My husband Jordan and I had the dream and desire to create something together that enabled us to have more freedom. Yoga has been part of my life since I was a teenager when I attended my first yoga class in Vienna. I’ve always had a keen interest in holistic health and meditation too. Myga was born when we combined my passion with Jordan’s entrepreneurial mindset, product development and years of import and sales experience.
Tell me about the business – what it is, what it aims to achieve, who you work with, how you reach customers and so on?
Myga is an eco-conscious product wellness brand with yoga as its core business. We sell our products online via our website www.myga-yoga.com and on many different retail and wholesale platforms such as Amazon, Etsy, Ankorstore and Faire. Our customers are little to big shop owners, gift shops, yoga studios, yoga teachers and wellness coaches. However, we also work with big retailers such as Urban Outfitters, TKmaxx UK, Europe & Australia, Superdrug, Asda, Decathlon, Mr.Price, Freemans and Robert Dyas to name a few. You will also find Myga products in wellness centres and spas such as Champneys and Everyone Active leisure centres.
We also have a yoga boutique in the centre of Birmingham, just outside the Bullring shopping centre, which gives our customers the chance to check out our whole range of products in real life while enjoying a hot, cow-free superfood drink or smoothie in our decorative vegan café.
Our wellness range includes a huge selection of yoga mats, meditation and yoga accessories, fitness items such as kettlebells and dumbbells, as well as yoga clothes and cork items such as massage balls. Our lifestyle range features Himalayan salt lamps, chakra stones, and jewellery such as malas and crystal necklaces. In our meditation range you can find incense sticks and burners, meditation pillows, blankets, candles and singing bowls. We also sell beautiful spiritual inspired gifts such as buddha keyrings, ganeshas, buddha statues and macrame wall-hangings. Our latest addition is a cuddly moo-ditating yoga cow, Miss Molly, who introduces yoga and mindfulness to children. We also just launched a new children’s games range including, yoga dominos, yoga memory, yoga tumbling tower and not to forget cute children’s yoga mats which are one of our top sellers.
Additionally, to the online world we are also exhibiting in different trade shows throughout the year in the UK and Europe which helps us to meet new consumers, distributors, manufacturers, and suppliers. This gives us the opportunity to learn about our competition and stay on top of the latest developments in our industry. Not only that, but it gives us the chance to raise brand awareness and cultivate business relationships as well.
How has the business evolved since its launch? When was this?
Myga was founded in 2017 after we found a gap in the market for colourful, quality, and affordable yoga gear with plastic-free packaging. We initially launched Myga as an online shop and supplied to other retailers, such as ASOS, Next and many others with an outstanding range of yoga mats and several start-up yoga accessories. The colourful ‘Jordia’ – later renamed – collection includes six unique designs, each telling a story behind the pattern.
By the end of 2018, Myga had its first two pop-up shops. One was in Touchwood Solihull, and another in the Bullring, Birmingham.
In 2019, we introduced a well-received children’s yoga range which included several children’s mats, in line with the company’s branding and development. In the summer of the same year, we announced an amazing partnership with the only Breast Cancer Awareness charity for young people in the UK, CoppaFeel! Myga developed a range of six gorgeous mat designs that featured boobs and handy guides on how to check your breasts. In the autumn of 2019, we opened the doors to our first retail store – right in the heart of Birmingham city centre. Myga quickly became well-known as a family business with a vegan café, yoga studio and boutique all in one place.
In January 2020, we launched our first clothing range for women, just before having to close our shop and café due to the pandemic. In September 2020, we opened a brand-new crystal store – Elements by Myga, expanding on our existing shop.
We launched our first jewellery range, meditation items and fitness equipment in 2021. During this year we also partnered with Prem Illam, a charitable Trust which looks after the physically and mentally challenged and less fortunate children irrespective of caste and religion in the South of India.
Last year we moved Elements – our crystal shop – next door to our main shop. As a family-run and family-owned business, Myga is on a mission to inspire others to take a holistic approach towards an individual and collective wellbeing through creative practices and eco-conscious products – and it’s not planning to slow down anytime soon!
Tell us about the working culture at Myga
We trust our employees to have ownership over their work and we value respect, communication, growth mindset and teamwork. A balanced work-life is important and affects the performance and therefore, we support individual requirements such as finishing work earlier to pick up the children from school or starting later in the morning.
Remote work in some positions at Myga is possible, for example, our head of art lives in London and our graphic designer just moved to Australia. In general, we do encourage working in the office as we think that ideas can be shared and developed more easily as a team and the communication is much easier.
Last year we built a new showroom including a gym which can be used by all our employees. We have table tennis, a football table and boxing ring. On Fridays after work the team enjoy a drink after work. I would say that the office is a vibrant and energetic space where lots of chats are happening over a coffee.
What has been your biggest challenge so far and how have you overcome this?
One of the most challenging periods for us, like many, was during the Covid-19 pandemic. As we had to close our café and shop in Birmingham, we were unsure whether we could carry on because of employee-related challenges, as well as a reduction in sales. To see so many businesses and shops close their doors for good was an extremely worrying and stressful time.
It can be very scary in times of uncertainty; however, new doors can open. Covid was a massive reminder that nothing stays the same, so it’s important to continually adapt and evolve as the business grows. Without the pandemic, our move to Austria a year and a half ago wouldn’t have happened. Our lives have changed so much, and we now manage our business in Austria and the UK. Impermanence is the foundation of Buddhist teaching and practice. Buddhism has taught me that in every crisis, there is an opportunity.
How does Myga answer an unmet need?
We always offer solutions and are open to change things in the business. Having a shop gives us the opportunity to talk to our customers directly. Our customer support responds quickly to any enquiries, and we are constantly working on improvements according to customer needs. Social media helps a lot as consumers are not shy about telling the world what they want, need, like and dislike. The key is listening, understanding, and developing solutions.
What’s in store for the future?
One of our main focuses at the moment and in the next couple of years is our children’s wellness range with Miss Molly, the moo-ditating cow as the ‘lead figure’ and inspiration. Being the only yoga brand with children’s yoga products in the UK market and one of a few in the world, we feel that there is lots of work to do regarding children’s physical and mental well-being. We are very excited to contribute with our product expertise to this movement.
What one piece of advice would you give other founders or future founders?
Apart from having a business plan, I’d say be humble, accept feedback and long working hours at the beginning, surround yourself with the right people, network, listen and talk to people who have done it before, and worry about cash on-hand all the time!
And finally, a more personal question! What’s your daily routine and the rules you’re living by at the moment?
During the week I get up before 6am, do some housework, make breakfast for the kids, and once the children have left the house, which is around 7am, I take our dog Elvis for a long walk. We live in a beautiful village surrounded by mountains and lots of forest behind our house. Being in nature and getting my body moving first thing in the morning sets me up for the day.
When back at home I feed Elvis, open my laptop, and start working while I have my first morning coffee with oat milk. I have breakfast when I feel hungry which is mostly around 11am. At some point during the day I go to the gym. I do this probably 3-4 times a week, and I tend to do yoga and meditation in the evening – it really depends on my work schedule and the kids. Working for yourself comes with lots of hardship but also has its advantages, one of them being time management. So, let’s say it snowed overnight, I would skip all my routine, move meetings around and go snowboarding. All we have is now, that would describe the rule I try to live by.
Claudia Price is cofounder of Myga.