5 min read

Live Life Free Range - Yoga Democracy

Yoga Democracy is a veteran & female-founded, eco-friendly activewear brand made from post-consumer recycled bottles & discarded fishing nets. Our product focuses on empowering women to express themselves through intentional clothing they wear, all while supporting the earth as a conscious consumer.
Live Life Free Range - Yoga Democracy

Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health & wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Travis Strote, Founder of Yoga Democracy, located in Scottsdale, AZ, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Yoga Democracy is a veteran and female-founded, eco-friendly activewear brand made from post-consumer recycled bottles and discarded fishing nets. Our product focuses on empowering women to express themselves through the intentional clothing they wear, all while supporting the earth as a conscious consumer.

The Activewear is constructed from all post-consumer recycled materials under their roof. Using zero-waste closed-loop manufacturing, Yoga Democracy recycles or repurposes all excess materials to ensure nothing ends up as waste, adding to our landfills.

The company is part of 1% For The Planet and donates 1% of its yearly profit to various nonprofit organizations. Yoga Democracy collects and repurposes scrap material into dog toys and stuffing dog beds for donation to shelters across the country.

We are the only zero-waste manufacturer of Activewear in the world. All our products are made right here in Carefree, Arizona. Our customers are the women who don't follow the trends... they aren't part of the herd. They are trendsetters, change-makers, and the leaders of the friend group. They are outspoken about their beliefs, stand up for the bullied, and don't care what others think. They live life as free-range humans, playing by their own rules.

Tell us about yourself

Born and raised in Cocoa Beach, Florida, I came from a family of artists – My grandfather, a custom woodworker, a great uncle, and a pioneer in lighting on Broadway. My grandmother, a painter, and my closest uncle, a surfboard shaper, all molded me to be a creative artist in all life forms.

A great love of helping people was instilled in me by my mother. She created a sense of responsibility within my community. I knew from a very young age that I was called to create something that positively impacted the consumer and the environment. Raised on a farm that rescued racehorses from the slaughterhouse, I was not one to be found sitting in front of a video game like the other kids my age.

At age 13, I developed a company called Pit Dawg Hats, which specialized in a line of "punk rock" inspired hats. The proceeds of the sale of each hat went to saving dogs in kill shelters... It was here that I developed a passion for "creating with a purpose." After completing my high school years and having already discovered fashion as a creative outlet, I was also involved in creating various surf clothing brands.

I also served in the US Navy to become a doctor. It wasn’t long before my creative voice took over the conversation. I realized I was meant for something different – something the medical profession could not offer me. After honorably serving our country for five years, I pursued a degree in Social Entrepreneurship with the dream that I would create a socially and environmentally conscious business.

Over the years, I have been introduced to yoga and its many benefits - lessons that I attribute to my Uncle John—along with great love and respect for nature and the environment. I developed a great connection with the Yogi mindset and the energy behind the practice. Today, I believe that Yoga Democracy was born out of necessity: The necessity to support artists.

The necessity to bring originality and purpose to the fashion world and the need to educate, motivate and inspire consumers to know what impact their purchases have on the earth.

The story of Yoga Democracy is one of fate. I met Haley through their love and passion for creating. Shortly after meeting, we knew we were meant to create something great together. We both met for only the second time at a French Bakery in Downtown Orlando, where we dreamed up a brand of Activewear that gives back and is produced using 100% environmentally sustainable practices.

On that day, August 11th, 2015, Yoga Democracy was born. A brand of Activewear made using zero-waste closed-loop manufacturing processes has a positive impact on everything and everyone involved. An eco-friendly brand that silently kills the competition without destroying the environment.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My biggest accomplishment as a business owner is empowering others to act on their ideas and chase their dreams of becoming entrepreneurs. I never had a mentor throughout my life as an entrepreneur. Because of that, I waited so long to start working on my dream business.

And I made tons of mistakes along the way. My goal in life is to show the younger I's out there that it is easier than the world makes it seem. I feel accomplished if I can help one person chase their dream or prevent them from making one of the mistakes I made.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

One of the hardest things that I have had to overcome as a business owner is accepting the fact that no one that ever works for you will care as much about your product, brand, or company as you do and that they will never work as hard or do things as well as you would.

Once you accept that, you will be much more successful at finding and retaining a quality team of employees. The second most challenging thing I have learned is that being a successful entrepreneur takes immense self-management and sacrifice.

In the initial stages of building a business, you must dedicate your time and energy to your business before many other things. Still, once you do, it doesn’t feel like work at all.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

The top three pieces of advice I would give to anyone interested in becoming an entrepreneur would be the following:

  1. Make sure that money is not your driving factor for starting your venture. You will not succeed if money is the sole reason you want to start this business. There has to be a passion for the idea, product, or service to the point that you would be OK never getting rich off of it. Only then do you have a chance.
  2. Start NOW. Don’t wait until you have the money you think you need, don’t wait until you find someone to invest in, don’t wait until you feel like you’ve learned enough... start now with what you know. Create your concept with what you have and know, and start telling everyone. Get feedback and prove that your idea has traction and that there is a market, a need for what you want to create. This is the most basic concept. Once you can prove your concept, money is easy to find, and there isn’t enough schooling to teach you more about running a business than actually doing it.
  3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Ask questions and ask for guidance. Successful entrepreneurs don’t do it for the money. They do it for the feeling of being able to share their wealth of knowledge and the story of their entrepreneurial journey. I used to be so afraid to ask people for help until I realized what makes millionaires and billionaires the happiest is teaching others how to get to where they are. All you have to do is ask.

Where can people find you and your business?

Website: https://yogademocracy.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tstrote
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/travisstrote/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/TRAVISSTROTE
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/travisstrote/

If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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