Monday, February 28, 2011

Sticking to Your Guns; Skyler's Fall from Sustainable

Believing in yourself. Every year that goes by I truly think I have established my Self, my Beliefs and my confidence in who I am... and then I realize that it never really ends. In my teens my mom told me once that you couldn't pay her enough to be in her teens, twenties or early thirties again. I never quite understood until recently- although my early twenties were fun and I *thought* I had a handle on myself, I realize now I took crap then I never would now.

Standing for what you believe in and making decisions based on your beliefs and values is a difficult thing... especially when it comes to business. Many of us make compromises in our work. This is a story about how one yoga store owner stood up for her beliefs.

I've mentioned Skyler Clothing before: an exciting yoga clothing company based in Vancouver that makes all their clothing in Canada and even provides work programs for stay at home mom's who can't afford childcare to work from home. I was extremely pleased to discover them at Bhavana Yoga Boutique here in Halifax and was very pleased to find something other than the "Consciously formulated in Vancouver, made in China" bull found in Lululemon. Krista, the owner of Bhavana was also wonderful at fully supporting Skyler's line, their sweat-shop free guarantee fitting in very nicely with Bhavana's "Eco Lifestyle" mission.

A few months ago I randomly happened to see my first episode of "Dragon's Den" (a Canadian tv show with big business gurus that audition people's business ideas for potential investments). Standing there was the owner of Skyler Clothing. The "Dragons" as they call them, ripped her business apart. Ridiculing her for having boutiques and sustainable practices, they told her she needed to go online, make a profit or get out.

It had been months since I'd checked out Skyler's website and a quick look revealed that a lot had changed. Their look was completely different, a new logo and new format. Instead of a community feel, the website now had a decidedly "buy online" look and the owner's blog post confirmed that the Dragon's Den show had actually been filmed over a year prior- and she proudly stated they had listened to the DD's advice. The "about" section no longer mentioned anything to do with sustainability being a priority... so I decided to put a hold on purchasing anything until I found out more.

This weekend I was visiting Bhavana and spoke with Krista who had unfortunate news. Skyler had phoned her and was very excited about their new line... and the fact that they were closing down all their boutique's and factories in Vancouver and moving all production to China. Skyler has now joined the "Consciously formulated in Vancouver, Made in China" club.

Krista was shocked. After some conversation, Krista requested that all future Bhavana orders be canceled. Apparently, Bhavana has been the only boutique to respond this way.

I was so impressed with Krista's sincerity and conviction. Bhavana truly is a reflection of what she believes yoga is about and it shows. She investigates where products come from, calling Matt&Nat (twice actually) inquiring about how their vegan samsara line is produced (ethically in China, as the bulk of all recycled plastic is shipped their for processing), calling the Libre tea mug company to assure they are responsibly produced and bringing in clothing that is only made Sweat Shop Free in North America.

Despite that decision being an obviously difficult one for Krista, it really was inspiring to be reminded of how staying true to who you are is essential. Thank you Krista!

article copyright of EcoYogini at


  1. It is great to see someone sticking to their principles. If I were in Canada and purchasing "yoga clothing", I'd make it a point to patronize that store. I have to admit though, a whole store to sell yoga clothing - it surprises me that it could be successful. Aside from the fact that shorts or tights or other clothing that we alrady have can surely be worn to do yoga, yoga is not likely to wear the stuff out fast enough to generate repeat customers. But kudos anyway for avoiding that infuriating "desingned in ___ made in China" label.

  2. It is great to hear that Krista is sticking with her principles in a huge way. Standing up by not only talking the talk bur also walking the walk in a major way.

  3. The more I learn about products, foods, air and water, the more I find myself investigating everything! We have to take control of our world beginning with what we buy or use. This story is enlightening and encouraging. One can person can make a difference. It gives other's the courage to take action, too.

    Another excellent post dear one~

  4. It might interest you all to know that the founder and original designer of the Skyler brand cut ties with Skyler after the unauthorized appearance of her former business partner on Dragon's Den. She now produces a new line of clothing called 'Mandala Sky' maintaining that principle of exceptional quality clothing design and manufacturing, Made in Canada. Google Mandala Sky, "she is sticking to her guns" too!

    1. mandala sky great clothing, Skyler is dated and not "in" ..ya heard me!!!


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