Thank you Seattle Yoga News for featuring us in your yoga mat buying guide. West Coast Best Coast! 🙂
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?
Download this chart here: National Retail Chain Yoga Mat Price / Quality Matrix
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?
PVC, TPE, Rubber Tree Sap… Which is the best yoga mat for your student?
Yoga students rely on their yoga teachers to know about yoga mats kind of like the way tennis players rely on their teachers to know about tennis rackets.
Yoga mats are made of several different types of raw materials and each has a trade-off. Which is the best yoga mat for your student?
The chart below shows the different ‘major’ types of yoga mats and which problems each solves for an individual yogi based on our own testing.
Download here: Yoga Mat Buying Guide
The best yoga mat for your student depends on what problems your student is trying to solve…
PVC YOGA MATS are great for students who are:
a) Beginners: Is your student new to yoga and not sure if they want to make an investment?
b) Value-Conscious: Is your student looking for a mat that will last a lifetime?
c) Commuters: Does your yogi need a lightweight mat for commuting?
RUBBER TREE SAP YOGA MATS are great for students that are:
a) Committed Yogis: Is your student committed to yoga and now ready to invest in a ‘good’ mat?
b) Eco-friendly: Does your student want to buy an eco-friendly alternative?
TPE YOGA MATS are great for students that are…
I personally do not recommend TPE mats for any student. I tested TPE mats and my main issue with them is (at least in my biased opinion) they do not seem to solve any problems that PVC mats don’t already solve but at the same time they are not very durable compared to PVC mats. And on top of all this they cost more.
In addition to the ‘major’ types there are many ‘minor’ types of yoga mats: polyurethane, jute, memory foam, etc. Some have issues with durability, others with slipperiness.
An obvious question is “Tomuno makes natural rubber mats… why should we trust what they say about other types of mats?” My name is Rob. I am the owner of Tomuno. When we started Tomuno we did not set out to sell rubber yoga mats. We actually did the reverse. We tested every yoga mat raw material available, asked yoga teachers, did our research trying to find the best yoga mat for one particular market which happens to be the biggest market… ‘experienced yogis who do unheated yoga.’ We chose natural rubber to fit this need. But we recognize other raw materials are best for other types of yogis. And we might create yoga mat lines using other raw materials in the future to meet these needs?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this buying guide?
(temporarily) SOLD OUT. My name is Rob. I am the owner of #Tomuno. It is with sincere gratitude to our very important yoga studio retail partners that I regretfully have to report that we are sold out. I apologize to our studio partners for this service disruption. But I am hopeful it might be viewed as a sign that yoga students enjoy their #yoga mats and are telling their friends? Sales exceeded forecast and we are temporarily out of stock.
I am hopeful we will be back in stock by late-March. I apologize again for the service interruption.
Sincerely and with regret,
Check out Tomuno at Amazon today: Amazon.com/Tomuno
Yoga students rely on their teachers to know about yoga mats. As a service to our yoga studio retail partners we just launched a video tutorial series! In this video we explain the difference between the best #hot #yoga mats and unheated yoga mats. We’d love to hear what you think? #yogamat #yogamats
Brought to you by Tomuno. Check out Tomuno at Amazon today: Amazon.com/Tomuno
Someone I know who I care about and respect very much turned me onto Brene Brown. For anyone who has not heard of her I highly recommend they Google her TED Talks.
This may sound quite cheesy but alas I am a cheesy fellow ha ha. Her recommendations on vulnerability have honestly made a big difference in my life. It is quite a scary thing to expose oneself, but it is something that is, in my opinion, vital for meaningful relationships.
But as to how it guides customer service? What in the world does Brene Brown have to do with customer service? Even before I heard about her, my philosophy about interacting with customers has always been:
1) I am lucky that they chose me in the first place and
2) Empathy. I always try to look at things from the customer’s perspective.
It is a bold statement to say that a company tries to live up to what Brene Brown suggests about empathy. And I am not sure we accomplish this every day with every encounter. But I honestly feel we do definitely try.
BRENE BROWN YOUTUBE CARTOON:
When I first saw her TED Talk to be honest it was a bit complicated and I had a little difficulty understanding it all. I am embarrassed to say this cartoon was what actually crystallized it for me ha ha. Why not take a look at the cartoon version of her talk today?
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Brought to you by Tomuno. Check out Tomuno at Amazon today: Amazon.com/Tomuno