My introduction into yoga happened about ten years ago in Boston. I was convinced by a friend to try this new studio that had opened up. It was a Bikram class (that’s the sweaty one), and it was terrible. Well, I was terrible, but the class wasn’t much better. The instructor yelled a lot (not what you would expect from a yoga class), I couldn’t do any of the moves, and I lost at least a gallon of water weight. Thus ended my late 90’s yoga exploration. I decided to try again a few years ago and was fortunate to find a great spot nearby – quite the opposite of my first encounter. The studio, named <a href=”http://www.yogawood.com/” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Yogawood (it’s in the town of Collingswood and is, well, a yoga studio) is much more approachable, totally community-driven, and, to date, no one has yelled at me. This being said, I did my fair share of fumbling when I first started – and really still do. Yoga seems to be one of those disciplines that has a really high barrier to entry, and you have to constantly remind yourself that it’s alright to be a total spaz. Upon deciding to stick with it a bit, I was presented with an entirely new issue: yoga stuff. Being that you spend a decent amount of time either rolled up, upside down, or flying your extremities around, it’s actually rather helpful to have clothing that doesn’t get caught around your neck or stuck on your big feet. Enter Lululemon.
Lululemon fits the mold of a successful company. They make a great product that fills a niche (yoga-specific apparel and gear), their staff is friendly and knowledgeable, and the store has a great external personality and image (they do a ton of community / charity work). All great things, but not necessarily Onethingable. About a year ago I remember hearing that the company also offers free yoga classes in their stores, but it wasn’t until a recent trip to their Walnut Street location that I realized that this offering is much more than a clever marketing angle. After inquiring about these free classes, I learned that everything in the store – every rack, display, and shelf – is built on wheels. At the end of the day, they simply roll everything to the side of the room, leaving behind an open, hardwood-floor yoga studio.
There is definitely an approachability theme in the world of Onethings. We’ve seen it with both Premium Steap and Moore Brothers, but we really get fired up when places find unique ways to 1) introduce that thing they love to the masses and 2) do so in a way that makes sense for their own business. With Tria’s Fermentation School, we saw a very similar model (wine classes aren’t technically what Tria “does,” but they’re the perfect complement to their cafe). Similarly, Lululemon understands the importance of spreading what they’re all about. They’re not a yoga studio; they make things for people who go to yoga studios, but by offering classes in their own space, the company is able to show their commitment to all things yoga while also building a Down Dog army of Lululemon loyalists. By designing their store around moveable displays, they’ve convinced me that this is much more than a marketing gimmick; it’s actually borne out of a desire to take something that they think is awesome and share it with others. And it’s free.