Founder Q&A: Meet Kat Pither, Founder of Yogi Bare
By Susie Willis
THE FOUNDER OF THE LIFE-CHANGING YOGA BRAND FOR YOGA REBELS
Yogi Bare is not just a brand, it's a testament to the evolving landscape of mindful living through the lens of yoga. The brand's founder, Kat Pither, tells us all about her wellness must-haves, what motivated her to start her own brand and her number one skin health tip.
WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO START YOGI BARE?
Because we’ve all been there. Standing in a class unsure how literal 'dynamic yoga' will be taken, afraid of being the only one who doesn’t know what’s going on, being afraid of going upside down (me too!) or doing a mental shopping list in meditation. We’ve all been there. Feeling displaced in Yoga Land. Like we don’t fit in.
For me, yoga was my back pocket healer. I discovered it quietly, softly in rehab when I was struggling with acute anxiety and PTSD, which I sought relief from in addiction. Yoga seemed like this exotic, mystical magic. I couldn’t explain it, but I knew I felt it. It shrunk demons. Tethered my mind to my body until they fell back in love with each other. I eventually trained as a Yoga Teacher to help people struggling with whatever set them off course. There was a resistance to the idea of yoga being something for other people. That you had to look a certain way, have gymnastic skills, that the world somehow couldn't touch you with its stress, heartbreak or naughtiness to be “good at yoga”. “I'm not flexible enough” is too often said. “I don’t feel comfortable, feel shut out and I don’t feel like I belong” is too often unsaid.
In my heart I felt yoga should remain accessible, fun and full of magic and delight, not comparison, competition, staid or elitism. So I got to work.
Yogi Bare is the physical manifestation of the concept of yoga being for everyone and every body. I wanted to develop a range of eco-sensitive products with accessible price points after seeing a slight shift in a strand of yoga defined by wealth, social standing, gender and ethnicity. I wanted to bring some fun and personality to a world that can sometimes seem alien or difficult to access. The name isn’t just a fun play on words but the 'Bare' is symbolic of the eco credentials and a sense of stripping back. Yogi Bare is my love letter to the rebels, those who didn’t feel like they fit in before. Welcome home.
WHAT IS YOUR NUMBER ONE SKIN HEALTH TIP?
As someone who has been on a long, painful adult acne journey I know how frustrating and affecting skin care journeys can be. For me, I’d say, protect your skin barrier! Less is more…give great products time and space to do their thing! SPF!
WHAT ARE YOUR DESERT ISLAND WELLNESS MUST-HAVES?
I'm very lucky with my job that I get to be around and learn from the wellness community but sometimes simplicity is key! I actually think growing fresh herbs is an underrated wellness must have - you can make fresh herbal teas and have the nourishing peaceful bonus of growing. Probiotics and sauerkraut as good gut health is an internal pillar to great skin. Electrolytes or a pinch of good quality salt in water. Its massively helped my hydration levels. But if we are being fancy…I love a really good body oil, dry brushing and a sauna blanket.
HOW DO YOU HOPE TO IMPACT PEOPLE WITH YOUR BRAND?
I just want people to feel a sense of belonging with the brand that translates as a sense of home within themselves. From that place of quiet knowing, a nervous system that is at peace comes true contentment and clarity. As I’ve grown older and up with the brand Ive moved away from that rebellious get things done energy into something softer and a self acceptance looking in rather than out and found true belonging in my home body and home planet. Its the closest thing to peace I’ve ever known.
WHAT DO YOU WISH YOUR YOUNGER SELF HAD KNOWN ABOUT?
A kind no is ultimately the kindest thing you can do for yourself and others. And I'm still learning that!
If you find boundaries really hard, like I do, my advice is: get outside and surround yourself with real things – nature, food, friends, laughter and dogs. But, not the dogs you see in YouTube videos! Sometimes all you need is to breathe in the fresh air and realise that most of our stresses and problems are associated with a pretend world that lives on our phones, in our inboxes, on television, or in magazines. As soon as you step away from those things and the hold they have on you, you feel free.
DEAD OR ALIVE: WHO WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO MEET AND WHY?
Nick Cave. He has a gorgeous life affirming website called the Red Hand files which is a gorgeous collection of letters which feel like a kind uncle giving you life advice.
IF YOU HAD TO, WITH YOGI BARE, WOULD YOU DO IT ALL OVER AGAIN?
In a heartbeat – but I also think you need to constantly edit your life as you go along. If something is causing you anxiety or pain and it’s not passing, then maybe it’s not worth it. Also, we need to start doing things just out of pure joy. We shouldn’t pressure ourselves to be the best or make a career out of it. If you like art – draw! If you love running – run! It doesn’t mean you have to have a gallery opening or sign up for a marathon, just do it for the love.
WOULD YOU SAY THAT YOUR BRAND REFLECTS YOUR PERSONALITY, IF SO HOW?
If you ask my family or friends they’d say I’m an alien or from out of space! I have a very vivid imagination and it’s how I experience and feel this world. I use a lot of metaphors to describe things in the hope that people will build the same mental image as I do. It’s the way I make sense of things and process the world, in the same way we use our body and breath to process our minds in Yoga. I hope that the creative side of Yogi Bare allows doorways to open for people to access yoga. I don’t want to stereotype anything.
WHAT IS YOUR PROUDEST MOMENT – CAREER OR PERSONAL, OR BOTH
Gosh I think people would expect me that say the big shiny outward facing things like our collaborations with Sweaty Betty, Liverpool Football Club, Oliver Bonas, Merrell Hiking but actually its the small things for me that are the really important things. Im proud of the team and the community that the brand has magnetised and the culture we’ve developed with both. Im proud that people feel acceptance and represented and cared for by Yogi Bare. A recent moment for me was the feedback from the incredible movers in our last Yogi Bare Youtube series and one wonderful yogi feeling heard and seen and valued and supported while breaking down her own barriers about being filmed. It was such a wow moment for me.
DO YOU HAVE AN INSPIRATIONAL QUOTE THAT MOTIVATES AND REASSURES YOU?
In the words of the two boys I usually look to:
“I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring.” - David Bowie
“Its a wonderful life if you let yourself find it” - Nick Cave
Opportunity, enthusiasm and perspective.