Hi beautiful souls,
I just want to do a little introduction and show who is 24/7 behind the scenes of Alma Story, how it all started and why am I doing it. I decided to do it in the interview format and answer the most frequently asked questions.
Who am I?
My name is Dariia, the founder of Alma Story. I am Canadian immigrant. I was born in Kiev, Ukraine and came to Toronto almost 10 years ago, 6 years ago I found a job and immigrated via working visa. My family and dear friends still live in Ukraine, therefore my motherland will be always take a special place in my heart.
I am 200H certified Yoga Teacher with 9 years of personal yoga practice.
Why Yoga brand?
I’ve started practicing Yoga 9 years ago, tried all the different styles of yoga which was offered in Canadian studios and lately around the world. When I started pounding the idea of starting a business I didn’t have any doubt that it’s going to be yoga related, since it captured my soul long time ago.
Why Travel Yoga mats?
It started with my own personal need - I went to Spain to learn the language and I couldn’t keep up with my practice since I didn’t have a yoga mat or towel with me - it wouldn’t fit in my luggage. Also there wasn’t enough space in my cute room in Madrid, so the only place to practice was the studio or outside. Not being able to find a studio which was open during the times I could make it and seeing lots of people practicing outside in the parks led me to the idea of Travel Yoga Mat.
After talking to yoga teachers and yoga practitioners I found that either they never heard of such a concept or they tried other brands, didn’t like it and gave up. Since I traveled quite a bit and really needed it for myself I decided to explore further. That’s how the testing, samples production and interviewing started.
I started using all the mats on the market, comparing them, asking people for a feedback and their experience. At the same time I contacted more than 15 factories and requested their samples. Since the sample cost with shipping is pretty high (on average it’s $200 per 2pcs) at some point I’ve decided to create my own design. Days in Photoshop and Illustrator and my very first baby was born :)
I was probably the happiest person on the planet, when my first samples arrived. By the way, I still use my very first mat till this day - it’s been washed million times and survived all kinds of conditions and still looks like new 🙂
Little did I know that in order to have million dollar success on Kickstarter you actually have to invest at least 100k.
None of the Kickstarter-focused marketing agencies would agree to work with you if your project is not funded fully within 2 days from the start and doesn’t reach big numbers within 3-4.
So I was left pretty much on my own. It was definitely the most stressful time of the year. Sleeping 3-4hours per day during a month I managed to reach 160% of the goal organically, which I’m very grateful for to my family, friends and backers around the world. 2 months later we completed manufacturing process and shipped Alma Travel mats to over 37 countries.
What’s Alma Story’s mission?
Having practiced yoga for many years I often hear comments like - yoga is not for me, I’m too big, I’m not flexible, yoga is too expensive, etc. The image which we can see on Social Media is not really helping either. Therefore a lot of people withhold themselves from the practice because they feel intimated or their minds are full of false beliefs.
With Alma Story I want to bring back true values and principles of yoga and remind that yoga is absolutely for every one. You don’t have to be flexible, thin, tall, etc in order to practice. To address it fully I created Soul Story project where I interview Yoga teachers and Yoga practitioners around the world and share their yoga journey.
Regarding the cost - yoga is pretty expensive if you choose to practice at the studios, however you can practice anywhere by yourself or find donation based classes.
Why Alma Story?
We live in the world of certain beliefs and with lots of expectation from ourselves.
But the moment we step on our mat we start uncovering ourselves and let our Soul to create its story, a real one, a story of the Soul, Soul Story or Alma Story.
Alma means Soul in Spanish. There are 2 reasons why I’m using a Spanish word in the name - the idea to create a Travel yoga Brand came to me in Madrid, Spain and I just simply love this language.
Who’s managing Instagram & Facebook?
I am 🙂 I’m still searching for someone, who is passionate about yoga and traveling on the same level as I am and dedicated to share love and knowledge about yoga with the world.
How Alma Travel Mats are different from the rest on the market?
With Alma Story I’m looking to lessen an environmental foot print as much as possible and keep plastic away from the oceans by up cycling it and creating such a beautiful product.
Alma Travel Mat is made from recycled plastic bottles and natural rubber.
Alma Cork Mat is made from natural cork and natural rubber.
Yes, some mats have lifetime guarantee but the truth is they will last 100 more lifetimes after you, since they are made from PVC. Do you really want that?
Alma Travel mats can be recycled after the usage.
Alma Travel Mat can be folded and it fits in any regular bag/backpack. It’s super convenient to travel with. I usually put 2 mats in my carry on and 3/4 of the luggage is still free for other stuff.
Also Alma Travel mat comes with a bag, which makes it very convenient to carry around.
Foldable design keeps the bottom of the mat away from the side you’re practicing on.
During our practice we move everywhere on the mat. In Sun Salutations/Balancing poses/Tadasana/Chair pose we stand in the front of the mat, in resting positions we place our head at the same spot where our feet were. So you might want to give it another thought if you want to use a studio mat, which is never properly cleaned, if you prefer have a clean practice. Alma Travel Mat can be used on top of the studio mat.
Whether you’re a beginner or advanced practitioner, alignment system middle, horizontal, 45 degrees lines help a lot with the alignment during your practice and keep you grounded if you need it.
One of the advice I give to my dear friends who struggle with getting themselves onto the mat - place a mat by your desk/close to your working space and whenever you have a minute or two, go to the mat and do something. You will be surprised that soon enough you will start looking for that free second to jump on the mat. The secret is - promise yourself a 5-7min practice, stick to it every single day, watch what’s going to happen.
I’m very happy to introduce new gorgeous colour of Alma Travel Mat - it’s a collaboration with a very talented German artist. The colour is called Azul (blue from Spanish) and designed to take you on a beautiful journey of ocean waves, breeze and freedom.
Also please welcome 100% natural Cork line - Cork Travel Mat and Cork yoga blocks.
I am very excited to share with you products, which made a huge difference in my practice and I believe it will make a difference in yours by eliminating unnecessary excuses and adding more freedom to your practice.
Thank you so much for reading. With all my heart I wish you to have more beautiful moments, amazing travels and conscious practice in 2020.
I look forward to connect with you and see you on or off the mat ❤️
The Founder of Alma Story