding peace within the stormy days.
2. What sets Namastetics apart from other yoga apparel brands out there?
I think firstly it’s our competitive pricing for high-quality products. The average cost of a pair of leggings with our competitors is over $128 and we didn’t feel that was accessible for the everyday person. Both having Kinesiology backgrounds, we learned that the greatest barrier to someone starting physical activity was the cost- so we wanted to help break down that barrier.
Secondly, I’d say it’s our desire to help make spiritual healing accessible. Our venture for this year is to launch an in-house charity and have a percent from every sale go towards making healing more accessible for people who may have experienced hardships in life and could benefit from practicing yoga, the same way I did. With the help and suggestions of our customers, we plan to donate a % of sales annually to a charity/organization of their choosing.
3. Growing up, did you know you wanted to be an entrepreneur? Did you have a mentor to help guide you through the early process?
HECK NO. It’s funny, because I grew up in an entrepreneurial family, but I was always told to follow traditional professions. My parents' catch-phrase was ‘be a doctor’. Having immigrated to rural Nova Scotia from Lebanon, my parents started their own business not because it was their passion, but because they have a survival instinct; my father's education didn’t transfer and they had children to provide for.
Being the only child of four born and raised in Canada, I saw only part of their journey but worked side-by-side with them since I could reach a cash register (had a little help from a milk crate). My mother is by far the strongest and hardest working woman I know, and everything I do is fueled by the example my parents set for me. I wouldn’t call them my mentors, but definitely my motivators. They are the reason for (almost) everything I do.
4. What has been your proudest moment as a business owner?
This is a tough one. I teeter between nothing ever being enough and ‘damn, how’d we do that?’ We overcame a lawsuit, grew a business to 1 million in revenue in our first year, and have hired 3 full-time employees. There’s a lot to be proud of, but even more to still accomplish.
5. What has been the biggest challenge?
My greatest challenge has been balancing work and life. Since building Namastetics, I’ve worked full-time. Currently, I’m a brand content marketer for CareGuide (a Toronto based startup) where I focus on building the Nanny Lane Brand and bringing nanny share into the share economy. One of the greatest challenges is working all day, then coming home to work a little more, and still manage to get a decent sleep so I can do it all again tomorrow.
The other would be the friendships I’ve had to let go of. I often refer to myself as the ‘shitty friend/girlfriend’ I’ve been known to be at a concert sending design request to my manufacturer, missing birthday dinners because we need to move the business forward and forgetting to answer a text for months (yup, months). Thankfully the friends I’ve kept and my super cool boyfriend are nothing but understanding and supportive of the hustle it takes.
6. What advice do you have for someone wanting to create something of their own, but feel overwhelmed/scared/alone at the thought?
If you’re waiting for the perfect time or perfect idea- it’ll never come. Just pick and idea, research it and start. The internet has a lot of the answers, and the other’s you’ll figure out from just doing.
Use your network. If you can find a mentor that’s great, but a mentor isn’t just someone in title, it’s the person/people that push you forward; supporting and challenging you. I’m also always happy to chat and love a good coffee date :)
Take things one day at a time. It’s okay to cry on hard days, there will be many of them. But it’s not okay to not try.
7. Running a business is like riding a rollercoaster, there are unbelievable highs and sometimes things dip real low. When things get tough, what keeps you going?
This is so true. There are days when I wake-up feeling like I’m slaying at life, and others where I feel like things are just falling apart. No matter what the mood, I make sure I’m prioritizing my health, emotional, physical and spiritual.
Like the start of a yoga class, I set some clear intention when I started Namastetics; to help people find peace. If I have a choice to make, I always ask if it aligns with that goal. That’s what makes missing birthdays and concerts bearable. I need to know I’m working towards something. Like the Nike ad says, ‘Stand for something, even if it means risking everything’.
8. Why are HIH moments important to you?
Having quit a job due to burnout, and becoming the worst version of myself in the process, there’s nothing that lifts my mood like a HIH moment. It’s what allows me to unleash build-up stress and nurture my body, spirit and mind. HIH moments are my self-care moments in a day, and without caring for myself, I wouldn’t have the emotional capacity to care for the people around me.
9. What are your favourite workouts at the moment and why?
Ah- so many. I’m definitely a workout-class kinda girl. Myodetox Performance has been one of the best gyms I’ve been to in Toronto. The classes are challenges, allow me to actually improve my strength and cardio with expert trainers, and has introduced me to an incredible community of badass young professionals. Going to a myo sweat sesh not only pleases my body but my soul and inspires me to push a little further everyday.
My other favourite workout is at Moksha Yoga on Wellington- where my yoga journey first began. It was the hot, sweaty classes by exceptional teachers that made me whole again and keep me sane during those days that mesh into weeks and bleed into months.
10. Top 3 tips for living your best life?
Self-care isn’t selfish
Nice girls don’t get the corner office
Set an intention, and don’t stop until you’ve exceeded it
11. What does Healthy Is Hot mean to you?
There are three types of health; physical, mental and spiritual and we need a balanced triad to be happy. It’s not about being perfect, it’s about being the best you can and being happy with it. HAPPINESS is HOT.