Homegrown Business: Emily Haugen, Founder of Zenful Yoga

Zenful Yoga is a women-run business that provides high-quality, eco-friendly and non-toxic cork yoga mats. This Vancouver-based business is dedicated to providing the best yoga mats so their customers can pursue their wellness goals for both their physical and mental health. We spoke with the founder of Zenful Yoga, Emily Haugen, to learn more about them.

Zenful Yoga

What is your business called and what does it do?

Hi! I’m Emily. I am the owner of Zenful Yoga which is a local Vancouver-based company that sells sustainable high-quality cork+rubber yoga mats and yoga accessories! We also recently started selling acupressure cork massage balls and handmade essential oil products (including our yoga mat spray & crystal meditation candles).

What made you want to do this work?

I started Zenful Yoga after I completed my capstone university project which asked us to create a business and do all the research to develop a comprehensive business plan. After researching products related to yoga (one of my favourite activities) I discovered cork+rubber yoga mats and learned more about the environmental impacts of regular yoga mats, and from that, I was hooked! I decided, after my project, that I would actually launch the business that I spent so much time researching because I was so passionate about the product. It really amazed me that TPE/PVC yoga mats (the typical ‘cheap’ mats) are so incredibly bad for the environment and yet nobody is talking about it! On top of that, cork mats last so much longer, and cork is an incredible material for yoga (especially hot yoga) because the surface is naturally grippy and when it gets wet it becomes even more grippy. Living in East Vancouver, surrounded by yogis and environmentalists, I knew this product would be perfect for the local market.

What problem did you want to solve with the business?

We want all Vancouver yogis to have a high-quality and sustainable yoga mat that will last them a few years and won’t get added to the landfill when it’s no longer useful. Our mats are made of the earth – from cork trees and rubber trees – which means they are biodegradable and compostable.

Who are your clientele/demographics?

Our customers are primarily Vancouverites who practice yoga and appreciate a high-quality yoga mat.

How does your business make money? How does it work?

We sell our products at a small markup above our cost of production. We sell via our online store and we also pop up at local events and markets.

Where in Vancouver can we find your profession?

We currently only sell online however if you live in Vancouver we also offer local pickup. And if you want to check out our products before you buy you can just email us and we can set it up!

What is the best question a prospective customer could ask a member of your profession when comparing services? Give the answer as well.

Question: “What makes your yoga mats better than a lululemon mat?”

Answer: quality, sustainability, and grip! Our mats are higher quality than lululemon (when you feel it, you’ll know), we are more sustainable, and the cork surface and natural tree rubber base make them one of the most grippy mats for yoga practice.

Zenful Yoga

What is the best part about what you do? What is the worst part?

The best part is getting reviews and feedback from customers who absolutely love our products, especially yoga enthusiasts who purchase our mats and it completely transforms their practice. The worst part for me is trying to keep up with posting on social media and knowing all the newest trends (keeping up with the algorithms!). Social media has been a blessing and a curse for small business owners – we’re able to better communicate with our customers and provide that 1-on-1 support instantly, however, it’s also so time-consuming!

What is your favourite joke about your own profession?

I think it’s funny when people say they don’t do yoga because they aren’t flexible …. doing yoga is how you become flexible! haha

What are your social media channels?

Instagram | Facebook | TikTok

PAY IT FORWARD: What is another Vancouver business that you love?

Boostani Crafts