Why Did You Start Studio Layla? | Cork Yoga Mats
I’ve had a lot of questions about why we started Studio Layla. I hope this can help answer some of them for you.
Let's rewind about 10 years to my first ever hot yoga class. I hid in the back and rolled out my pale blue yoga mat. We had a wonderful teacher that guided us through our class with poise and grace. I, on the other hand, was slipping and sliding. As we moved through a challenging sequence, little beads of sweat fell from my forehead, making the shiny blue surface even more slippy. By the end of class, I was miserable. When I got home, I dumped the cheap mat in the back of a closet, never to be used again.
The next mat I bought was bright yellow with a green stripe down the middle. It was thick and spongey because I thought that would be more comfortable. One day in down dog, my hands and feet went from under me. The mat had stretched lengthwise like an elastic band, and I was left with a twinge in my back.
The last yoga mat I bought was my favourite. It was certainly an investment, much more than I could really afford at the time, but it was grippy, and it didn’t stretch. I loved practising yoga on it. But, after a few years travelling, my mat had seen better days. It had accompanied me to India for my teacher training, and I’d dragged it around Vietnam. It had seen more planes and luggage carousels than the average person. By the end of its days, it had buckled in the heat and been scraped by my cat. It was time for an upgrade. My only real problem with this mat was that it was ugly. Plain grey.
So I went looking for another yoga mat, but I couldn’t find anything to suit me. Sure there were other mats with pretty designs, but had much thought gone into the materials for the mat itself? Was I going to drop €100 on a mat only to find myself slipping at the first sign of sweat? Living in Asia, I also found it difficult to order my favourite brands from Europe or the US.
So I turned to my then-boyfriend, now husband. Chris is a tattoo artist and graphic designer, so I knew I could work with him to design the perfect yoga mat. I sourced non-slip and eco-friendly materials while Chris came up with a collection of beautiful designs. The result was our first collection of cork yoga mats. I had an inkling we could sell them. Surely if this was something I was looking for, then others were too. When the first yoga mat arrived, it completely exceeded my expectations, and I knew I was right.
After a year and a half in production and testing, we launched Studio Layla in the middle of the pandemic. It has been a crazy journey for sure, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Thanks so much for reading our story. You can purchase our original collection of cork yoga mats here.