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Thanks to This PR Maven, Guys Finally Have Yoga Clothes They’ll Want to Wear Beyond the Mat

Do you even flow, bro?

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Coroa

It’s 2019, and yoga has firmly evolved from new age-y workout reserved for West Coast juice cleansers with man buns to a $15 billion industry and an integral part of every successful person’s wellness routine (disclaimer: plenty of them still have man buns). CEOs do it with their entire office. Star athletes from the NBA to the NFL practice to unwind, focus and recover after games.

 

But while the face and status of the typical yogi have changed, yogawear, for dudes especially, has yet to catch up. Your old basketball shorts aren’t exactly sturdy enough for handstands, but you’re also not trying to wear something barely larger than a Speedo with the “om” symbol printed on it. Cool and quality clothes made to be flexible—is that too much to ask for?

 

Not anymore, thanks to Coroa founder Santiago Pazos, an avid yogi who noticed this very problem when shopping for mat-friendly workout gear for himself. Originally from Spain, Pazos moved to Los Angeles in 2009 to start working in marketing and communications. Just three years later, he launched his own PR firm, Pazos Media, a boutique company that focuses on culture and the arts. And though he never had formal training or experience in the business of fashion, his natural eye for aesthetics, taste in style and a marketing-minded brain turned a gap in the market into an opportunity. If the high-end yoga clothes he wanted to wear didn’t exist, he’d produce them himself.

Coroa

And thus the birth of Coroa, a recently launched line of luxury activewear made in L.A. From muscle shirts and hoodies to the perfect shorts and yoga pants you’d actually want to be seen in public in, the debut collection is a show of minimalist and clean design. In addition to the clothes, Coroa has also launched #moremenonthemat, an initiative encouraging guys to get in on the practice to become healthier and more mindful.

 

We caught up with Pazos to learn more about the company, the process of creating it and his advice for entrepreneurs taking their first steps into an unfamiliar industry.

Why did you decide to create your own yoga line, and why specifically for men?

 

Santiago Pazos: The idea of me creating my own yoga line for men started, of course, on the mat. That day at my favorite yoga studio in town, One Down Dog.

 

I have been practicing yoga for the last four years, and from the get-go, I had a main question: What should I wear? That’s when I started researching and looking for fashionable options for yoga practice in combination with garments stylish enough to be worn while running errands or having a beer with friends after class.

 

I was surprised to see how limited the market was. Indeed, there are some brands out there, but really none of them resonated with my fashion sense, and that’s when the idea arose.

 

I do have a special love for art and modern aesthetics, and I know about visual composition and style, but I had never designed anything before (I do hire designers for that), much less a clothing line. I began drafting some ideas on a Surface Pro and a couple of months later, I had in front of me what I believe was a very solid fashion proposal.

 

Simultaneously, and before jumping into this adventure, the marketing professional inside of me pushed me to research about the yoga market: the brands, their messaging, their offers and of course about the stats on men doing yoga. The moment I saw that the percent of guys on the mat had increased dramatically in the last couple of years, I decided to give Coroa a go.

Coroa

This is your first time designing a clothing line, and we assume this is your first time producing anything textile related. How was the entire process? Were you intimidated?

 

Pazos: At first I was intimidated, not for the entire process ahead but mostly because I did not know where to start. OK, my ideas are cool, but now what? 

 

I asked around, and in combination with my own research, I found my first step would be creating the patterns. I Googled several companies and found the perfect one for me in the heart of downtown Los Angeles: Patterns World. They really helped guide me through the entire process and the ones creating the final samples.

 

After some initial thoughts of taking the manufacturing process to my homeland in Spain, I decided last minute to produce the collection in the city where I am currently based: Los Angeles, my home away from home. I feel honored and proud to be in the position of helping my city by supporting other businesses.

 

There have been several challenging moments during this entire process, times when I felt I couldn’t do it any longer. But four main parts kept me going (and I am so glad they did): my partner, the yoga community, Coroa creative director and consultant Xhico and the strength gained after moving from one continent to another.

How was building a fashion line different, and similar, to launching your PR firm?

 

Pazos: I have my bachelor’s in communications and public relations, so definitely building my PR firm was definitely easier for me, at least in terms of my business activity.

 

However, when launching Pazos Media, I had to learn how to deal with permits, certificates, DOBs, taxes—all the intricate legal processes behind running your own business. Also, not having been born in the states, the process tends to be slightly more challenging, but that didn’t stop me. I take every challenge as a goal.

 

Launching Coroa has been a challenging but fulfilling endeavor in two main aspects: production and commercial logistics.

 

I had never designed a fashion collection before, and I’m not a graphic designer. This is my first time designing, sourcing and producing an entire fashion project, so I am learning as I go. As I keep saying to people around me, I am getting a free master’s degree in fashion production!

 

Patterns World helped me with the DNA of each piece: measures, length, seams, materials, everything. And from there I had to pick fabrics, do color testing and figure out mass production. Some people take years to put together a fashion collection. In my case, it has been a year since our initial designs to final production, so obviously I am extremely committed to the brand and future ahead.

 

From a commercial point of view, I had to decide all aspects of the business: from prices to e-commerce strategy, profits, margins, online channels, potential refunds, shipping, legality and much more. Granted, I have a degree in communications, but this is the first time in my life I had to create an entire business and commercial plan.

 

What’s the main inspiration for this first collection?

 

Pazos: This current collection is inspired by two major personal experiences: the culture in which I was raised and yoga practice itself.

 

I am a person that, for some reason, is obsessed with geometrical shapes and lines. Since I was a little kid I was constantly drawing interconnected lines, which can be seen on the physical garments.

 

Simultaneously, those lines are very present on the original cultural expressions of Galicia, my home state in Spain. Inhabited by the Celts, the region and its cultural web are filled with arrows, copper-colored crafts and Celtic patterns.

 

Applied to the pieces, those lines represent the energy that flows from our body: A constant immense steam that travels from the head and shoulders all the way to the hips and knees. The Celta muscle shirt highlights the heart, for example, while the Florence honors our core.

Coroa

And the name?

 

Pazos: Coroa is a Galician word, which means crown in English. Crown is one of the seven chakras, and it is the one referred to each individual connection with the universe and all parts that conform it.

 

What differentiates your collection from the rest of yoga brands out there?

 

Pazos: First of all, the nature of the brand.

 

A majority of yoga clothing companies were made for women, and then they decided to offer products for men. Coroa was created by men for men, and we understand the challenges and needs of fellow male yogis.

 

Secondly, our designs.

 

All the pieces are made keeping the yoga practice in mind: extra length of the shirts for sun salutations, above-the-knees shorts to measure muscle engagement and sweat-resistant fabrics suitable both for yoga and hot yoga. But they’re stylish enough to wear while buying kombucha at the market or going for a hike with your dog.

 

Why do you think yoga is so beneficial for men, especially high-powered ones?

 

Pazos: Yoga is extremely beneficial for any person, both physically and mentally.

 

From a physical perspective, yoga requires plenty of body movement. We all know it’s a great way to work out, stretch and help your muscles recover from more intense activity.

 

But on a mental level, I deeply believe yoga makes us better human beings. Think about it: You take one hour off your day just to lay on the floor with a bunch of (sometimes unknown) fellow yogis, breathing simultaneously, sharing energy with one another. Yoga encourages you to connect body and mind, to be present, to breathe in new energy and let things don’t belong to you out. It is energizing, balancing, empowering and rejuvenating.

 

The moment your body and soul are connected, you become more self-aware of your reality. You are in tune with your own feelings and emotions, you are in charge. And the moment you gain mental clarity is when you can shine.

 

Coroa is so committed to bringing more guys into the studio that we are launching #moremenonthemat campaign, a combination of actions including giveaways, conversations and workshops aimed to create a welcoming community of male yogis and to fight the preconceived notion that yoga is just for women!

 

What advice would you give entrepreneurs hoping to enter an unfamiliar arena?

 

Pazos: 

 

1. Passion and commitment

Find a business idea you truly love and believe. There are going to be several obstacles along the way, but as long as you deeply believe in the project, you will overcome any difficulty.

 

2. Research

Before I decided to give Coroa a go, I did a ton of research. I looked for similar companies, their messaging, their designs, their prices and found a niche market. Find a spot that has not been taken, fulfill an unsatisfied need. Reaching that space requires a lot of homework.

 

3. Talk to experts

I have been super lucky to connect with experts in the fashion industry and yoga who have helped from the construction of the brand to the final product. Find somebody or a company you admire, and try to make connections. Feedback and advice are invaluable.

 

4. Be good, and you will be treated well

Be a decent human being. Nobody likes working with rude people. Be gentle and nice, be passionate and people will feel it and will want to help you. Trust me, you are going to need help from others.

 

5. Have funding

Inevitably you are going to need money. Make sure you have a solid investment ready to go.

 

6. Set up reachable goals

Be honest to yourself and set up doable goals, both in the short and long term.

 

7. Benefit for society

Find a way your company can contribute to make this world a better place for us all.  

 C9A5348 1  Copper Mat
Coroa

Where can people buy Coroa?

 

Pazos: At the moment our pieces can be bought online at coroayoga.com.

And they can know more about us on social media @coroayoga across all platforms.

 

Namaste!

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