I'm all for companies that give back, especially to the environment. I sat down with Larissa Miller of Pi Yoga Pants for a quick interview. I met Larissa back in the day when we both worked for the same company in Pacific Beach, CA. Now she's slanging yoga pants, traveling the world, and donating 10% of net profits to sea turtle conservation efforts in Bali.
Me: How did Pi Yoga Pants get started and how long have you been in business?
Larissa: I started Pi Yoga Pants while I was traveling abroad in South East Asia. Before I set out on my one year adventure around the world, I quit my job and decided to take a mental and physical break from the corporate world. My goal was to take a break from over working myself and to take some time to enjoy this beautiful world we live in. I was also secretly hoping that I would be able to find a way to start a business so I could continue my travel and I knew I wanted to incorporate fitness, photography, and conservation into the business. I just didn’t yet know how.
About 3 months into my trip I finally found the breakthrough I was looking for. While I was traveling in South East Asia I encountered a problem. It was hot, like really hot. Like 100 degrees with 100% humidity hot! The yoga pants that I brought with me were so tight and when I would sweat they would stick to my skin and start to irritate my pores and would drive me absolutely insane. I couldn’t wait to get out of them! I started getting ideas for making yoga pants that would withstand the heat and came up with loose flowing yoga pants that could be for anyone. I heard that some other brands only make sizes up to size 12 so I decided to have my yoga pants stretch from size 0-20 to make sure everyone is included. Yoga is for everyone, there’s no point to exclude people! Since then, I have event ventured out to XL sizes to make sure that everyone who wants to do yoga can feel comfortable doing so.
I started doing Instagram marketing in February of 2016 but officially launched the business in June of 2016. Therefore, we have now been in business for 8 months!
Me: Do your travels influence your textile choices or any other part of the brand?
Larissa: Oh yeah! Definitely! I traveled to Thailand, Cambodia, and China, but it wasn’t until I got to Bali that I was blown away with the artistic and creative essence captured by everything the Balinese do! Their fashion is a beautiful blend of South East Asian culture mix with Western Australian influence. I really wanted to capture the energy of Bali in my textile choices so every time you wear a pair of Pi Yoga Pants you feel as though you are “swept away by the tide” into relaxation and into a tropical vacation state of mine.
Me: What was the motivation to start the business?
Larissa: My motivation for the business came from my desire to create a job that would embody health, fitness, photography, and travel.
I quit my job before the trip because I felt like I was being over worked. I took on too much and was working 70 hours a week easy for a few years. I began to neglect my health and even though I was working out, I was stressed about making sure to squeeze a work out into my busy schedule. I knew I wanted to embody fitness because it has always been a big part of my life. I played basketball for 6 years, volleyball for 4 year, and have done yoga for almost 6 years now.
I have always had a passion for photography and got my first Canon camera almost 10 years ago now for Black Friday! I haven’t put the camera down since.
Travel was always one of those outlets that I always saw as the gateway to personal growth. Our years are in fact numbered and if we don’t get the most out of them, we won’t get them back. There is so much to learn and the world is a teacher waiting for us to step out of our comfort zone and start learning.
Conservation has always been a humbling way to do more for the greater good and after falling in love with diving in Bali and learning so much about sea turtles and how many dangers they faced it was a no brainer to tie everything together. I was determined to create a way to make all these things blend together. For my personal health and to create a future lifestyle that would not only make me healthy, but happy with the direction I was headed.
Me: Do you have a favorite yoga pose?
Larissa: My favorite yoga pose is bridge pose! I love a good back bend and just got to the point where I can go from standing, to a micro back bend, to dropping down slowly into a bridge pose. Eventually I want to get to the point where I can kick up from bridge to a head stand, but all in due time!
Me: How does your business give back to the community?
Larissa: We love our little yogi community! I absolutely adore the community that Pi Yoga Pants has grown into. Everywhere I go I am constantly meeting new yogis, friends, and meeting my online followers in person! I’m always inviting them to join me along this journey and to introduce everyone along the way. Collaboration is key to success and who doesn’t love making a new friend? I enjoy bringing people together and I think it’s great to get people together for a good cause and some yoga!
I also think that it’s important to give back to the environment through conservation because we only have one world, and we have to protect it! Pi Yoga Pants proudly donates 10% of net profits to sea turtle conservation efforts in Bali and we are looking to expand into Hawaii, Taiwan, the Philippines, Malaysia, Mexico, San Diego and Florida. We also host beach clean ups every month, usually in collaboration with the Surf Rider Foundation to help make a difference in more way than one.
Me: What is your interest in sea turtles, why did you choose them?
Larissa: While I was in Thailand I fell in love with diving! I got my Open Water certification in Koh Tao, Thailand and became obsessed with the underwater world. I then got my Advance Diving certification in Gili Trawangan off Bali and fell in love with the sea turtles out there! I learned so much about sea turtles. For example the fact that only 1 in 100 sea turtles reach sexual maturity really struck me. The odds were against these little guys. I also learned that sea turtles can travel up to 12,000 miles in a year and ironically the green turtles travel from Bali, to Hawaii, to San Diego, my home town! The vision was coming together full circle and connected my home to Bali. Another fact about sea turtles is that their biggest predator to their longevity is humans. Sea Turtles lay their eggs at the same place where their mother laid eggs to match the same sand temperature. If there is a large hotel there now in the place of a sandy beach or people that could come by to disrupt the process of laying the eggs the sea turtles are in trouble. Besides this, the single most detrimental factor to sea turtles is plastic that is floating in the ocean. I’m not sure if you have seen the video of this poor little sea turtle who got an 8” plastic straw stuck in his nose, or if you knew that sea turtles choke on plastic bags because they take a bite out of them thinking they are jellyfish, but plastic trash in the ocean doesn’t disintegrate, it stays there and poses a constant threat to sea turtles and all marine life.
Another factor that has affected marine life was the fact that the warmer water temperatures from the El Nino has increased the top layer of water in the ocean in Bali by up to 5 degrees fahrenheit! This is a major change in water climate and consequently has cause the coral that is in shallow depths to become bleached, killing it in the process. Some of the conservations on the island have been working with coral restoration by installing structures at deeper depths to support coral regrowth and structure at depths that would be safe from the warmer water temperatures.
I personally love sea turtles and ultimately, made the rational decision to focus on sea turtle conservation because there were actually things we could do to make a difference, there just needs to be more awareness and someone driving the motivation to get conservation efforts moving forward.
Me: Where are Pi Yoga Pants made?
Larissa: They are hand made on the tropical shores of Bali.
Me: What is the most rewarding part of owning your own business?
Larissa: The most rewarding part of owning my business is the community that has become created because of Pi Yoga Pants. Even right now as I sit typing this us I am in the company of my dear friend, Tiffany Vondran, who hosts yoga festivals around San Diego and my friend Brittany Cook, who I met at John Beck’s ocean front yoga class in Ocean Beach, and here we are all hanging out together! The friendships and networks I have made during this experience have been so dear to me because I took a part of my soul, my desire and idea of the perfect dream job, and have formed my reality around that. My friends are in, along for the ride and I like to live through the mission to Pi, “to continue infinitely in the direction of your dreams” and I am trying to bring everyone with me along this positive, enlightening, and humbling journey.
Me: Do you have any pop up shops coming up that we should know about?
Larissa: San Diego International Day of Yoga June 17th at the World Beat Center, and Tula Fest in Seattle.
Pi Yoga Pants can be found:
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA
4242 Camino Del Rio N #10,
San Diego, CA 92108
Hapa Yoga Eastlake
2334 Proctor Valley Rd #101,
Chula Vista, CA 91914
House of Yogi
3954 W Point Loma Blvd, Unit B,
San Diego, CA 92110
Kundalini Windansea-A Yoga and Meditation Center in San Diego
7405 La Jolla Blvd,
La Jolla, CA 92037
2023 San Elijo Ave
SANTA ROSA, CALIFORNIA
589 Mendocino Avenue
Santa Rosa, CA 95401
Maui Yoga & Dance Shala- Wailea
34 Wailea Gateway Place A208,
Wailea, HI 96753
Maui Yoga & Dance Shala- Paia
381 Baldwin Ave A,
Paia, HI 96779
Hot Feet Fitness
816 SW 152nd St,
Burien, WA 98166
Phone number(206) 519-5450