One of the best things about starting up on your own for many entrepreneurs is the chance to make your passion your living. Jake Wood is a yoga fan who realised there was a gap in the market for high-quality yoga wear for men - and decided to do something about it, founding yoga brand so we flow.... Let's find out more!
Explain your business in thirty seconds or less
Men do yoga. We do thoroughly tested, functional yoga wear with men’s (and the world’s) best interests at heart. It’s that simple.
Where are you based and why is it a good location for your business?
so we flow… is based in my place of birth, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire. I’ve lived in London since leaving university in 2011, but when I decided to start so we flow… it quickly became apparent that it wasn’t feasible to start a clothing business from a tiny (but extortionate) box room in Tooting! The project began in London on paper, but moved north at the end of 2016. So I returned to the homeland where I had access to plenty of space, lower living costs, and the support of my family.
How did you come up with the idea?
I discovered yoga several years back whilst living in Amsterdam. I practiced casually for a while, but truly caught the bug in Morocco, where I exchanged 6 months of daily tuition for my branding advice and graphic design skills. Olly, my teacher, has since become a close friend. Having practiced for quite some time, I realised that men were either wearing technical sportswear, old gym rags or bohemian mashups. Nothing was quite working. We wanted to wear something that not only worked on the mat, but looked and felt incredible on the street. Distinct, certainly, but understated enough to embrace any man’s individual style. You can think about ideas all day or decide to act on them - so I did the next best thing and went for a beer with a guy I knew in the clothing industry. And here we are today…
What stage was your business at when you applied for the start-up loan?
I quickly realised that starting a clothing business, however small, requires a huge amount of capital to get up and running. Even at minimum order quantity, the sums involved compared to say a digital business are phenomenal. One of my business partners had worked as a Virgin Mentor in the past, and recommended the service so I got in touch.
How have you used it to grow your business?
The vast majority of my loan went towards my first order of stock. Several handfuls went on packaging, hardware, software and finally photography - which I must take the opportunity to mention the importance of. There is nothing worse than not having photography that represents your brand, product and the lifestyle you want people to become a part of. Imagine you created something amazing but people weren’t engaging with it because the photography let it down… it’s a sound investment.
Biggest achievement so far?
The day I launched the online store was an incredible feeling. I had the brand. I had the message. I had the stock. It had been beautifully photographed. Sometimes the process of getting a business ready can feel like a dream world, no more than a sketch in a notebook. However, launch day was when I felt like it had become something tangible.
What's next for your business?
First and foremost, I want to use so we flow… as a platform to get more men to do yoga - to experience the endless benefits it has had on my own life and those around me. I’ll be travelling to yoga studios across the country (and further afield) to get involved with the communities, talk about the clothing and the impact yoga has had on people’s lives. They’ll be a load of collaborations with photographers and artists to come as well as we expand the range into the relatively unexplored world of men’s yoga wear…
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