Updated: Jun 17, 2018
When Heidi and I launched Form in March 2017, we didn’t know what to expect in terms of response from the yoga and fitness industry. We launched with a simple goal in mind: inspire sustainable change in the industry by demonstrating companies can have a positive impact on the environment without compromising on design or the performance of the products.
It’s been a little over a year since we sold out first mat, at which point we jumped up and down with excitement at the fact that people liked our concept and products enough to spend their hard-earned money on. Reflecting on the last 12 or 13 months, I wanted to jot down a few points on what I’ve learnt on my Form journey.
Sustainability is a message that resonates with everyone
Thinking about the scale of climate change and environmental damage currently underway is often pretty depressing and bleak – it can seem like people just don’t care, an insurmountable problem. Since launching Form, whose core value is one of sustainability, it has made me realise the majority of people really do care. We recently ran a survey and when asked ‘what factors do you consider when buying a mat?’, sustainability came out joint top of the list, along with design and price.
I believe what’s important to help speed up the transition to a more sustainable way of life is to make the sustainable option the obvious option - make it as easy as possible for the consumer to make the right decision. Tesla is a great example of a company doing this: when the product performs better than the competition, looks better than the competition and also happens to be a greener option, why wouldn’t you choose it? I hope that’s what w’ere doing here at Form too.
Yoga is evolving
Some people don’t like the fact that new forms of yoga are appearing, often without some of the historical / spiritual aspects seen in more classical forms of practice.
Personally, I think it is important that people are free to practice yoga and physical exercise their way; if that means this is a new form of yoga or Pilates, then so be it. Although granted, some forms such as beer yoga or goat yoga are pretty ridiculous, I think it’s great that people have the freedom of choice to workout whichever way has the most positive effect for them, whether that's the classical way, or one with a G&T in hand.
People really, really love yoga and fitness
The yoga and fitness industries have exploded in recent years; more people than ever do yoga / go to the gym / do exercise of some description on a regular basis than ever before.
I think people are realising not just the importance of exercise towards a healthy body, but also towards a healthy mind. In our ridiculously busy and noisy lives, fitness and yoga allows us to switch off and de-stress.
In many ways these activities have become ways of life, an integral part of many people’s lifestyle and it’s a trend I don’t see ever really ending.
Yoga and fitness is a global phenomenon
When developing the concept of Form, one of our key messages was ‘make the world your gym’- we want people to workout whenever, however and wherever they want; we encourage people to take their mats to their favourite spots. As a largely eCommerce-based business, we ship globally; however we have been amazed to see all of the different places our mats end up. From our humble HQ in the midlands of England, we’ve shipped to Australia, the US, Finland, India, the Maldives just to name a few. It’s also been great to see people take their mats on their travels – our mats are certainly a lot better traveled than I am!
It’s great to see the phenomenon of growth in both yoga and fitness is not localised but worldwide, helping to contribute to improved physical and mental health on a global scale. As the Dalai Lama said: “If every 8 year old in the world is taught meditation, we will eliminate violence from the world within one generation.”.
People love the concept of a round mat, once they get over the initial ‘that’s weird’ moment
We did our first trade show a few months after launching; at this point our only product was the round mat (we added the rectangular mat later in the year). When the doors opened on the first day, it was the first face-to-face interaction with our customers we'd had. The reception and feedback was overwhelmingly positive but we also got a few comments saying "a round mat, that’s weird" or "why would you want a round mat?"- for many it was the first time they had seen a round yoga mat.
However as people tried the mat, or thought about what working out on a shape without corners means for their practice and the freedom it allows, they usually grew to love it. We’ve had a number of repeat customers coming back and buying additional round mats. Personally, I much prefer using the round ones.
Thank you for your support over the last year - every new person we see on a Form mat means so much to us and helps us towards our our mission of inspiring sustainable change in the fitness industry.