Hello Jivani. Thank you for having this conversation. We would love to know a bit more about Beinks, how it started, who the people behind are, what Beinks’ strategies to grow in the yoga mat industry. So let’s get started!
Summary of Contents
Beinks is an interesting name. What does Beinks mean?
Beinks /biː’ɪŋks/ means “be colors”. It is also the pun of “beings”, meaning Existence, Life. Simply put, Beinks is Colors of Life, which is beautifully presented and connected in many forms.
Established in 2016 in Australia, Beinks is proud to bring our good-quality yoga mats to yogis around the globe. Our quality yoga mats will be one of the best tools for your practice and help connect the real inner beauty inside you.
Would you share with us a little bit about yourself. What is your Background?
Jivani: Just a bit of my background to confuse you, I grew up in Vietnam, spent more than a decade in Singapore, and now settle in Melbourne, Australia with my French gentleman and 2 lovely kids.
My yoga journey started in 2011. Two years later, in 2013, I made my way to India for teacher training course and have taught yoga for a couple of years since then.
I am perceived as a simple and authentic person who value real connections, true feelings and self-reflection. I am also an advocate for “almost vegan” lifestyle, with the main purpose of reducing killing and abusing animals as much as possible.
I feel honored to be part of Beinks team since day 1, and have the chance working with amazing people, creating beautiful and high quality products for yogis.
Who else are in Beinks team?
Jivani: We started with 3 members, and have expanded to 6 recently with 2 in Australia, 2 in Vietnam, 1 in France and 1 in Singapore.
We are a group of long-time friends who came from different parts of the world but the love of yoga and our youthful and kind energy brought us together. We have different personalities and cultural backgrounds, of course everybody does. But what really connects us, for years and decades, are our similar principles and values: ethics, integrity and kindness (and probably our similarly-crazy heads too).
As members of Beinks, we share the same view about the global environment, about the common space that we all share to live in, and about all the beings that we have connections with. Each of us plays a role of constant forces and reminders to each other that we should keep improving and changing for a better entity and better individuals to make Beinks a good companion to your yoga journey.
How did you come up with this business idea? Why yoga mats but not yoga studio or online teaching?
Jivani: We don’t need fancy things to do yoga. All we need is a yoga mat. I used to own an average yoga mat that is widely available in all supermarkets or convenient stores. The low quality of my first yoga mat didn’t really bother me at that time. The only thing I concerned was the fact that it was quite slippery and soft. As a result, I struggled quite a bit with some of the yoga postures that require good anchoring with hands and feet.
Until one day, I had a chance to practice on a high quality natural rubber yoga mat that totally convinced me that I should invest in a good yoga mat. After a few years of practicing on this natural rubber yoga mat, I started to develop some serious thought about how to introduce this kind of mat to more yogis. As a person with some business background, I had a strong sense that there would be a great demand for this type of natural yoga mat, and that it will be greatly appreciated by yoga practitioners.
What did you do to turn this idea into a real business?
Jivani: From ideas to execution, it took me another 2 years to research, plan and find the right people to make it happen.
We did a lot of research about yoga mat industry. We actually started in the yoga mat distribution before moving on to develop our brand Beinks, therefore we have a clear vision about the quality, the standard that we would like to have for Beinks yoga mats. We want Beinks mats to be as good and high-quality as the top key players in the industry.
As a rule of thumb, the quality of the product is the most important in all businesses. We have the same view. We understand that a good manufacturer makes a good product. Exploring and finding the right manufacturer is one of the most important things for our business. And we are glad that we have found the right one that can produce Beinks mats with premium quality.
How is the yoga mat industry? What are your competitors?
Jivani: Yoga mat industry is very competitive with a number of prominent players like Lululemon; Manduka; Jade Yoga; prAna; Hugger Mugger; Khataland; Liforme Ltd.; Dragonfly; Tomuno; and Alo Yoga.
Apart from these big names, there are hundreds of yoga mat brands that are currently running under personal names. If you are a popular yoga teacher, it is not difficult to develop your own brand for yoga products. Even easier with Chinese manufacturers joining the game, anyone can purchase 50 yoga mats with their personalized logo embedded.
So, what I am saying is that, yes, the yoga mat industry is highly competitive with all sorts of different players, ranging from huge companies to very small businesses. The quality of the products, as a result, also varies significantly.
What is special about Beinks? How do you market the brand in this competitive industry?
Jivani: Beinks is not a big brand like Jade, Manduka or Lululemon. We can’t compete with Manduka in terms of product variety. We can’t compete with Jade in terms of brand history and reputation. We can’t compete with Lululemon for its world-wide presense and excellent designs.
What we can do to stay relevant in this game, to still develop and grow is to stick to what we are doing the best:
- Quality products. This is what we have been doing since 2016. Our customers are happy and continue to support us. That is why we are still here, we are growing, and we are loved. In terms of quality, we are confident that we are on par with all the best yoga mats available in the current market. Many customers have used both other top brands and Beinks mats, and are satisfied with our yoga mat quality.
- Localization. What I mean here is Beinks aim to be more localized in each market, each country that we have the presence. Currently, we are focusing on Australia, France, Vietnam and Singapore. We speak the local languages, we sponsor the local events, we support the local teachers and the studios. As you might have noticed, our website is presented in different languages in order to be more approachable with the local communities.
- Logistics optimization. We don’t plan to branch everywhere, instead we are planning to be more centralized in a few markets with our local presence or key local partners. With this strategy, we would be able to optimize the logistics (i.e. the shipping cost, warehouses), which in return benefits the customers.
For example, due to our local presence in Vietnam, a customer based in Vietnam would be able to own this high quality natural rubber yoga mat with a reasonable price of $79 including shipping cost. This is significantly lower than purchasing a Manduka or Lululemon mat shipped all the way from the United States or United Kingdom.
What is the target customer of Beinks?
Jivani: Our target customers are yogis geographically located in Asia Pacific, especially in our 4 key markets mentioned above. Our target customers are also those humans who care for environments and believe in actions for change. They are generally young in spirit and like to take a different route instead of a main big road.
If you have to pick one yoga mat, which one would you recommend to yogis?
Jivani: b’EARTH yoga mat, definitely. It is our all-time favourite, super quality, practical for all types of yoga. You are gonna love it, like many people do.
What was the difficulty or challenge doing this business?
Jivani: It is the maintenance of the quality consistency. Natural rubber is a sensitive material, which is degraded when exposed to direct sunlight and humidity. Our yoga mats are made of 100% bio-degradable natural rubber. Different batches have slightly different quality because the natural rubber latex base is harvested and collected at different times, different seasons. There will be always a slight difference from batch to batch.
With PVC or other synthetic materials, it is easy to control the quality, as it is the same formula with the same chemicals. For natural rubber yoga mats, even with the same formula, the final result can be slightly different because the rubber base is naturally different each time we produce.
To maintain the quality across the batches, we have to ensure there are enough testing, monitors, quality controls before the final products reach the end users.
What have you learned or gained from doing this business?
Jivani: Never give up. Or at least, never give up so soon. The one who wins the race is the one who keeps walking with a steady mind and a happy smile. We will always see something interesting and beautiful along the way. That’s how we have learned from doing our business.
Thank you very much for your time and sharing. Wish you and Beinks all the best! We talk again soon.