A few months ago Meredith had the opportunity to connect with Rachel Evans and Jesse Schiller, Vancouver based yoga teachers who created KOOSHOO design- lifestyle accessories for the active yogi. All of their products are designed to be worn before, after and during class, and are certainly more than just yoga gear. Each of their pieces are incredibly stylish- literally the most vibrant colors we have ever seen on fabric- the most gorgeous watercolor hues! Here is Meredith's story and interview:
I was beyond thrilled when my box arrived complete with scarf, headband and hair ties. SO fun! I have worn each piece incessantly.
What else is cool about KOOSHOO?
All Kooshoo products are handmade in Los Angeles- sourcing only small, privately run fabric suppliers, dye houses and production facilities to ensure that each product receives complete care and commitment. In turn, KOOSHOO ensures that each supplier is treated with the same attention and care..
KOOSHOO is also partners with Karma Teachers, a not-for-profit yoga studio that works with homeless youth, people with eating disorders and autistic children, among several other worthy groups. They donate 11% of each sales's proceeds to ensure that 1 person is gifted a free yoga class for every product sold. Very cool indeed!
Where did this idea really come from- what inspired you to start a yoga accessories line? Was there another product that inspired you?
You know that wonderful feeling when life just seems to flow, when the next step in your journey almost magically appears when it’s needed most? And more often than not, it’s a twist to the journey you couldn’t possibly have planned! Well, that’s essentially how KOOSHOO came to be.
About 4 years ago we came to a place in our lives where we seemingly had everything –good jobs, financial security, a great community of friends and family – but something was still missing. On a leap of faith, we decided to leave it all behind and to step off the safe path of life in favour of a world of unknowns. We quit our career jobs, packed up our lives and bought one-way tickets to Asia, hoping to reconnect with each other and open ourselves to discovering that deep yearning we felt for something more!
In the years since we’ve come to listen and live by that intuitive sense that called on us to make a change. We spent a transformative year travelling without itinerary throughout Asia, capping the trip by getting married on Norfolk Island in the South Pacific. We then returned to North America where we soon enrolled ourselves in yoga teacher training – me in Hatha yoga, Rachel in Kundalini.
The Asia trip was an amazing wake-up call. It reminded us that you can live this life is so many ways. It’s our choices that create the reality we see and experience. So with an open mind we chose to follow our hearts and our happiness and commit to consciously create our reality from the ground up. That reality became KOOSHOO.
It has been and continues to be a lot of work and brings with it tremendous satisfaction. We are thoroughly enjoying the journey as we learn to navigate through the ups and downs, twists and turns!
Ok. We always ask about food on Puremamas- what are some staples on your menu? Are you guys vegetarian? vegan? or not? Living in Vancouver is certainly geographically much different than LA. What is your food philosophy ?
Great question! Yes, we are both vegetarian and absolutely love good food. We do our best to eat local and organic though the local part can be a challenge mid-winter here in Vancouver.
We just had a phenomenal spring weekend and finished planting our veggie garden – our first – so are particularly looking forward to all the home-grown goodness we’ll be enjoying this summer. Lots of beets, lettuce, kale, cucumbers, zucchini, herbs and even some ambitious cantaloupe! Looking forward to creating some of the incredible recipes from your book right out of our garden this summer!
As for staples, avocados are probably at the top of the list. Rachel grew up on Norfolk Island with a number of avocado trees in her backyard so it’s been a staple of hers since day one. We do our best to always have fresh organic avocados at home, putting them on and in everything.
Vancouver has a burgeoning dining-out scene and though we love all cuisines, chances are high that you’ll find us out for sushi at least once a week. In Vancouver it’s often joked that there is a coffee shop, a yoga studio and a sushi restaurant on every corner. Truth be told, that’s only a slight exaggeration. It works well for us though as those happen to be three of our happy places!!
Everything is lusciously cozy- and actually FEELS clean. There is nothing that I dislike more than smelly synthetic fabric- especially after a cleansing yoga class. What fibers do you use? What dyes?
Totally agree. We’ve always found it an odd paradox that the “uniform” of yoga in North America – as prescribed by the big yoga clothing producers – is made from petro-chemically derived synthetics. Evidence and intuition abound to demonstrate that naturally derived fabrics like organic cotton not only perform on par with synthetics but also feel so much better and cleaner, as you note. It’s also believed in yogic tradition that wearing pure natural fibers is good for your psyche, for your energy levels, and for your nervous system.
For us with KOOSHOO, one of our founding principles is that all fabrics that we use must be natural and, when possible, organic. This decision has certainly created limitations with our sourcing but it’s also pushed us to be innovative. For example, our Aurea headbands and Lila hairties are made from custom organic cotton elastic that’s made in the USA. As far as we know, it’s the only organic cotton elastic being produced in the world.
For the fabric headbands we use both organic cotton and Tencel, a gorgeous, silk-like fiber made from sustainably harvested eucalyptus trees. Tencel is naturally breathable, moisture-wicking and drapes beautifully, so it was a natural choice for our shawls.
For dyeing we work with some of LA’s finest family run facilities, including one of the only solar powered dye houses in the world. We use low-impact dyes and our shawls, ENSO batiks and Aurea Ombres are all pieces of art, dyed by hand to achieve the brilliant “water colors” that you alluded to earlier.
Hand dyeing is something we’re immensely proud of with KOOSHOO. Not only does it celebrate the creativity of the dyer and help promote a rare skill here in North America, it also creates garments that are truly unique, just like the wonderful human beings that purchase them.
GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED!
WHAT YOU WILL WIN: Any ONE item from their website.
CONTEST ENDS in 2 Days: Wednesday May 15 2013 at 9am Winner will be announced via Facebook and/or Twitter. THANKS!
COUPON: if you do NOT win but would still like to purchase a KOOSHOO product, please use discount code PUREMAMAS at checkout to get $15 off any order over $60. Woot!