I was recently interviewed by Kate Watkinson from Thrive in Light. This is my story.
Welcome to Soul Chat where you can be Inspired by Empowered Women that are Living with Heart & Soul
Meet Sara Paulin from Yogastore
Tell us your ‘why’
When I first started yoga I discovered a need for well-constructed yoga accessories and knew it was something I could try to remedy. I spent a fair bit of time researching what was currently available and what I thought was needed. One of my sisters is a web designer so whipped me up a one-page website to start with so I could sell nationwide. Then the orders started coming in and I needed to streamline my suppliers and processes. My business has grown so that I now have a several page website that I’m proud of.
My aim is to make products that will last years and years and to source and use components with the least impact on the current and future environment. For example, I have a wonderful local wool supplier who looks after me. I do enjoy the research side of finding solutions and it is always a work in progress just as our yoga practice is!
Who and/or what inspires you in life?
- My 92-year-old Mum who will give anything a go at least once
- My yoga teachers Jessica Latton and Rhys Latton who constantly bring me back to the here and now
- My children who are constantly wowing me with their insight
What is the background that led you to develop Yogastore?
I have a BSc in mathematics and then did a Business Computing Certificate at Otago Polytech. I worked part-time for 12 years in Public Health Research at Otago University. I then completed the Certificate in Fashion Studies at Otago Polytech whilst raising two children and supporting my (at the time) Triathlon mad and full time working husband. I absolutely loved the change to working my own hours, creating something from scratch, using skills I’d learned in the Polytech courses (pattern making/industrial sewing etc) and putting it all together to help support someone else’s yoga journey.
What do you love most about your job/business?
Love notes from my customers are the best!
Searching out new fabrics is always a fun time. I only buy fabrics that I personally like and I really do need to touch and feel the fabric to make sure it’s appropriate.
I generally work on my own (my darling is my sounding board and chief bolster stuffer. God bless him!) but have business relationships in the background that I’ve built up over the years (ie my suppliers, accountant, yoga teachers, screen printer, couriers etc). It is very cool when you realise and appreciate that we’re all out there supporting each other.
I commissioned an Otago arts graduate (Alice Berry) to create some beautiful designs that I’ve used on clothing and bolsters etc. It was a fun process and I’ll be reintroducing her awesome work soon.
If you had one piece of advice for a woman considering setting up her own business what would it be?
Don’t overextend yourself financially as you start out. I’ve only ever spent less than I’ve earned on developing the business which has made it stress-free (ish!) and means you are in control! It took a while for me to appreciate that I actually am the boss and now if I feel like I’m being pushed unreasonably to fulfill a consignment that doesn’t quite sit right with me then I will say no. But say it with grace, an explanation and suggest a positive plan b!
What is your favourite Yoga practice and why?
If I’m feeling energetic a Saturday morning Yoga Foundations class at the Dunedin Yoga Studio is the best way to start the weekend. I’m also often at the weekday lunchtime Vinyasa classes as they’re a great pick me up and will re-centre me for the rest of the day. If I’m feeling a bit jaded then a Hatha class is the best to realise why I have a practice in the first place. Yoga is a constant practice and each day brings something different to the mat.
Yin Yang questions
Sunset or sunrise? sunrise
Hot or cold drinks? (Often) Hot cup of tea on the verandah watching my chooks fossick or (Occasional!) a cold beer at the end of a summer day.
Urban or rural? Urban but need walks in the forest with the dog
Cats or dogs? I have one of each. Depends on their mood. My daughter’s tropical fish have just had babies so that is our current delight observing the survivors growing bigger!
Board games or cards? Currently Bananagrams (similar but faster than scrabble) to topple my daughter off the leader board but Monopoly Deal (cards) to topple my reigning son comes equal. Competitive much – yes!
A classic from a colleague of mine, Carol Murdoch, from years back to get us out of a work frump! “You never know what tomorrow will bring”
And a goodie my Mum always used to say that I find myself now saying… “Things are always better in the morning”
Lol that must be why I’m a morning gal..