I am not here to sell you yoga pants.
It’s time for an expose. As a relatively intelligent consumer, I am aware that my buying power is valuable. I am a millennial female, gainfully (self) employed and willing to spend my hard earned cash on everything from vacations to yoga pants to kombucha… and companies want my dolla dolla bills, yo. And they want yours.
I know this. You know this. And we all know that advertising is a huge part of brand strategy. We grudgingly accept that companies are competing for our time, attention, and money – and sometimes they get it. When they do, we click-click-covet-drool over whatever item has been so carefully curated to capture our lust.
And a big part of these curations is the unspoken influence, the subtle power of someone that you recognize or admire endorsing or promoting a product. It’s true. It influences me, and I bet it influences you.
Disclaimer: I have done this.
I have promoted a brand in exchange for product, both for personal use and for the benefit of my students and followers. Through challenges, IG posts, blog posts, I will consciously promote brands that I believe in and I will accept the gain (if any) that comes from said promotions. That being said, sometimes I don’t like the system. Hence this rant.
Let’s talk about WHY we are influenced in this way. Ultimately, I think it’s out of a desire for belonging. We see the “cool kids” wearing a certain brand as they execute a perfect handstand on a tropical beach, and some part of our mind tells us that if we buy that brand, we too will be able to balance elegantly on our hands as a salty breeze blows the wind through our hair. We too will be living the dream.
It’s ok, you know. It’s ok to talk about it. It’s ok to acknowledge that this is going on and word vomit about everything that bugs us about it and then take a deep breath and let it go.
Here’s the deal: I want to promote brands that I believe in. Small start-ups, conscious companies, environmentally friendly campaigns, female entrepreneurs, ambitious millennial dreamers, yogis with both heart and chutzpah to build their own businesses – I want to work with all of you.
If you are selling soda, chemical-laden beauty products, clothing sewn by children in impoverished countries, addictive junk food, PLASTIC PLASTIC PLASTIC, I don’t want to work with you. I don’t want to put on a fake smile and hold your product and put it into a little square box and tell the world that I love it, and to buy it, and it’s awesome.
I don’t want to be a liar.
And because I don’t want to be a liar, I am pouring these words onto the page and trusting that it means something to be transparent. It means something to tell people the truth. It’s tempting, it really is. There are times that I feel like accepting an offer to promote or endorse something because it would really help me pay the bills. And this is not just me – EVERY inspiring person you follow on instagram – every “influencer” with a large following – they are being constantly contacted, targeted, teased and tempted by the offer of money, exposure, or product.
Sometimes the offer is particularly tempting – a large sum of money, or a monthly stipend… security. Peace of mind. Financial gain. And most of these influencers have been brave enough to launch their own brand, to forge their own path, and that is a huge part of why they inspire. But with that risk comes instability – and sometimes it seems like an easy out to just work with the Walmarts of the world if it means there will be food on the table.
I sometimes read blogs or Instagram posts mocking or bashing influencers who host challenges, promote certain brands, or have “sold out” the “real yoga” in exchange for something commercial, something plastic, something fake. Sometimes these posts hurt my feelings when I read too much into them, when I let myself identify with their subject. Have I sold out? If I have, I gotta tell you, I didn’t charge enough for that sale.
I started my own business and went full force with it in early 2014. I did not expect to become an “influencer.” I simply wanted to inspire people to practice yoga, to explore the world, and to get on or in the water. Yoga. Surf. Adventure. Dreams. Those were, and still are, my missions.
I am extremely grateful for EVERYONE who has supported and continues to support Stoked Yogi – whether you are a conscious company or an aware consumer – I am so thankful that you are here with us. THANK YOU to the companies who believe in the Stoked Yogi brand, in our lifestyle and ethos. Thank you for your generosity. We appreciate you.
It is the desire of my heart to continue to be HONEST with you as you read this blog, as you attend our classes, as you peruse the galleries of images on Instagram or Pinterest. I don’t give a crap what kind of pants you wear. I don’t care if you never ever ever buy anything that we promote – or anything that we sell. It’s ok with me if you never have the money to come to a yoga retreat.
I want you to read. I want you to dream and be inspired. Most of all, I want you to LIVE. Take the inspiration you find here and go out into the world and practice yoga. Dance with your children. Hug your friends. Run with your dog. Hike the wild outdoors. Kiss your partner. Dive into any pool of water that strikes your fancy. Feed your body to fuel it, and as an act of gratitude to mother Earth for all the nourishment she provides. Breathe deeply the air that blesses our lungs and allows us to live in this moment. Live. Live. Live.
And if you want the yoga pants, buy them. But not because I told you to. Buy them because it’s still not legal to walk around bare-bottomed, and you just really freaking love colored spandex.
Tags: consumerism, instagram, stoked yogi, yoga, yogalebrity