Buy my new book – ‘Bring Your Product Idea to Life’

Can you run a successful product business alongside your day job?

That’s exactly what engineer Maysun Hassanaly has done, developing and producing high quality and sustainable yoga gear at Ladina Yoga.

Maysu’s products are designed in collaboration with African artists, and also manufactured in Africa. Maysun shares how she came to start her business and why she operates her business the way she does. We discuss the challenges of launching and running a business alongside a high-tempo day job. 

If you are juggling a day job whilst also trying to build your own business, this is a brilliant episode as Maysun shares how the skills she has learned in one role transfer to the other, and that it is possible to do the two roles simultaneously.

The Bring Your Product Idea to Life Podcast  – Best Business Podcast Award, Independent Podcast Awards 2023

USEFUL RESOURCES:

Ladina Yoga

Ladina Yoga Instagram

Ladina Yoga Facebook

Maysun Hassanaly LinkedIn

The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron

Yoga with Adrienne

Bad Yogi

The Multi-Hyphen Method by Emma Gannon

This episode is proudly sponsored by my own book – Bring Your Product Idea to Life

Have you ever had a great idea for a product? Or does creating a product to sell appeal to you? Where do you begin? How do you come up with a product idea? Or, if you have an idea, how do you know if it’s even viable?

In Bring Your Product Idea to Life, I take you through the process of creating your product, step-by-step. From developing your product idea, to finding suppliers and launching your product we cover it all.

The book includes advice on how to price your product, where to sell it and how to find out if anyone will actually buy it. Designed to help you make real progress, Bring Your Product to Life is both practical and motivational.

Every chapter includes clear action steps, so you know exactly what to do and when. This isn’t just a book for reading – this is a book for doing.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1399954180

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Transcript
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Welcome to the bring your product idea to Life podcast.

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This is the podcast for you if you're getting started selling products or if you'd

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like to create your own product to sell. I'm Vicki Weinberg, a product

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creation coach and Amazon expert. Every week I share friendly,

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practical advice as well as inspirational stories from small businesses.

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Let's get started.

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Hello. So on this week's episode, I'm talking to Maysun

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Hassanaly from Ladina Yoga. So Maysun and I had

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a really interesting conversation. So Maysun helps people find

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joy and grounding in their yoga practice with inclusive teaching and high quality,

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sustainable yoga gear. So Maysun designs her

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yoga product along with african artists, and all of her products

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are manufactured in Africa as well. And

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her story about how she came to start her business and

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why she operates her business the way she does is really fascinating. We also talk

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a lot about the fact that, that she launched and runs her business

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alongside what was a full time job, and it's now a part time role.

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She works in engineering in her day job, which is completely different from being

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a yoga teacher, from running a products business. But she talks

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about what she can learn from each and how each of the things that she

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does can tie into the other, how some of the skills that she's learned

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and utilizes are transferable. And overall, this was just a

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really fascinating, interesting conversation. She was very

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open about how she's chosen to run her

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business and her life, why she is doing two things

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simultaneously. And I was just fascinated and inspired by

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her. And I cannot wait to introduce you.

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So, hi, Maysun. Thank you so much for being here. Hi, Vicky. Thank you

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for having me. Can we start with you? Please give an introduction to

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yourself, your business, and what you sell. Yeah. So, my

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name is Maysun Hassanali. I'm a yoga teacher and the founder of

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Ladina Yoga. So Ladina Yoga is a sustainable yoga brand

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aimed to empower everyone and mostly

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also people of color. So I work with african artists to

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create sustainable yoga accessories that bring

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you joy. Thank you for that. And there is so much I want

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to ask you around your business, but let's start right at the beginning. And can

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you talk to us about how, why and when you began Ladina

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yoga? I was reflecting on this the other day, and

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it's actually a longer story, so I'm not sure you want to hear all of

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it, but if we go back to the start, I was born in Madagascar in

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a family of entrepreneurs. So everyone who's around me was always an

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entrepreneur. And I remember, I always told my family, I don't want to be

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one. I want to have a stable job. I want to enjoy what I do.

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And I might not come back to Madagascar as well.

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Anyway, fast forward when to study in London, and

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I realized that always had something on the side. I was always

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doing something different. I was always, for example, a university having a part

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time job, or I was doing freelance translating. So I

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always lacked that side learning piece.

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At the end of my studies, I participated

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into something called the startup weekend. So from Friday

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night to Sunday, you get to meet a team in a location

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and then build a startup. So essentially that's what I did. I met up with

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a team. We created this thing called Kordaton, which was an online

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platform for school teachers and students.

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Amazing. Was great. But then after eight months, we realized, you

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know, we're all students, we might want to go to do something different. So we

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split. But that really got me into the entrepreneurship

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world, and I loved it. Straight after that,

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I began my engineering career, which I really, really loved. I was

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working in future transport, so things like, you know, drones and

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self driving cars, so things that do not even exist yet, and I loved

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it. But 2019, I hit a point where I started reflecting

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on what I really wanted to do. And then I came across this book

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called the Artist Way, and it fascinated me

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because it really helped me to reconnect with my

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creativity, which I didn't have in my engineering career. So I kind of

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forgot about everything, you know, drawing, writing, reading, all of

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that. And it made me feel alive. And I started journaling. That's

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when I realized that, okay, I need to take some time away. I

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want to take a sabbatical. So 2020, I

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take the sabbatical. Worst timing ever.

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So we start in Madaskar in January. I'm practicing

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yoga on a mat made of straw in Maddiescar.

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And it was the most amazing feeling ever because I

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felt so grounded to nature, so rooted,

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and I felt connected to, you know, I felt connected to nature. I felt connected

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to all of my malagasy indian cultures all

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at the same time. And it made me reflect, okay, my yoga mat

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in London is made of pvc. My yoga blocks are made of

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foam. Everything else is made of plastic. Why is it

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that, you know, everyone doesn't have that

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connection to nature? It should be that way. It should be. Yoga is about

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that. And then I think that's when the idea for Ladina

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yoga came. Because in media Oscar, I grew up around so many,

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you know, piece of art made of organic fibers and recycled

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materials. So it was always like that. For me. And then turns

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out that the month after I was supposed to go to India to get

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my yoga training certification, came back to London.

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COVID hit. So really the worst timing ever, because I was on a

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sabbatical, no one would recruit, I couldn't go back to work. So

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I started teaching yoga, and it was the best time ever because for a

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year I taught yoga and I worked on Adina yoga in the background. And then

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a year later, April 2021, Ladina Yoga was

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born. Well, that's amazing. It was a long story in

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the making, but I realized that all of these points actually led me to

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that. Yeah. Thank you so much for sharing, and I

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totally agree. I feel the same when I share my story, you feel like you

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have to go so far back, but actually all of the pieces fit together.

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They really do. And it's important to reflect and

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be able to pinpoint those moments as well. Yeah, definitely.

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And, yeah, thank you. I really love your story. And before we talk a little

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bit more about what makes sort of ladina yoga different,

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I'd love to know. So when you had the idea, what was

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the. I know that obviously your products are, you designed them

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manufactured in Madagascar. Was that the idea from the start

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or did you just know you wanted to create products that were different, that

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were more natural to what we traditionally to get on the market here?

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I think the idea definitely evolved and it's okay

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actually to evolve all the time. But yeah, the main

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idea was create an eco friendly brand that

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involved african art and that involved also different

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materials that are widely used in the current yoga

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world. I also work with

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artists in Kenya, so definitely did not think about that

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at first. I always thought, you know, I want to put a

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light on malagasy artists. I did not really think about the rest

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of Africa. That kind of like, just happened naturally.

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But, yeah, it did. It did evolve with time. Also, as

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I did a bit of more of a market research, see what kind of things

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people are interested in. And weirdly, I

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actually started launching yoga accessories

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before yoga mat, which kind of is the opposite of what people do

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in yoga brand, because usually people launch yoga mats,

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which is the accessory that people use the most and the first thing that you

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buy when you practice yoga. I started with a yoga bag. I started with

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meditation christians because

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I did not know how to make a yoga mat. So I started

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with what I knew and the resources that were available around me,

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but it did end up working. That's really good. And it makes sense

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totally what you're saying about evolving and you were saying that you did market research

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and you spoke to people. And I think that those are all really good reasons

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to evolve and adapt from your original idea, because

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I think often we have an idea, but it's just the

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seed, it's the start, and then you need all that input to make it

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what it is. Absolutely. And I think sometimes

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deep down, you might know the ending

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that you want, but you might not be able to articulate it. So maybe

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all the work that you're doing for I don't know how many months or years,

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and pivoting is actually leading you to that point that you already knew you

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were going to get. You just didn't know how to envision it or articulate

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that vision. Yeah, I feel a little bit like that. When you

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shared your story about how you started up, actually, that's how that

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story seems to me like it seemed like you were going to get there, you

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were going to have your own business. It was just the steps in

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between. Yeah, 100%. So let's

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talk a little bit about your yoga products and what makes them different from others

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on the market. Yeah. So one thing

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to note is that all products are either designed or handmade by

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african artists. So I also design some of the products,

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but I collaborate with african artists to do that as

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well. So I try to shine a light on, for example, our

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meditation cushions, which are made of an organic fiber, which is what we call

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Rafia. I unfortunately do not have one, like, right next to

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me, otherwise I would have shown you one. So it's a very. It's

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a traditional art that's existed for a really long time, and

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that helps you create jobs in Madagascar. So I focus

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on also paying the artist fairly

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for their work. There was actually, I

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think, a documentary or an article that came out, and you find

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it again on the news article saying that a lot of african

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artists were being paid really low for producing those

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kind of exactly the same handmade raffia

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material that companies like Maison du

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Monde or Zara home were

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exporting because they were paid really low

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and they were selling them for a really cheap price. So that's definitely something I

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do not want to do. It's beautiful art. It's precious art. It

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comes with a story with a unique

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perspective, and it has to be rewarded

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fairly. Also, it's durable, so that definitely counts for

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something. The other thing is, yes, on top of

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raffia, we also use other eco friendly

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materials. So our yoga mats are made of natural rubber. There's no

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pvc, nothing toxic. Our

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yoga bags and bolsters are made of organic

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cotton, and then the bolsters are filled with uk

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grown organic buckwheat tools. So I work with a

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farm here which sends buckwheat holes, and then I manually,

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like, fill the cushions, which can get really messy. And thank God I have a

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good hoover. But, yeah, it's fun.

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The other thing also is that we plant a mangrove

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tree for every yoga mat sold, and we plant

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that tree in Madagascar, because Madagascar is also the fourth most

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deforested country in the world. People think that Madagascar

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is this beautiful, exotic island, but there's a lot more than

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that. You know, we have forest disappearing. The amount of

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greenery that we had in the past is not there anymore. So definitely needs to

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do something about that. And then lastly, I

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think it's about the culture that I'm trying to promote at Ladina yoga. So aside

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from sustainability, fair trade, working with african artists,

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for me, it was really important to make yoga accessible

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to others. So just coming from my own

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experience, I started practicing yoga as a student when I was

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1920. It's now been ten years or so,

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and I really struggled. I really struggled at the beginning, I didn't feel like I

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fit in. I didn't feel like the yoga world was for me. I

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wasn't wearing all the big brands,

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leggings, drinking that kale juice or bending

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backwards. I couldn't do that. Also, I had an injury. I still have an injury

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on my left arm, which meant that some poses will never be accessible to

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me. And also, being a person of color in a

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yoga class at that time, in 2010, there

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was not that many. So it felt really clicky. Whereas,

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you know, if I go to Madagascar today or even ten years ago, for

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me, the concept of, you know, color wasn't even there

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much because everyone was colorful.

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So I wasn't really aware of that yoga world. So I definitely don't want

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other people to feel like that. And I know it's an issue in the UK

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of yoga being very clicky still, even today,

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even though it's changing and it's better now. But I definitely wanted to

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cultivate that culture of everyone is welcome, regardless of where you come

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from, your background, your body, your race, your gender.

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And, yeah, so I try to educate people

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about what yoga is and what yoga can be and how you can

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adapt it to your own needs, your own body, etcetera.

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That's amazing. Thank you so much for explaining all of that. And so am I

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right in thinking you're still teaching your yoga classes as well? I'm still teaching?

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Yeah, not as often as before, sadly. But I still try to

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teach as much as I can. So at the moment, I'm teaching once a week.

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Yeah, I'm with you. I absolutely love yoga. And one of the things I

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love about it now, and I've been practicing yoga, I'm older than you for, I

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want to say, over 20. It is definitely over 20 years now. Amazing. And one

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of the things I love is how flexible it is in terms

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of you can do a practice that works for you

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and it doesn't matter necessarily if you're looking the right shape

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or. I have to say, I practice at home now because after

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2020, you know, I got into the practice in a home and

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I actually quite enjoy. Yeah. And I like the fact that I

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can. You know, sometimes you might want to do yoga because you need

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an energy boost, or sometimes you just might need to take it easy and

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care for yourself. Or do you see? I like

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it. It makes it way more accessible if you have, like, a home setup. And

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to be honest, all you need is a mat, maybe a couple of blocks, and

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you can use pillows instead of a bolster or even your carpet instead of a

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mat. There's so many classes available online on YouTube

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now for free as well, so it definitely makes it more

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accessible. Whereas, like before, COVID online

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yoga was a weird thing. It wasn't considered as

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cool or comfortable. It was considered as a pain, actually. Nobody wanted

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to do it. But I think having it online also breaks down some of

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that clickiness you were talking about, that if you're wanting to try yoga, but maybe

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you're a bit self conscious or you're not sure if it's,

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you know, if it's for you, I think it. And even if. Or even if

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you do like that aspect, although saying that, I suppose the downside to that is

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you don't know. You know,

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there's a danger that maybe you could maybe get injured because you're perhaps

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not sort of aligned correctly or something. So I guess

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there's pros and cons. Absolutely. Yeah. I think there's different

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sides to it, because if you're a complete beginner and you've never done yoga before

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and you try online, like anything, you might

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hated all of it, right? And if you don't have a teacher

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there to help you, make you feel safe, adjust you,

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it can be a bit hard. And if you don't like it, then you might

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give up for good and never come back to it just because of one bad

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experience. And to be honest, that can happen in a studio as well,

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in person. But I also think that online

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yoga made it really accessible for anyone who wanted to

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try yoga to have a glimpse of what it could be. For example, I don't

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know if you know yoga with Adrienne, but that's what I do.

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Exactly. So she's amazing. She's made those really accessible

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30 day challenges that anyone can do at home.

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And I myself, because my

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practice was so on and off before I did my training, because I didn't

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feel comfortable in yoga studio. So for like a year or two

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before I went to India, I practiced at home. I

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found this person called Erin Mods. So she

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was leading. Her brand was called Bad Yogi, and I loved her

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brand because it was all about being a bad yogi, so not fitting

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into the mold. So I followed her program and it was

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amazing because I could do everything from home. But then

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I got to India and then I realized I didn't know half of the

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things. I didn't really focus on the

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poses or proper alignment. And until someone actually adjusted

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me, I had no idea what the pose could look like or could feel

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like. So I think it's two pieces of the coin. Right.

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Obviously, like, you have to think about your comfort, your

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safety, your needs, but maybe mixing it up

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with an in person class as well. Yeah,

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definitely. And I have to say, I practiced. I practiced

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with teachers for a very long time before I switched to

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at home practice because I've reached a level where I sort

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of felt that comfortable. You could do it independently. Yeah.

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But of course, I think when you start, that's different. But I still do like

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to go to in person classes as well because there is something nice about being

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in the room with. For people. There is? Yeah. It's a good energy and

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it feels like being part of something together as well.

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Yeah. Let's talk a bit more about your products, if

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that's okay. And I would love to talk a little bit about the logistics

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of how you design and create and

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manufacture and ship your products because as you mentioned, some of your

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products, you know, you're designing here in the UK, and then you have artists in

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Madagascar, in Kenya, and then there's the

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manufacturing. And how are you managing that? Because

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logistically, that feels. It feels difficult.

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Honestly. It is really difficult. It is really tough. And I did not think about

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that when I launched the company.

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So some of the designs are made

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by me, some of the design made by african artists.

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So whenever I would make a design, I would then, you

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know, send it to my artists in Madagascar, to maybe

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replicate it. If it's like meditation cushions, for example,

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if it's like a yoga mat, it would be either me or, again,

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african artist. So a lot happens, you know,

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online in Africa, Facebook is widely used. Everyone

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has Facebook rather than WhatsApp. So that's how

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we communicate with people. Another thing is

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things in Africa are, like, much slower than in the

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UK. You know, in the UK, I'm used to, you know, grab a cab, order,

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deliver, and then speed, speed, speed. Everything is organized,

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you know, what you're expecting. Whereas, for example, in

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Madagascar, our motto is muramura, which means

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slowly, slowly. So just thinking that

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in mind, you know, it's a bit more chilled,

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which means that I have to take into account, you know, if I want to

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plan a product launch, I would

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probably add one or two more months than I had originally, originally planned, because

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anything can go wrong. And when you think about, you know, the time it takes

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to prototype, test the product,

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ship it, prepare the packaging, do the photoshoot, and then launch,

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I think it can take a good three to four months,

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and that's usually at the start. So if I'm making a

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new product, for example, if I'm making a new meditation cushion,

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that's how long it would take. But then once I know my supplier, once I

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know the artist I'm working with, once we have a good relationship, then

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it becomes a little bit more efficient. That process can

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be shortened down a little bit, but obviously,

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shipping still takes time, for example.

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So it really depends. But, yeah, it's not, it's really not

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easy. And I remember at first,

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I used to bring the products in my

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suitcase from Madagascar to London, and I used to

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store them at home because I didn't have a storage room. I didn't have enough

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clients anyway, enough customers. Now, as we grew,

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you know, I worked with a shipping company in Madagascar that,

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with whom, like, I have good deals now because of

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regular shipment as well. And I now got a storage

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room down the road from, from where I live, which is really, really handy.

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But, yeah, I think when

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you're local to Africa or Madagascar, it definitely helps

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because you get the people to trust you,

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you get to talk to people, and it's really important about being

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hands on. It's not like in Europe or in the UK,

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where you can contact a supplier online, order

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online, they get the sample delivered to you.

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And I feel like at least in, you have to

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meet the person face to face, you have to go to the

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market, you have to explore different options, you have to negotiate,

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you have to have that conversation, get to know more about them,

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which is a completely different culture, a completely different process. And

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that whole thing takes more time.

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But it's worth it. It's worth it because at the end of the day, I

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know that the people that I work with

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really put a lot of

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talent. They bring their uniqueness, they bring their

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own perspective, motivation. They can give me ideas as

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well and they really want to do it, they really want to be part of

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it. And I know that I'm

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helping them, too. So it's like, yeah, it's

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teaming up with people who want you to succeed and at the same

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time, I want them to succeed as well. So I think that's what makes

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the best partnership in making them understand

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how is a product going to be used? Because yoga in Madagascar or in Africa

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is not that widely practiced. So I remember the first

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time I asked for a prototype

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of a meditation cushion and a bolster with a yoga bolster, which is

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a long pillow. But I remember

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the woman I was working with, my first artist, she had no idea how it

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would be used. So, you know, the design

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might come with like a different handle that I wanted or a different

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zip. And I was like, no, actually this is going to be used, you know,

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to unzip the lining and this is how it's going to be filled. And she

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was like, okay, well, you need a bigger zip then, or you need like a

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stronger handle. So, yeah. And in those cases,

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you need to be face to face, I think so. Luckily,

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I get to visit my family once or twice in Madagascar, which means I get

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to meet my team in person. So at the beginning I needed to stay for

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quite a while to be there, look at the prototypes, and then with

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time, I can handle those relationships online.

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And then every time I travel to. Madagascar, it sounds

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like the relationships are so important. They really are.

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I think, you know, everyone is busy,

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so if you don't keep with those relationships, if

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you don't entertain those relationships and, you know, ask,

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it's just like it's having a team, you know, you ask about their lives, you

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ask about what's going on, how can I help you? What do you need,

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what's working, what's not working, how do you enjoy that? Do you think

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we can do this differently? And

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there's definitely an element of trust because not being in the

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same physical location as your team involves a lot of trust,

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involves a lot of, okay, well, who's going to do my quality control?

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Do I need to wait until I go to Malaysia to do my quality control,

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or am I trusting that I have that process set up before?

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So, yeah, definitely, definitely need to entertain

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those relationships and a lot of care and trust

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as well. Thank you. Thank you for explaining

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that. I think relationships are always important, but I guess because

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you're different, countries different, I think it's slightly different time

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zones that I can see that, yeah, there's

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even more of a need than if you're working with someone in the UK just

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up the road, for example, because there's a lot more that. I think

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there's a lot of benefits, but also there's probably a lot more potential for things

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to go wrong. I'm not saying things do, but I. Can see that there's,

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yeah, 100%. Also,

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nobody knows your products the way you do. Nobody

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has that vision in their mind the way you do. So it's important to

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be as articulate and as specific as

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possible. And I think also that's

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how my job in engineering really helps, because

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it helped me to really write down the

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requirements. So what does my product look like? What does it need to

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have? How big is the handle supposed to be?

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How much buckwheat wool is supposed to

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fit? How does the inner lining fit into

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the COVID How big do I need to make that inner lining for the

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COVID to fit? How tough the zip needs

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to be? How do I measure and test that? So I think,

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yeah, there's definitely. It's good to see that correlation

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between my engineering job and my business

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and how it helps me as well. I definitely didn't

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realize that before, as. You said, that I've realized what an advantage

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that is because I've worked. I used to have my own brand

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of products, and one of the things I found really, really key

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was giving such a tight specification that was so

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specific that there wasn't room, because I worked with an overseas supplier

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as well, and I found that the more specific I could be,

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the better the outcome. But I think not

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having that engineering background, there were definitely things that I missed that I'm sure

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that the specifications and what you're coming up with, I'm sure

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are so specific. But that's extremely helpful for everyone because

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everyone you're working with wants to do a good job and they want to

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produce what you want. So I think you're definitely helping everyone by

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being very precise in terms of what your product's made,

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of, how it's constructed. Yeah, it really helps. And I think even

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in the future, hopefully, if and when I have a team,

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it'd be good to already have those processes in place and those

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product requirements and everything

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explained or mapped down somewhere so that it's really easy to

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anyone to onboard and say, oh, okay, that's how this is made. That's how we're

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going to continue doing that. Oh, that's how we can modify this.

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And I am the kind of person who has a lot of ideas

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at the same time, but I also love to map them,

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which is good and bad, because I love taking the time to map

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ideas. Maybe too much time. But I know that in the long term,

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if I ever need to reflect on something, I know where that's stored, I

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know where to find it, I know how I can modify it and how to

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link it to something else. So that's always really handy. Sometimes it

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takes time to implement those processes, but

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it really helps for the long term as well. And also, like,

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when it comes to explaining a product, having a sketch or

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a picture to show your team is always

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helpful. Yeah, absolutely. And so

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you mentioned that you still have your engineering role. Talk

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to us a bit about how you're growing your business

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alongside your full time engineering role as well.

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It's really tough. It's really tough. It's been, well, three years

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now. Let me know. You guys going to turn three? So after that year of

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COVID teaching yoga, working on the brand, I went

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back into engineering in 2021.

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And the first year was really tough because I

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was back into engineering. I was working on my brand. I launched a

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brand and I burned out. I

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burnt out. I was spending too much time on the screen. I wasn't

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taking care of myself. I was still teaching yoga four or five times a

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week. So I was doing three jobs at the same time. And it's, you know,

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it's really ironic coming from a yoga teacher to not

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take some rest. But, yeah, it's still a business.

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And that really taught me to break down

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my goals into micro level so that

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those big goals will become easier. So

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now I have, like,

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my big plan. So I plan my goals in quarters, and then I break those

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goals into, okay, what's my goals for the month? What's my goals for the week?

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And then every week I would reflect on my goal. Every day I would

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have a plan. And then sometimes I like to not follow the plan

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because if it's too strict, if it's too mapped, if it's too

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scheduled, then it kind of takes the funnel out of it. So on

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some days, I like to be like, you know what, I don't care. I know

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roughly what I need to do anyway. And I would just focus on

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what I enjoy doing right now because I want to maintain that

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notion of fun. And then when it comes to my full time

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job, it's actually a little bit easier this year because I've gone down

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to part time, which gives me a lot more time to work on laden and

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yoga. But the first two years, yeah, they were really hard. And then

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I remember a friend told me, because I was complaining

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about sales being slow in the first year, and I thought that I would just

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have to launch the website, sit back, and that orders would come in

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and I had no idea what I needed to do. I didn't know about

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going to markets, I didn't know about wholesale pr.

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I just thought, oh, people will notice and people will contact me and it

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would just fall from the sky. And then this friend

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told me, take 2 hours, 2

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hours every day, put them in your calendar, make sure that

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you do those 2 hours every day. If you can do more, great, just take

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time for yourself as well. But as long as you do 2 hours, you should

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see an improvement, you should see things happening.

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And that really stuck. And then from 2

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hours it went to 3 hours or working weekends, but I

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just maintained the consistency. And yeah,

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some weekends I do not work, or some evenings I do not work because I

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do not feel like it. I don't want to force myself, but I know that

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the next day I will come back to it, I will be efficient and I

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will get things done. So I think it's about having that balance

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of what do I need to do, what do I feel like, what's

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priority as well. So, yeah, I realized it's about consistency, it's

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about working with your energy. So really

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respecting your energy and your mood, your energy

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level, there will always be priority.

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It has to be done. So unfortunately, being

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a solo founder means that sometimes you have to

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prioritize those, you have to respond to an email, sometimes

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when you feel a bit low or when you feel a bit sick.

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And I think now that I'm part time, that's

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much easier. But I know that the first two years it really wasn't. And I

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also had to give up teaching yoga because of that, because I couldn't do

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everything. And I think another aspect of

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that is the ego. I

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definitely, it was hard to admit

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that I couldn't do everything because I love doing a lot of things at the

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same time and I love thinking that I can, but actually I can't.

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And that realization for me was tough,

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but also powerful, because it helped me to focus so

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on. Now I'm back to teaching yoga, but I'm back to teaching once a week,

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and I know I can do that because I'm now part time with my work.

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So I had to really rethink about my priorities.

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The other thing about having a full time job, and I was reflecting that the

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other day, is I always thought that the

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aim was to grow my business enough so that

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I could quit my full time job. But recently I've been thinking,

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now that I'm part time, I'm really enjoying my engineering

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job. And I equally love Ladina yoga.

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I love being able to use my creative side of my brain and the

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logical side of my brain, and I don't know if I will

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stop working in engineering because I also love it so much

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and because it teaches me so many skills. I can also apply at Medina

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yoga. And this can be controversial, right? Because

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all the advice that you hear, you know, on TikTok or on

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YouTube, is this is what you need to do to quit your nine to five.

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And I've thought about that for a long time, but now I'm thinking,

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well, I enjoy my nine to five. I enjoy my half, half of

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my nine to five when I have it, because I know it's temporary, as

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in it's part time. I know I'm enjoying the people I work with.

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I know that I enjoy coming up with solutions, contributing to society,

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contributing to the future in engineering.

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And it also helps me to speak to

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customers at Ladina Yoga. It helps me to know how to pitch

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a project or a proposal. It helps me to think logically, it helps

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me to, you know,

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there's a lot of transferable skills. Managing people, for

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example, is one of them. And I feel like in my business,

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because it's so close to my identity, to my

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ego, because Ladina yoga is part of my

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cultures, it's, you know, it's mediocre as well. So it's a lot by my

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identity, it's my baby, which means that sometimes I can think about it in a

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very emotional way. But my full time

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job, my part time job, now, engineering side has taught me

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to also detach and

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look at it from a logical way, take logical decisions, not

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just emotional decisions, which is still something

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that I'm trying to find my balance with.

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But yes, it's an interesting evolution, because I

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didn't think I would ever say, well, I want to keep working in

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engineering. I think it's really good to hear you say that,

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because you're right. A lot of people start up

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product businesses alongside a full time job or a part time job

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with the goal being one day that's their full time income.

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And I don't hear many people say, do you know what? I don't think I

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want that, actually. I think I want to do both of these things. And I

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think that's a really positive thing because

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you're making the decision that works for you rather than just going with

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what, I don't know. The Internet tells us we should be aspiring

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for, and if you're enjoying both and they're fulfilling and

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why not? I actually think it's. I actually think

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that maybe things are changing a bit. When I used to, when I started this

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podcast, sometimes I would speak to people who would be running a business

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alongside their job, but often that was

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something they didn't want to talk about. They wanted to give the

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impression, perhaps, that the business was their full

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time. They weren't comfortable with talking about, actually, I do this and I do

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this, but I've definitely noticed in the last couple of years more people

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saying, actually, I do this, but I'm also a teacher, or I do

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this, but I also have a corporate role. And I think the more that

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we talk about it, it's really helpful because it lets people see that actually, you

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don't have to aspire to be something because you think you have to be

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it. You can create the business and the

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life that works for you. Yeah, I 100% agree with

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that. And I think it shows people all the

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different ways you can create a business as well and all the different

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faces of life. I think people hesitate or

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business owners hesitate to talk about it because it might make their

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community feel like they're not 100% involved or

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100% focused. And that's definitely something

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that I feared as well. But I talk

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about it a little bit more now because I know that my

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job as in engineering also influences the amount of

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time that I can give to my business or show up on my instagram stories,

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for example, which I really struggle with.

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But, yes, I think people appreciate when you show

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them the fool you. So being authentic as

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possible, being as honest as possible, is so important. Like,

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for example, I know that there's been

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brands that I admired, and I always thought, how do they do this?

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How are they so good at it? And it's

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only after they gave an interview or went to a podcast or

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posted something on social media that I realized, oh, my God, okay.

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They also, you know, work a full time job at the same time. And

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that reframes the whole story in my mind, because you actually

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never know what someone is going through, what someone is doing in the background. You

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know, maybe they're having some personal issues. When someone has a business,

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it's not just 100% because we still

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have life going on, we still have other things going on.

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So, yeah, I think it's. It's hard to understand

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the full scope of that. So being

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transparent, I'm not saying, you know, tell your whole life to

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people, but being a little bit more transparent about what you

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do can help with

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your interaction with your community.

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Absolutely. And I think, as you said, it's whatever it is

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that you're doing. So I give it. To give an example, I

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work around my children because I have two school aged children. They're still quite

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young. And for a long time, I didn't say to people, oh, I can't do

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calls at 04:00 because we have swimming lessons, or, I can't do this because I

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have school pickup. I used to say I'm not available,

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but I didn't used to say why? Because like you said, I used to

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think people will think I'm not committed to this. But now

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I've got to the point where I think, and I think this not just about

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myself, but about any small business owner, that if you're running your business

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alongside a job, a family, whatever your brother commitments

Speaker:

are, if anything, you're more passionate because presumably you

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don't have to be doing both, especially if you have a full time

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role, you have your income, you don't have to be choosing to do something else

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on the side. You're doing that because you want to. So for me, I think

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it actually shows, yeah, that person is very committed because

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they're making the choice to add something, which arguably

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takes up more time, maybe gives you more stress. So I actually think

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it's a real positive. That's a good point, actually. I did not

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think about that. But I can relate to

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your story about not telling people that you had to

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pick up your kids and live early.

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Not similarly, but maybe in the other way. I

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did struggle at the beginning when I came back into engineering after

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teaching yoga. After my sabbatical, I struggled to tell people at work

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that I was a yoga teacher and that I took a sabbatical. Even though sabbaticals

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are very accepted nowadays, it's very normal. So many people take a

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sabbatical, but I struggled to tell people that I was teaching yoga for a

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year. And because it had nothing to do with engineering,

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and when I finally did, someone in my team told me, well,

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we're looking for a well being lead. Do you want to be the well being

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lead? And I thought, oh, my God, I never thought people

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would think about that or, you know, accept me like that, in a

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way. And then I led the

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wellbeing initiatives for a year. So I started implementing yoga and

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meditation sessions, and people were totally open to

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it. And again, it had nothing to do with engineering, and I made that story

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in my head myself. But, yeah, sometimes

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we don't know how people are going to react, but maybe, what if we

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tried? Yeah, you're right. And I think often

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people can surprise you. And it's funny, the opportunities that can come just

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by people finding out something about you that

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maybe they didn't know. And I've certainly had that in life

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before where I've been talking to someone, and then you have this realization, oh, you

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do this. I had no idea you taught yoga, or you or

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whatever the thing is. And I think that's it's just so nice to learn

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about people. And I think in general, people are really open to finding

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out more about us. Yeah. You know,

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there's a great book about it, which is called the multi hyphen

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method by Emma Ganon. That's

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a book that I read, actually, around the time

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I took my sabbatical, just before that. That really taught me that it's

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okay to do multiple things. So that's what the

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author calls being a multi hyphen. So you can be, for

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example, a doctor and a photographer or

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an engineer and a yoga teacher. Like, there's so many examples like that nowadays.

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But I think getting to the point where you accept that

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it's okay and it's fine to have different

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hobbies or different income streams or different, you know,

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businesses or whatever that have nothing to do with one another, that's

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when you start liberating yourself from,

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I don't know, I guess. I guess, like, your beliefs or what you

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thought in your mind was true. Yeah. I'm going to take a look at that

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book because that sounds really interesting. And I. I can. I really

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like that. I mean, I feel like it's something that maybe. So when

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you talk to a child, I know when I talk to my children, my daughter

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will say, oh, I'm going to be this and this, you know, I'm going to

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be a pop star and a teacher, and I'm going to have a cafe. You

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know, you know, all of the things. But I think

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when you get to, I think that kind of gets drummed out of us as

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we get older. When we're little, we think we can do anything and be anything,

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and then somehow I think we lose that. So

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I think it's good to embrace everything

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it is. And there's so much to discover in life as well.

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So it would be sad just to focus

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on one thing. Or maybe if you are so passionate about it, then,

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yeah, yeah. Amazing. Go for it. Do that single thing for your whole

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life and become an expert. That's also amazing, I guess.

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Yeah. I guess it means also that

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it's harder to be an expert on something if

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you end up doing those multi hyphens and a lot of

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them in your lifetime. I think so, too. But I think it's

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nice to think that to have the freedom where you have the freedom, because not

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everyone does, but if you do, to have the freedom to choose to say,

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I'm going to do this, and this is going to be my career and my

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life and my vacation, or to say, actually, I'm going to try lots of different

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things, whether that's different roles or different

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country, whatever it is, I think that it's

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nice if you are able to. To be able to decide, okay, this is

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what works for me. And to do that.

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Yeah. And I think that's why having role models or

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people to look to really helps. Because often

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until someone hasn't done it before you, you might not do it.

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Because we have a tendency as humans to compare ourselves or look up to

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others, which can be good or bad, I guess, because others can be a source

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of inspiration. So, you know, sometimes in those cases, it's good.

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But, yeah, even in engineering, for example,

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I didn't know anyone who was an engineer before I went into it, and I

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still did because I flipped a coin, actually. So that was not

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even. That was not even planned. But that's

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another. That's another topic. But, yeah, having role

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models, people to look up to, people who've done similar things that you would like

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to do, and then maybe meeting those people or contacting those people, asking them to

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become your mentor or asking them for advices that can

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always make you more

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inspired or motivate you to go down that route as well.

Speaker:

Yeah, that's really good advice. Thank you. And thank you for talking about

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all of this because I think, like you say, it really helps to be very.

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To be open because it will inspire people. And I

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don't know if you found when you started in engineering, I know that for a

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long time there weren't many. And I'm assuming there still aren't as many women as

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men in engineering. Am I correct in that assumption? You're very correct.

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So I think even that, you know, you will be, you know, there will

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be women and girls who see you as a role model because you're women in

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engineering. And then I think to talk about, as well as being your

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engineering role, also teaching yoga. So something completely different.

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I think it just helps people see what the possibilities

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are. 100%. Yeah, it's funny, actually, because I just

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realized in engineering or stem,

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there is a lack of women, and then in

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yoga, it's actually the opposite. There's a lot more women than

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men. And so it's interesting to be part of those two

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different industries, not just because of the type of activity, but also

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the type of people you meet. So,

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for example, in engineering, yes, you'll be more male dominated and

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more, you know,

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logical. Mathematic people have like

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a mathematic, mathematic mind, mathematical mind. Sorry,

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not sure if I'm pronouncing that well. And then in yoga, you would have people

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who are more focused on self care, being

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yourself, self improvement, which are

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two different areas, but also so

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interesting. So it's really nice to be able to be part of those two

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different communities in a way, because

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they're both interesting. Yeah, I can definitely

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see that. Well, thank you. And thank you for talking about all of this.

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Now, I've got one final question before we finish, if that's okay. And

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obviously you shared so much with us, but so,

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last one, it might be a tough one. What was your number one piece of

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advice? Be for other product creators?

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I actually have a lot of advice, but if I have to

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tailor it down to one, I would say,

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don't hesitate to ask for the help

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I did for a long time because I thought I could learn everything by

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myself. I don't need anyone to help me. I'm the founder.

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I can do this. And again, that was my ego and that was my

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pride coming into it. And that actually

Speaker:

would slow me down from making progress because

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I can't learn everything by myself. So if you can

Speaker:

ask for help, do that training,

Speaker:

message that person, ask that mentor to mentor

Speaker:

you, and that's going to speed

Speaker:

up your business so much

Speaker:

more than, you know, thinking you can learn it by yourself. There might be

Speaker:

small things that you can learn by yourself, but when it's something that, for

Speaker:

example, really scares you or make you feel

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like you're making too slow of a progress, then maybe it's

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time to ask for the help. Yeah, I think

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that would be my biggest advice. That's really good. Thank you.

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And I think, yeah, asking for help and asking for advice as well, because I

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think, like you say, you don't have to pick everything out yourself. There's

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so many resources out there and so many people I think are willing to help.

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You were talking earlier about if someone inspires you, someone who's maybe had

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a similar path, maybe they meant to you. And I think a lot of people,

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obviously time is a factor, but I think most people are happy

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to help, to give advice and to do what they can.

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I think so, yeah. Because helping people also makes you feel good

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about yourself. And we often think

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that I'm not going to bother them or they might

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be too busy, but actually the response might be completely

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different and they might be so open to helping you, they just need

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another email chaser. That's it. Because they were busy and then your email got

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lost or your message got lost in their inbox.

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So, yeah, chasing people is also really

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important. Yeah. And I think in life it's always just

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good to ask because I think the worst you can get is a no. And

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I mean, even coming back to this podcast, I think you reached out to me

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and said, I'd love to be on your podcast. And I said, yes. And

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I actually, I actually really like it when people ask.

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The worst I'm ever going to say is no, you're not a good fit. But

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actually, it's nice to be asked. It's, you

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know, it works both ways. I think it's quite flattering when

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someone asks, you know, kind of, could I ask your advice or

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can I come on your podcast or could you help me with something? Because,

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yeah, I think that a lot of us are maybe hesitant, but I think

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people in general like to be asked for help as well. So I think

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it works both ways. Yeah, I think it shows,

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it shows interest and it shows respect as well.

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And the fact that that person, you know, put their,

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again, I'm going to come back to it, ego and pride aside, and said, you

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know what, I'm just going to reach out to them. I'm going to wait for

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them to reach out to me. So it means that I

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think everybody's back to our previous conversation, that they're dedicated. They

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want to make the first step and go for

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it. Yeah. And also coming back to something you were talking

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about earlier, connection. And so relationships is so important. And

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it's really nice to have a relationship with someone to reach out and connect

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with you. I think these are all things that benefit everyone.

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Yeah, no, 100%, I think. Yeah. Like

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yoga as well. It's all part of building a community,

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I think. I didn't realize that as well when I launched the brand. I didn't

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realize how much work it would take

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to find, well, first tailor down

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to my LDL market, but then, like, find the people

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who would ideally be part of that community and

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then connect, keep connecting with that community. Because I think

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the world that we live in nowadays, people like to feel

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part of something. People like to belong. There's so much, there's

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so many things out there, and there's also so much loneliness

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that people value trust, they value

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connection, they value community. And it's

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also, I think, very innate. As human beings, we like

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connections. We need connections, and we thrive on it.

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Oh, thank you so much, Maysun, thank you so much for everything that you've shared.

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Thanks so much for having me, Vicky. It's been such a great conversation. I really

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had a good time, and me too. Thank you so much. Thanks. Have a lovely

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day. Thank you so much for listening. Right to the

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end of this episode, do remember that you can get the fullback catalogue and lots

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of free resources on my website, vickiwineberg.com. Please do

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remember to rate and review this episode if you've you enjoyed it and also

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share it with a friend who you think might find it useful. Thank you again

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and see you next week.