“Our motto is ‘Love your mat, it will call you back to practice.’ To see this in action, is such an honor.”
-Lauren, ilaStrate founder
What inspired you to create ilaStrate?
My love of yoga and art inspired me to create the product, and the business followed. The underlying story is so much more involved. Just like many other small business owners, I was compelled by my desire to escape the traditional 9-5, be my own boss and express my creativity.
I worked in the commercial art industry for 15 years, resigning as Art Director. I was unhappy directing other peoples’ dreams. Fairly early on in my career, I was introduced to yoga. Those threads began to become tightly woven as life happened. I began to rely on yoga for solace and inspiration. My art began to have a purpose, and I found myself and my vision through yoga and it spills out in my art.
How do you stay inspired?
It is so hard NOT to be inspired. Life itself is inspiring. Everything and anything can become a spark of inspiration.
It’s being in the right frame of mind to appreciate the beautiful moments that I try to cultivate. Being present to find the beauty in each moment can spark imagination and appreciation for life. If I sit with it quietly, a simple experience, like a cardinal flying against a gray sky, for example, becomes an elaborate vision or an idea. I collect art visions LOL, I don’t always get the opportunity to create in reality the art I create in my head.
I have a hard time narrowing my inspirations to singularity to express them in a way that someone else can understand. Meditation and yoga are a big part of staying present and connected.
What is the best advice you can give someone who wants to launch their own business?
I would say, make research your priority. Get a realistic idea of your obligations for the first few years, especially financial. Running a business takes creativity and imagination. Andy Warhol said it best, “Being good in business is the most fascinating kind of art.” Running a business requires a bit more than just good business sense. I think many people do not realize that creativity and imagination are probably the most important aspects of running a successful business. I’d say it’s probably 10% business and 90% marketing! Find your niche, make sure it’s something that you are willing to devote your life to, and do it! If you’re scared, you’re doing it right!
Do you have a personal yoga or meditation practice? How does it help your business/creativity?
Absolutely! I meditate in the morning and evening most days. I do yoga at least once a week, but I prefer to practice 2-3 times a week with short home practices in between. It helps me tremendously with creativity! When my imagination becomes too wild it can be overwhelming. My mind literally runs away with it. I absolutely need yoga and meditation practice to calm the mind and stay centered. This helps me to prioritize, focus on and complete one task at a time and not let my thoughts, inspiration and ambitions take control of my day.
I will have yoga and meditation practice for the rest of my life, it’s become a part of me.
The theme of this issue is LOVE. Share with us what you have learned about LOVE:
Down into the soul of my being, in my heart, I believe that love is what we are. “All you need is love,” as The Beatles said. Call it what you will: God, Source, the Force, the Universe, the One…whatever that energy is that connects us all, it is Love. It is why we live and breathe, and it is what we are trying to get back to.
Now more than ever, it is so important for us to look at the world we’ve created and choose compassion and love as a way forward. If we truly saw with our hearts, we would walk away from the wars and the division and embody who we truly are, Love.
Share with us what you love about what you do:
I love the feeling of joy my customers experience when they see their yoga mat for the first time. Our customers are so moved and inspired, they fall in love with their mat, and it has a positive impact on their practice. It is the highest form of gratitude and compliment that I can ever receive. It is why I do what I do, and it is what keeps me going. Our motto is “Love your mat, it will call you back to practice.” To see this in action, is such an honor.
I love the community, meeting new people and connecting with like-minded beings. I enjoy the lifestyle and ability to embody who I am in what I do: an artist practicing yoga and life.