With her early life in the spotlight as the daughter of a legendary Hollywood producer and yogi philanthropist, Jodi Guber Brukfsky constantly felt pressure to look a certain way, and continually struggled with her body image. Yoga ultimately led Jodi to her purpose, and it changed her outlook on life. But, as a yoga instructor and life coach, she kept searching for stylish and flattering workout wear to complement not only her teaching and practice, but her life beyond the yoga mat. When she couldn’t find what she wanted, she created it herself. That’s the short version of how Beyond Yoga was born.
I love digging into business origin stories, and Jodi’s is so unique! She shares how she learned to hear and follow her intuition, her journey through the growing pains of an apparel brand, and how she’s set her brand apart in a crowded space through storytelling.
Where It Began
Jodi’s parents were in the entertainment industry, and she always believed she’d follow in her father’s Hollywood producer footsteps. “My dad was always like, you’re going to take over the company. So I developed a sense of entrepreneurial spirit and a drive to work from a very young age,” Jodi explained.
She started her career working in production and as a talent agent, but it wasn’t fun. It wasn’t right for her, but she was on the path of something new.
“Yoga was part of my parents’ life since I was a little girl, so there was a lot of awareness and the idea of consciousness and mindfulness and opening yourself up to possibility and opportunity that existed in my world and around me,” she explained.
Jodi worked jobs and left them, pursued new opportunities and started her own endeavors, but nothing felt quite right until she had the opportunity to sit down with herself and consider what she really wanted. Jodi shared, “I really sat down and thought about, okay, I want to be in control of my life. I want to be my own boss. I want to drive my destiny and it just came to me to start an activewear brand that was for everybody and every body.” That was the very earliest start to Beyond Yoga.
Everybody and Every Body
The most important thing for Jodi when creating Beyond Yoga was to continue her mission to create activewear for everybody and every body. She wanted an inclusive size range, she wanted her customers to know that they didn’t have to just exercise in the clothing, they could lounge, they could take a walk. Beyond Yoga’s ethos was to encourage people to take care of themselves in whatever way they needed and wanted. This type of thinking wasn’t the norm for big sportswear and activewear companies at the time.
When Beyond Yoga first started, it was actually launched with a big brand, and it was called Beyond Yoga by Fila. The partnership began when Fila actually wanted to hire Jodi to do PR for the brand, and when she explained she wasn’t interested in doing PR anymore, they offered to create her line of activewear under Fila if she did PR for the brand. She agreed, but a few years later she decided to transition away from Fila to relaunch the brand on her own to get back to the original mission and vision of promoting and supporting body positivity.
When she left the big brand to go out on her own, people questioned her decision. “There are plenty of people that would say, are you crazy? Like you have this incredible opportunity. And it’s like, yeah, but it’s not my opportunity. That’s someone else’s opportunity. And so I really had to trust my intuition about that.”
Learning as You Grow
“If you’re in business and you haven’t experienced growing pains, then you’re not in business,” Jodi laughed. “Challenges are the forefront of business. It’s how you approach them. It’s how you deal with them.”
At the beginning of Beyond Yoga and when she teamed up with her co-founder Michelle Wahler, Jodi explained that they tried many times to reinvent the wheel, but it was in that process she learned how to run a business.
“Neither of us had ever run a business. Neither of us were ever in the clothing, apparel business. We literally are self-taught and we would make mistakes that we might’ve been able to avoid had we hired someone to do it, but then we wouldn’t have learned it. And then when we hired that person, we wouldn’t have understood what they were doing,” Jodi reflected.
When you’re getting started in your business and doing everything yourself, learning the systems and processes and best practices along the way, you grow to have a deeper understanding of what your future employees will deal with. Jodi explained, “There was a big upside to really learning the nuts and bolts on our own so that we understood what the employees were doing, had compassion and understanding and felt like we really had an understanding of the business from so many different aspects.”
More from this Episode
What is Jodi’s relationship with social media as it relates to business and life? How did intuition play a major role in the foundation and growth of her brand? And why does she want to live to 120? We dig into all of those questions and more. Press play to hear the full episode and find it on your favorite podcast app.