QUESTION: WHAT DO YOGA STUDIOS LEARN THROUGH TRIAL AND ERROR ABOUT SELLING YOGA MATS?

My name is Rob. I am the owner of Tomuno, an eco-friendly, community-focused business located in Boston, MA. I have literally spoken with every single yoga studio with three or more classes per day from the top of Maine to the bottom of North Carolina and as far west as Ohio (excluding NYC and Philadelphia).

Breaking even as a yoga studio owner is tough. Yoga mats are typically the #2 revenue source for a studio. The following is a summary of what yoga studio owners have said they have learned about selling yoga mats over time…

Typically a new yoga studio owner will be scared to spend too much money testing yoga mat sales and they will start out by trying to sell the cheapest mat possible. This is a very normal instinct which every cash-strapped small business owner would understand…

However, this strategy unfortunately usually does not work. Students want to support their teachers by buying mats. But they must be met halfway…

Plastic mats do not tend to sell well for a few reasons…

a) The Smart-phone Effect: The issue to understand is that in this day and age every yogi in your studio has a smart-phone. If they see a PVC or TPE mat in your studio they just Google it online and see that Target offers the same for a 30-50% discount.

b) Eco-Friendly Yogis: Yogis tend to be eco-friendly and try to avoid plastic mats.

c) Students Rely On Their Teachers to Know What Are The Best Yoga Mats: Yoga students rely on their teachers to know about yoga mats the way tennis students rely on their pros to know about rackets. They want you to stock and recommend quality mats. Many plastic mats are not the best yoga mats; they tend to slip, curl, bunch up or wear down quickly.

How would you feel if your tennis pro recommended and sold you a substandard tennis racket?

Quality mats on the other hand tend to face less price competition from Walmart type retailers…

For a variety of reasons related to economies of scale, Target/Walmart type retailers are able to purchase PVC and TPE mats at huge discounts but have more difficulty sourcing quality mats at similar discounts. In addition quality yoga mat makers tend to steer clear of big box retailers.

The chart below shows one product offering array for a major national retailer. Why not compare the price you can offer PVC mats to the price this big box retailers offers the same mat?

National Retail Chain Yoga Mat Price / Quality Matrix

National Retail Chain Yoga Mat Price / Quality Matrix

Download this chart here: National Retail Chain Yoga Mat Price / Quality Matrix

CONCLUSION
While it is scary to make the initial investment in stocking higher quality yoga mats it does generally make more sense.

As a yoga studio owner it is important to look at it from the perspective of one of your students…

Would you as a student want to purchase a lower quality PVC mat from your studio when you could get the same mat at Target for 30% less? The service your student is seeking from you as a studio owner is guidance about which yoga mats are actually the best and highest quality. And they want you to provide these mats at a competitive price.

Knowledge about quality yoga mats is the advantage you have over Target.

I’d love to hear your thoughts?

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