As a part of the Morning Lazziness series about strong women leaders who attained success with their incredible ideas, I had the pleasure of interviewing Annie Appleby.
“Yoga is the journey of the self, through the self, to the self.” – The Bhagavad Gita
Annie Appleby is the Founder & CEO of YogaForce®. She started YogaForce in 1995 after cashing out her 401K at Paramount Pictures. She loved doing yoga but hated the drab clothing, so she started out with oversized logoed sweatshirts and colorful sky-toned tees, leggings, and shorts. The clothes were carried at more than 350 stores and on several TV shows and Movies. Ten years later, Annie invented the patented YogaForce A-Line Mat. The mat has had worldwide acclaim in publications such as Time Magazine and The New York Times. The mat was prominently displayed on the set of the last three seasons of THE BIG BANG THEORY.
Since at what age are you performing yoga? What inspires you the most to become a Yoga Lover?
I was in my late 20’s. I was a marathon runner, and my best friend at Paramount took me to a lunchtime class, and I was hooked immediately. It also really helped with stress at work.
What makes your Yoga Force products different and unique? Are they sustainable?
The patented alignment stripes help with body alignment. The ergonomic shape gives you more room to maneuver in a crowded class. It also comes with a built-in, adjustable, hands-free carry strap and a removable mat. It only weighs 4 pounds, and it is recyclable.
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
I was not happy with my overbearing boss at Paramount Pictures, and I loved yoga, so I followed my dream.
Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
I am an inch taller! I love teaching yoga, and I also have taught Dog Yoga on NAT GEO! I have traveled all over the world teaching yoga.
What challenges did you face at the start of your business? What lesson did you learn from that?
It was hard to have 9 sky-toned colors! That was ambitious, but it got me into Nordstrom, Fred Segal, and Bloomingdale’s. I did the line all by myself, one person.
There is no shortage of good ideas out there, but people struggle to take a good idea and translate it into an actual business. How did you overcome this challenge?
I got it out of my head and into the stores. I had a vision. I knew yoga was going places. Frankly, in 1995, people thought it was just a passing fad.
In moments of self-doubt or adversity, how do you build yourself back up?
A movie or a TV show, or a magazine editor would always call me at my lowest. That helped keep me going.
A skill needed to be a successful entrepreneur, and why?
You need to be passionate about what you are doing; that is number 1. You also need talent and luck.
What are your plans for the future, how do you plan to grow this company?
I am in talks right now to sell YogaForce to some really big, well-known companies.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?
I wish I knew that yoga was going to be as big as it turned out to be and found the right partners a few years earlier. I had a hard time getting the big boys to take me seriously back then. That is one thing that is worth 5!
What is your no-fail go-to when you need inspiration or to get out of a creative rut?
I do some yoga! The breathing helps me to think.
What is your favorite mantra or affirmation that you say to yourself to keep you going?
One word, my first word my father taught me before I could walk: Perseverance.
What does success mean to you?
Seeing that I helped someone feel better about themselves.
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.