A few weeks ago, I was excited to participate in 90s Hip hop and RnB yoga with New Yoga State of Mind. Afterward, I realized my leggings weren't going to cut it for this type of workout. After all, I was going to yoga a few more times with friends, and just wanted something better to wear. So, I started searching my phone for yoga brands, and came across Perspectives Yoga Wear.
I was not only taken by the cute (and symmetrical, because I'm nerdy like that) designs, but the quality and variety. I made an order right away. Not only did I receive some cute new yoga pants for my next class--both which served me well--but I also experienced great customer service. With a personal thank you note and quick shipping, and I had to learn more. I reached out to Jemea, creator and owner of Perspectives, and she agreed to help me get you guys to learn a bit more about Perspectives, too. This post was a no-brainer. Her words are untouched, and beyond inspirational.
1. How did you get started in fashion? Were you ever in a completely different field?
I started as a child, I was sewing doll clothes at 4 or 5 years old. That passion for fashion and design never left. I got my Associates in Fashion Merchandising and my BA in Graphic Design and Digital Imaging.
2. What sparked your interest in yoga?
In high school I was really into fitness because my older brother was a weightlifter. I sampled a gym class in like 1998 and thought it was a pretty cool way to stretch before and after my workouts. I started watching yoga videos on VHS tapes, haha, I’m showing my age…clearly way before YouTube. I didn’t get serious until I got into the intense corporate world had a serious abdominal surgery and couldn’t get back to the gym. In 2014 I reconnected with yoga because it was enough low impact for me but intense that I still felt the improvements in my body. Loved it from that point on…
3. What do you see as Perspectives' impact on the fashion industry?
First to show that you can be yourself in fashion, I think that’s really the goal of every major designer that has had a breakthrough. They had a perspective and they said other people will get it.
I also wanted to make women with curves as well as women of my culture as an African American woman and those of minority races feel that they could be welcomed into what the US has previously narrowed into a small demographic of elite suburban women. My plan is always to make my fashion accessible, stop the excuses like ‘I have nothing to wear’, ‘it’s not made for me’ or ‘I don’t fit in’ from preventing you from getting into better health.
I also have a personal dream of attending NY Fashion Week, like since I was in high school I’ve wanted to go. Now I actually want to be an anchor designer in one of the shows. I think I’ll shoot for that, why not?
4. As a fashion law blog, we have to ask, what are some legal issues or challenges you have faced in the fashion industry, if any?
I have not had any thankfully. I was careful to use only my artwork and my patterns to create my brand, from logo to product to my workbook. I’m grateful to have really great clients, retailers, vendors and manufacturers that provide the services that we agree upon. I do get everything in writing or on contract so there is no confusion for either party. It’s just something I want to avoid ever coming up. If services, or what have you, are clear from the start everyone can just do their best to continue delivering great products!
5. How do you work to protect your brand, especially with social media sometimes being just as much of a negative in doing so?
That’s a great question! I have to say I’m just happy I’m in the yoga niche market. I think there is a small level of sensitivity there just by the nature of the craft. I’ve gotten a few odd DMs but I always take my time responding. I will not respond in anger or reaction because I do not actually know the perspective of the person writing…again the brand is all about respecting perspectives and I hold true to that, even online. Sometimes after a couple of days, I’ll read the same message and see a different angle.
You will always find that negative social energy if that’s what you’re looking for. But I make a point to look for the positive side of it, and sometimes just completely back away. I think social media breaks are super healthy, I take about a month or two off, at least twice a year.
6. What sets your brand apart from the others?
I designed a line that has a reasonable price point while still offering quality activewear. Sports bras, capris and leggings retail from $29 to $49. The prints are a break from the norm with vivid colors that reminded me of traditional African fabrics that I really love and intermingle a style of malas with energetic geometric prints of my own artwork. I have ranged the sizes to fit XS to 3XL to include women of all shapes and curves.
Now I’m experimenting with bringing a few more designers onto the website because I saw a request for more on the website.
7. What do you feel the yoga community needs most? What does the fashion industry need most? What do you plan to do to help achieve those needs?
The yoga community needs to simply keep growing. I don’t mean grow to become even more mainstream, but grow to become unique and important to more practitioners. Yoga will resonate in different ways for everyone but the mental and physical benefits cannot be ignored. I’m not sure what else the fashion industry needs, I know I needed brighter, louder leggings and a better size range, so I made them.
8. How did you choose the name "Perspectives"?
I had a meeting a first meet with my now Business Coach, Katherine Gonzalez (@katherinealexiss) and I was just getting out of a relationship where we had planned to open a yoga studio. I was the administrative type and he was the yoga instructor. I had saved up the money and didn’t know what to do with the 12-page business plan I had written. She helped me see the good in what I was doing and the positive attributes I could still offer being a team of one. She reminded me of my passion for design and fashion and said ‘scrap the business plan, do what you love’. I was sitting there crying at the end of this hour and a half meeting with a stranger, I was like ‘you gave me such a whole new perspective’. I knew that was the name right then. She had reminded me of the respect I had missed giving myself for a while. That night I started playing with a logo design and saw that Perspectives is spelled with RSPECT. The rest was history.
9. What are your favorite ways to promote Perspectives?
I’ve tried a many methods over the years, from Facebook, magazines, Instagram, blog writers like The Root and smaller bloggers, Miami farmer’s markets, local trade shows, Pop Up shops. My favorite is and always will be the in house yoga studio events. I get to see who is wearing my clothing, know their name, see their face, give them a hug and say thanks for believing in my brand!
10. What is your favorite yoga pose? Why? Is yoga your go-to self care weapon?
Pigeon pose. The stretch in the legs, it’s not always perfect. It changes depending on my body that day, but there is a very calming humility in this pose, I love it, I feel grounded when I’m there. Yoga is definitely a part of self-care in the asana aspect. I’ve found that SLEEP is the ultimate weapon followed by meditation. If my body and mind are tired I must have rest, the strength that I get from a good nap and even 10 minutes of meditation are worth a 60 minute yoga session. I think it’s because at the end of it yoga is all of those things, the physical practice is just one angle of yoga.
11. What's next for the Perspectives brand?
I guess just keep watching. I have many ideas, but it’s never what I planned, it’s what it’s meant to be…
12. What should people know about Perspectives?
The brand is still growing, it’s still new, just turned 3 years old this past February 12th. The growing pains are there and it is difficult to be a team of one. I think because of the work I’ve done people assume that there’s a whole team, but it’s just me. I would love to take it to a new level with the right people and partners involved.
13. What advice would you give to aspiring designers in niche markets?
1. Don’t give up.
2. No need to fear change.
3. The purpose is to learn and grow, not to be perfect.
4. It’s okay to design outside of your comfort zone, you may find a new niche, a better product or a great new demographic base.
We can't wait to see what's next for Perspectives. In the meantime, we'll be following on social media and ordering these cute, comfy, peace-giving items!