80% of life is showing up, and I think the same goes for a business. Everyone has good ideas, very few act on them, and even a smaller percentage don’t give up.
Larissa Miller is a California native with a vision to empower women and save sea turtles through her brand PIYOGA.
3 years ago, at 25 years old, Larissa left her home in San Diego to travel to South East Asia to chase her dreams of expanding her yoga practice and starting her own business. She wanted to find a way for women of all shapes, sizes, ethnicities, and religions to feel accepted and realized she could start with revolutionizing the yoga pant! She was inspired by the beautiful designs from Bali and she started creating the most comfortable, form-flattering yoga pants that could be worn be anyone!
Empowering women can start on the yoga mat. Making sure we feel comfortable and confident in that space of surrender is key to developing self-confidence, and it starts when we put on our yoga pants.
PIYOGA is deeply rooted in the concept to inspire and motivate others to continue infinitely in the direction of your dreams. Whether it’s accomplishing a new goal, or finding new strength and balance in yoga, to starting a new relationship, traveling the world, starting your own business, and giving things a chance. To chase your dreams and do your best to achieve a habitual lifestyle geared towards your personal goals to help you achieve the happiest version of YOU.
Larissa is a yogi at heart and is always looking for an excuse to travel and learn something new. She is also passionate about the ocean and it was important for her to build a business that will help preserve the oceans and its marine life. PIYOGA proudly donates 10% of net profits to sea turtle conservation efforts around the world.
Where did the idea for PIYOGA come from?
3 years ago I had the crazy idea to leave San Diego to travel the world for a year. I dreamed to quit my job, travel with the one I loved, to write my future with tales of travels, but mostly the desire to start a business of my own. It took 2 years of working long, 60 hour weeks, working every single weekend and saving every dime I could to save up for enough to travel the world for a year. It was a busy life and I did a little yoga in the down time I did have to keep my sanity. The dream soon because a yearning desire and the world was pulling and tugging me to get away as soon as possible!
6 months later I purchased a one way ticket to Thailand and by the time December 8th came to leave I was beyond over anxious to be there already! I was infatuated with the Buddhist culture and loved their clothing! The most grounding experience was when I went to an Elephant Sanctuary an hour north of Chaing Mai, Thailand. I showed up bright and early at 6am ready to see these giants for the first time, eye to eye! They came parading out of the forest with their trunks swinging around aiming to grab the little yellow banana out of my hand! They were intimidating at first, but after spending all day with them I realized how rare it is to see animals up close and personal like this, and how even more rare it is to find such unique and rare animals like this in their natural habitat. So much of the world is developed with humans closing in on these animals natural habitats. When was the last time you saw an elephant walking by, a wild horse, or a wild whale swimming by? Unfortunately there are far and few between.
I fell in love with the Elephant Pants in Thailand, and decided this was what I wanted to bring back home to the USA, but by the time I decided on this my 30 day visa was up, and up next on the list was BALI, INDONESIA.
I spent the whole flight drawing out a business plan for my pants, and planning how I would give back to the elephant sanctuaries. I was so excited for my new venture I couldn’t help but talk about it to everyone around me! I hopped in a taxi and my driver, Noman, was all ears when I told him about my story, my mission, and what I wanted to build. Little did I know I was introducing myself to someone who would help me out the most in this adventure.
Noman quickly told me about his friend in the textile industry that sold his product all over Bali! I couldn’t believe it- what would be the odds? Everything seemed to be falling perfectly into place. As it turns out, Noman’s friend and his wife own their own clothing manufacturing business! I quickly decided to change our taxi route from Ubud to their house instead to see what they could make. When I arrived I realized that this mom and pop shop must be very successful because they employed the entire block with all the work that came in for the business!
“This could really become a reality,” I thought to myself.
It was all so sudden! My adrenaline was running through my veins and I couldn’t contain the excitement in my eyes as we worked together to create a vision for what PIYOGA was soon to become.
We spent countless hours on end perfecting the cut, design, material, and quality checks since I was so nervous and excited I wanted everything to be 110% perfect! Ironically, there are no natural elephants on the island of Bali, so I decided to transition the vision to marine life conservation focusing on the sustainability efforts for sea turtles in the area to keep the cause local. I received my Advanced Diver certification in Bali and dove with the sea turtles over ten times while I was there! I learned a lot about how far marine life and sea turtle sanctuaries have come since the time of dynamite fishing and the leaps of success they have had so far with their constant conservation efforts with the community and tourist involvement. Believe it or not, sea turtles in Bali actually migrate from Bali to Hawaii and San Diego. The whole big picture seemed to be coming around full circle! [See our Blog on Our Sea Turtle Conservation Efforts to learn more!]
2 months later the final product was finally mass produced! I was thrilled and could hardly contain my excitement so I booked the first flight back home to bring my pants back to my friends, family, and the good ol’ USA to share my vision for PIYOGA and make it the best success it can become! We appreciate all the support we have received so far and we are very grateful that you are here for us along this journey!
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I like to start my mornings with a quick work out, even if it is just a 30 minute walk. It gets my blood going and I find it keep me very ambitious for the rest of the day. We have an ongoing Master To Do List which lists big tasks than need to get done, their due date, and the level of importance from 1-3, who is assigned to the task, and notes. We keep this going in Google Sheet so everyone can see it and act in real time.
We are also reading the 4 Hour Work Week right now and implementing a lot of the tactics. We aim to have 1-2 big goals to get done for the day, and check emails once before noon, and again before signing out. As much as I love my job, I try to find time to be social after work every day. My friends are the base of the positive “word of mouth” that has helped our business grow. It is important to recognize that and kindle those relationships.
On a larger scale, I think it is extremely important to google things before trying to figure them out for yourself. You can usually find an automated way to get something done online before investing your time. More so, you can even find a friend who you can hire to help you with tasks. I always make the running joke, “I’m interviewing my friends for a job with PIYOGA, they just don’t know it yet!” It’s funny, but it is so true! If I see a friend who works smart, is honest, and efficient I would rather hire them to help me because I know when I’m not around, I will be able to trust them because I’ve seen how they would act in the situation when they didn’t think anyone was watching.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I start. 80% of life is showing up, and I think the same goes for a business. Everyone has good ideas, very few act on them, and even a smaller percentage don’t give up. What got be going through the start-up phase was the quote, “Fail faster, so you can learn and succeed faster.”
What’s one trend that excites you?
Athleisure! It’s one of the hottest trends in fashion right now and is expanding to other countries.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Staying healthy. I don’t drink and I aim to exercise daily. It keeps my mind sharp, and a day hungover is an inefficient day. Plus, staying healthy keeps my confidence levels up with is reflected in my business decisions.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Stop working so much. Read a book on investing instead and start talking finances with your friends who are investing. Learn from them and take the risk to learn how to have your money, make money. Remember to work smarter, not harder. Also, remember to get enough sleep. Also, I would recommend trying out different jobs in different industries to see the connection between them. My goal is to one day be a serial entrepreneur, and in order to do that I need to know how businesses connect and how they can compliment each other.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Tough one! Not everyone disagrees with this, but I see a lot of people fall into the trap. I believe it’s better to take risks while we are young, because of the untapped potential and because of the large amount of our biggest resource- time. Time is the one thing that is limited in your life and you only get so much of it to do great things. Yet, I see 90% of my friends in jobs they don’t like to pay bills for things they don’t really need. Then I see people that make a name for themselves and they’re only 28! I wonder how they got there and ask myself what I can do to get there. I like to think big and then break it down by working backwards to see how I can get there. Even though I think a majority of people would agree, I see few people acting on taking risk to follow their dreams.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Travel. I love traveling because I get to travel for work and experience business in multiple countries. I always wanted a degree in International Business, but I don’t need that degree, because I AM doing international business! Business is so different in different countries and once you get into it you see that every big company is doing it. Imports, exports, manufacturing, telecommunications, you name it! There are so many pieces that put a business together and the more you travel, the more you learn as to how you can run your business better.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
We have focused on having a small physical foot print. Originally it was to support my travel lifestyle so I could manage a business abroad. Now, I see it as the footprint for automating my business. The less I have to physically handle the product, the more successful I view the business.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I like to think of my failures as short-term lessons for how to do it better next time. Yes, we made the website first on WIX and then had to switch to Shopify and do it all over again. Yes, we have ordered prints that didn’t move at all for the first 60 days. Yes, we hired the wrong people. But those are all short term, and the thing is they each had a solution. How I over come failure is to find the optimistic side to it. Finding optimism in a pessimistic state is sometimes where you can make the most money. Just read the book Rich Dad Poor Dad as he talks about investing in gas companies while other complain that gas prices are going up. There are two sides to everything and it is up to you to make the most of it, and fast! Time is of the essence.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I think it would be great to start a subscription business! I see this getting increasingly popular and think it is a great way to keep returning customers. You can take it anyway you like, but don’t be surprised if you see it one day implemented into PIYOGA.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
It wasn’t $100, but my favorite recent purchase is the new Samsung Galaxy S9! It has the best camera on the market and make our Instagram stories for @piyogapants so much better! Check them out!
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
I’m obsessed with Sprout Social. We can schedule all of our posts for all our social media platforms on there. They also have this epic feature called a “Magic Inbox” and all of our posts related to PIYOGA all go in there, even if people #piyoga, we can see it all there and respond from their website. Say goodbye to having to login to 8 different social media platforms just to respond to a comment! It’s a life saver.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
“Rich Dad Poor Dad“! He puts it all in perspective. I get something valuable out of every page. It’s mainly about investing and financial planning, and I like that it can be implemented into the business and personal, because at the end of the day our personal finances are like a business.
What is your favorite quote?
“Leap, and the net will appear”. It works every time.
- By researching and Googling how to get something done efficiently, you can find the best and more efficient way to get the task done.
- Prioritize your tasks, focusing on few a day.
- Check email and social media only 2x a day to allow more time for the prioritized task of the day.
- Perhaps consider a subscription business model for guaranteed repeat customers.
- Fail faster, so you can learn and succeed faster.Takes risks while you are young. “Leap and the net will appear”
Read The 4 Hour Work Week and Rich Dad Poor Dad to get a grip on automating and financial intelligence.
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Carlyn runs the day-to-day publishing operation here at ideamensch and interacts with our awesome customers and entrepreneurs. She is likely editing this with a cat on her lap.