Students merge yoga, faith in business model
By Taylor Rexrode
Two Baylor students have started their own athletic wear business, bringing together a love of yoga and athletic fashion.
Austin senior Grace Hodges and New Boston, Mich., junior Curtis Smith started their clothing business Lotus Athletic Wear by selling athletic headbands that Hodges had been making for the previous two years. She said she started making the headbands originally for her own use.
“My head is so tiny that I would slip out of headbands from Lululemon and Prana,” Hodges said. “They’re great headbands, but they never really fit, so I started making my own.”
She began making them for friends and classmates and then after having a conversation with Smith, she decided to start selling them for a profit.
From there, Hodges said, everything rolled into place.
Hodges began creating more and more headbands — as many as 1,000 in a week. Now, Lotus Athletic Wear will have its headbands featured in the Yoga Bar, a hot yoga studio that opened on Eighth Street in Waco last February.
“I couldn’t believe a month ago that we would already have a venue to sell our products and that we are already looking at other yoga places,” Hodges said. “It’s all actually happening.”
The headbands that will be featured at the Yoga Bar range in price from $5 to $10 and are made from combinations of cotton, lycra and Spandex.
Hodges said she hopes the company will expand their products to shirts, tanks, shorts and pants in the coming year, fulfilling what she calls the “head, shoulders, knees and toes” approach.
“Start from the head and end at the feet,” Hodges said. “As soon as we build enough money, we will be able to go to a manufacturer for other clothes.”
Hodges and Curtis both practice yoga and said they enjoy the tranquility of the holistic exercise. Their love of yoga along with their mission to make clothing for all people, they said, are what drive their business model.
“I would really like to see our products go in the direction that anyone can wear them,” Hodges said. “Some women struggle because of sports bras or yoga pants and shirts that aren’t made for all types of women. We want this to be for everyone.”
Overall, both business owners want to let their Christian background influence their decisions and the company ethics.
“It opens up opportunities for me to personally tell someone what I believe and this is how I think,” Smith said. “It opens up opportunities to love someone and change someone’s life.”
Hodges and Smith said they hope to make enough money to put funds into philanthropies that focus on health and wellness.
Though Hodges is graduating in May, she said she hopes to keep growing the business.