Choosing Yoga Mats to Sell/Rent
There’s a variety of things to consider when choosing what yoga mats to sell or rent in your studio. Arin Takeuchi, the marketing manager of B YOGA, a mat retailer, said to first look at what type of studio and client you serve. Do you cater to an older crowd? Are you a hot yoga studio? “You want to provide mats that are suitable for the environment,” she said. “There is no one-mat-fits-all, so do some research.”
Quality is another huge deciding factor. Dean Jerrehian, the president of Jade Yoga, said this is key in both mats you sell and rent. “A person who is practicing on a quality mat is more likely to enjoy their practice and come back for more,” he said.
Price is another consideration, and Takeuchi said you need to ask how much you think members are willing to spend. If you are unsure, offer options at each price point, giving people the choice.
From there, she suggested offering at least three styles of mats at different thicknesses and lengths, with between two and five different color options. However, if you can only have one or two color options, choose neutral or deeper colors — or ask the company what their best-selling mats are.
“Students want choices, both in color and sizes,” added Jerrehian. “Even though 80 percent of sales might be in one size, it is important to offer multiple thicknesses to allow students to choose the mat that is right for them.
Choosing Companies to Work With
Takeuchi noted three areas to evaluate a company by — company values, customer service, location. She also gave questions to ask in evaluating each:
Company Values: Do the company’s values align with your studios? Are they the type of brand you are comfortable having represented in your space?
Customer Service: Are they accessible and communicative? How are their lead times?
Location: Where are they based or shipping from? This impacts shipping charges and the time it takes to get the products.
“While customer service and support and delivery time are always important, after the instructor your mat is probably the one thing that can make the biggest difference in your practice,” said Jerrehian.
Yoga Mat Care Tips
For cleaning natural rubber mats, Jerrehian suggested using a damp cloth or small amount of dish soap. To disinfect, vinegar is a great natural alternative, though it might not kill all bacteria.
Staying away from harsh chemicals when cleaning yoga mats is key for most types, said Takeuchi. On top of vinegar and soap, she suggested water and tea tree oil or lemon juice. “A high quality, durable mat should be able to get a good deep clean in the bathtub or washing machine and still be in prime shape when it comes out and is hung to dry. That said, every company is different, so check their websites or ask questions if you are unsure as the best way to clean your mats,” she said.
Why Sell Yoga Mats?
Takeuchi gave three reasons why a studio should look into selling mats:
Revenue. Make more money through retail to stay in operation.
Community Building. “By having the tools in your studio for new or already existing students, it allows them a one-stop-shop for yoga. This fosters a great relationship between that yogi and the studio,” she said.
Product Referral. “As yoga studio owners and teachers, you learn to love certain products,” said Takeuchi. “What better opportunity to recommend products than to have them right in your lobby or retail space?”
“Ask questions,” said Takeuchi. “Many yoga companies have a wealth of knowledge as to the ins and outs of using, renting, owning and selling yoga mats. Use these companies as a resource, especially if you’ve never sold or rented mats out before.”
“When just starting, some students are concerned about spending money on a new mat as they may not know if they will stick with yoga or not,” said Jerrehian. “This is another good reason to have high-quality studio mats: it will allow a new student to try a mat before buying, and again, will make it more likely that she or he will continue with yoga.”
Why Rent Mats?
“The next most important consideration a student might have in buying a mat is how it works for them, which is why even if you don’t want to have a rental program, you might want to have a demo mat or two,” said Jerrehian.
He recommends charging for mat rentals for a few reasons: to cover the cost of washing them and make them more likely to get washed, to encourage students to buy their own mats, and because it’s a profit center — for example, if you rent a $30 mat for $2 per class and do that for a whole year, you’ll make about $700 on that mat.