Puja Borker

Start-up the Yoga way!

Despite giving the gift of Yoga to the world, when it came to the best products for the same, India was nowhere in the picture. That’s what inspired Puja to come up with an eco-friendly range of products for the aspiring Yogi.

In a global yoga market worth more than $80 billion, India does not rank anywhere close to America, Canada or Europe when it comes to trending and most preferred Yoga brands by yogis around the world. Having said this, India is the homeland of Yoga - the country of Yoga's origin. The Indian city of Rishikesh is known as the International capital of Yoga, Mysore in South is known as the Ashtanga Yoga capital of the world and Goa in the West is world's top Yoga destination for retreats and courses.

These facts inspired me and motivated me to start JURU Yoga - a yoga brand that is not only made-in-India but also provides yoga products, especially yoga mats of international standards (a mat is as important to a Yogi as a weapon is to a soldier).

The quest to find a good mat started when I was struggling for grip on my regular PVC mat during my teachers training course. With long hours of practise, the mat was tough to maintain and had started slipping, flaking, smelling! My search for good yoga mats resulted in educating myself with popular and stylish yoga brands listed as top 5, 10 or even 20 (America, Canada, Europe, Australia top the list) and also learn about the detrimental effects PVC/plastic/toxic mats have on our body and environment at large. Yoga as a practice teaches us to nourish ourselves and protect and respect Mother Earth - not destroy it.

In India, most of the mats available were/are PVC mats. Yes, they came in different colours, sizes and even brands - but they were mostly made of toxic PVC, TPE, etc. There were traditional cotton rugs that are no-doubt 100% bio-degradable but they were not ideal for modern yoga forms.

The fact is that Yoga is from India and thus, it should be the best place to find the best yoga gear - was an assumption that often lead to disappointment. Traveling yogis find it really tough to get good yoga gear when they visit India for yoga courses and training. And then we had the announcement of 'International Yoga Day' and 'Make-In-India' slogan. All this contributed towards making JURU Yoga.

I was working part-time as a yoga teacher and creative consultant when I launched the first JUte and natural RUbber mat. In the past two years, JURU has grown from being a product name to being a made-in-India yoga brand that strives to deliver eco-friendly, innovative, comfortable and trending yoga mats, props and accessories made from unique and sustainable resources for yoga-lovers across the globe.

We have been educating people on the significance of making eco-friendly choices as a yogi. JURU Yoga is a lifestyle brand that draws inspiration from Yoga philosophy, which finds its roots in India but continues to be boundless, inspiring people world over. Soon, we had an increasing list of happy customers and feedback and started getting inquiries from Indian and international stores. It was becoming difficult for me to manage part-time jobs as well as work on JURU's expansion plans.

Few of the main challenges faced were streamlining warehousing and logistics operations, increasing brand presence online, finding like-minded retail partners, etc. I decided to close the JURU partnership firm and register as a private limited company and bring in more like-minded people.

The first on board was my husband who was working full-time as a marketing/business consultant. He decided to give-up his full-time job and boosted my confidence by saying that JURU is worth all the risk and together we should work towards making JURU Yoga world's top yoga brand. We have a long way to go - but with the growth in customer and product list, a growing network of like-minded yogis and increase in offline and online presence, we are confident that we are on the right path.

In the past, I have spent close to eight years in family business that deals with school textbooks. However, with the growing intervention of State and Central government in designing and printing all educational books, private publishers had to face heavy losses and also shut down their businesses. I decided to continue with my yoga practice and took up various training courses. During this time, my first novel (Masterji - a spiritual fiction) got published and this recognition also got me some part-time writing assignments for yoga and wellness. And of course, experience, passion, patience, education ... all helped in turning my dream of a new venture into reality.

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