Krystal Tini - Co Founder, My Soul Mat

Jennifer and Krystal are two entrepreneurial sisters who ventured into their new company My Soul Mat with much thought, creativity and love for their unique yoga mats! In just 12 short months they designed each mat, found manufacturing, started production and developed their online store.

The sisters aimed to create a yoga mat that is not only high quality, but inspirational as well. They designed them by combining vibrant images and positive affirmations- a mantra to be repeated throughout the day. This concept had yet to be done and with over 40 million yogis in the United States alone, they knew they could elevate the vibrations of so many people and jumped at the opportunity!

Both sisters practice veganism and were excited to develop a mat made from vegan micro-suede with a natural tree rubber bottom layer that can withstand sweat (the more sweat, the better grip), dirt (they are machine washable), and the most rigorous workout (along with yoga) without wearing and tearing.

Presently, Jennifer and Krystal are working on expanding their line and developing additional workout gear with similar designs and affirmations.

How did you get started in this business? What inspired you to start this business?

Yoga has been a huge part of our lives for different reasons.  For many years, we have believed in the power of affirmations and felt creating a mat with words and imagery with which we identify, would be an incredible bonus throughout our class or meditation – we were right! Our mats have become so popular, so fast, that in a few weeks of our launch, we were sending mats all the way to South Korea!

We want to bring more love, realities, dreams, peace, happiness, courage, and free spirit-ness to our own lives, which is what inspired us to do this for others. We finally have something that we so strongly believe in, something that can really change someone’s perspective or thoughts by simply looking down at their mat. There is a reminder waiting there for you, to encourage you to keep going, to remind you who you are. It is powerful!

How long did it take for you to become profitable?

Once we launched our business, we definitely sold a good amount in the opening months. However, that does not mean profit. Since we self-funded this journey, we had lots of bills that needed to be paid, more orders to be made, which meant more money going out. So we would say it took quite a bit of time before we could actually put money in our pockets.  The social media and Google ads, marketing company, fulfillment company, etc. definitely started to pile up at one point! Luckily, the sales started rolling in simultaneously.

When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?

We never doubted the quality of the product or its inspirational value. The hardest issue we faced was finding a manufacturer who could provide both. We wanted our images to be vivid, clear, and engaging. We really believe in the power of affirmations and the impact they can have on our psyche throughout the day. It is another way to take the mental power of yoga with you as you enter back into the everyday stresses of the world. So, we contacted over a dozen yoga mat manufacturers and ordered samples. After sifting through and testing them in class, at the gym, and throwing them in washing machines, we found our high quality, durable mat!

How did you get your first customer?

From the moment we placed our first order, we immediately began posting on our social media platforms.  We wanted to get an early buzz going about our mats by sending out teasers with videos and photos, and also get feedback from potential customers worldwide through the use of hash tags. Social media has been our most important tool in growing our business. We reached yogis world wide before we even launched! So cool!

What is one marketing strategy (other than referrals) that you’re using that works really well to generate new business?

Growing our Instagram and Facebook pages has really helped to further put us on the map in the yoga world. We have been using a really awesome social media growth program that targets this niche audience!  We also love teaming up with other companies for giveaways, which introduces our products to a whole new audience in a short amount of time.

My Soul Mat has also participated in many yoga challenges, reaching yogis all over the world. It’s a great way to gain recognition through yoga influencers that use our mats throughout their challenges and creating cool content for us as well to use on our own platforms.

One of the most important tools through this journey has been an amazing marketing firm, TLK FUSION, based in Los Angeles. Since we are new to this world, they’ve helped us develop ads and strategies to boost sales and notoriety!

What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?

My Soul Mat has 16 different designs. We ordered a certain amount of all of them but wanted to slowly roll out the collections. We consulted other entrepreneurs and business owners and quickly found that once you order inventory, you have to get it out there RIGHT AWAY! So, instead of holding on to some designs as first planned, we had to release them all. This was a tough decision because we had to quickly develop new images for the next line we plan to launch in 2019.

What do you think it is that makes you successful?

We like to believe that the unique nature of our mats is what truly has made this venture a success. My Soul Mats have so much character on their own, they really do speak for themselves.  Once we begin manufacturing our clothing line and journals, the sky really is the limit! We are so proud of what we have created and accomplished, that expanding our business to fitness wear and journaling is a no-brainer for us. Expect vivid colors, affirmations, and jeweled hearts to all be incorporated in our upcoming lines!

What has been your most satisfying moment in business?

The greatest moments for My Soul Mat is the love from our customers.  We are elated to see all of the social media posts from every yogi that steps foot on our mats – they are inspired, elevated, and excited to go to class every day! We constantly receive fan mail from not only customers but potential ones that are motivated just by seeing our designs! Knowing we have created something so meaningful to people is a feeling you cannot put into words. When we designed these mats, received our samples, and tested them out, we knew others would fall in love just as we did. So hearing feedback from people in all corners of the world has been our most satisfying moments thus far!

What does the future hold for your business? What are you most excited about?

We are more than excited to expand our business to fitness wear and yogi journals.  There are so many decisions to be made in crafting this next venture, but we will absolutely be using environmentally friendly fabrics and some type of really cool recycled paper for our journals. The possibilities are endless for both lines, but all will feature positive affirmations and vivid images, for which we are known and which is the biggest part of our success!

What business books have inspired you?

Jennifer: One book that has really stayed with me is called Inspiration by Dr. Wayne Dyer. While this is not necessarily a business book, its principles have remained instilled in my brain and spirit. Something Dr. Dyer talks about repeatedly is a burning desire. We all have a burning desire within us that steers us toward our true nature- some choose to ignore it, while some choose to embrace it, feed it. I have a desire to create and design and to inspire. The belief in changing your thoughts can change your life (another one of his themes), is part of why affirmations grace our mats. I am defintiely guilty of allowing my thoughts to run away with me (aren’t we all?), even in yoga class. However, when I see the words below I am pulled back into the sacred space of my practice mentally and physically. I am beyond grateful for Dr. Dyer’s powerful words.

Krystal: For me, I wouldn’t say books, but articles I researched on starting a business. For example, these articles included subjects as: how to grow your business in 12 months; how long does it take to make profit from a start up company; etc. Google has helped greatly by finding blogs that gave me some awesome tips and information to help grow our business from the ground up!

What is a recent purchase you have made that’s helped with your business?

For us, advertising on large yoga-themed social media accounts drives a ton of traffic to our website and creates sales conversions in a short amount of time. The pricing fluctuates anywhere from $60 to a few thousand per post, depending on the client. It has been well worth it for us to advertise that way by targeting 100,000 people or more with just one image. Social media is our number one marketing tool and investing our money on those platforms has been great for My Soul Mat.

What is the difference between My Soul Mat and other leading brands of yoga mats?

My Soul Mat has the most grip you will find in a yoga mat because of its vegan micro-suede top layer, protecting your bones and joints as you practice. Other leading yoga mat brands use rubber or other synthetic materials that are slippery when wet, forcing the consumer to make an additional purchase for a towel. However, there is nothing to hold the towel in place so there is still a chance of sliding in the middle of class posing a threat to your physical well-being! Not cool!

My Soul Mats are produced without any harsh chemicals or dyes (we use water based colors), and are odor free, unlike other mats that have a strong chemical smell. If My Soul Mat gets dirty simply toss it in the washer and hang to dry! When others get dirty and are used often the can develop an odor from sweat. We also use materials that are not only a friend to you, but to the environment as well! Namaste.

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