In a series of two installments, we’re sharing a special story of one of our Makers, Elizabeth Morrow, who recently launched her new product, Yoga by Numbers this month on The Grommet. An easy to learn yoga mat for beginners, along with an instructional DVD, this is Elizabeth’s first foray into entrepreneurship and below is a behind the scenes look at her story.
In the early winter months of 2012, Elizabeth Morrow was a young, bright woman working as a human rights policy researcher in Boston. Like many urban dwellers, she lived in the culture of getting more done faster and scheduling her calendar with little room to slow down. She felt happy and successful. Then one day, everything changed. A major, unexpected health crisis hit Elizabeth fast and hard. She was forced to learn how to slow down physically and emotionally. Fortunately, today Elizabeth is on the road to recovery and has her strong support system to thank. It was during this recovery period that she came to some realizations, giving her the opportunity to shift her life in a very positive, yet unforeseen way. A blessing in disguise, Elizabeth became an active yoga practitioner because it was a safe option for her to exercise in a low impact way during rehabilitation. She began to love how yoga made her feel, but didn’t always want to travel to a studio for class. Sometimes her schedule didn’t allow for it, not to mention the recurring expense. What she really wanted was the ability to practice at home if she needed. Yet she was new to yoga and didn’t know how to properly execute a down dog, let alone some of the other poses and postures. She needed someone there to guide her and correct poses if they were off, and DVDs didn’t provide the detail she was looking for as a newcomer. This got Elizabeth thinking about how more people could have access to yoga if home based practice was practical for beginners. When I asked her what made her decide to go for it and officially pursue this as a business idea, she simply said, “I just went for it. I decided I was going to just figure it out.” And so she did.
“I just went for it. I decided I was going to just figure it out.”
Coming from the non-profit world, Elizabeth was accustomed to being scrappy and figuring out how to make things work without a lot of resources. This served her well as she began to build her very first business. She became educated on this new world of entrepreneurship and began reading, networking and learning as much as possible from seasoned entrepreneurs. She knew that to make her product viable, she would need a mat and some type of beginner friendly instruction that people could use in their homes. She spent 200 hours becoming a certified yoga instructor at South Boston Yoga and credits her teacher, David Vendetti with enabling her to move forward. “When I began calling studios to explain my health restrictions and ask if I could participate in their teacher training programs, I had a number of people encourage me to wait until I was healthier and revisit the idea. When I called David and explained what I wanted to do, he told me he would carry me up the stairs to the studio in a hospital bed if he had to. He made me feel like I didn’t have to put my life on hold.”
As she worked on the product more, she knew this business would be about more than just yoga. Human rights are Elizabeth’s passion, and she firmly believes health is a human right. She had learned from experience the benefits of practicing yoga, and she wanted home-based yoga to be an accessible activity no matter age, gender, fitness level or disability. At the same time, she wanted to create an ethically minded company.
This is where Elizabeth’s journey with The Grommet begins. She met the team from The Grommet in June 2013, less than six months after her initial idea hatched and the partnership was quickly formed. To read more about her journey to launch, stay tuned for the next installment.