“When I die at age 125, I want my legacy to be that I was part of changing the conversation." – Jodi Guber Brufsky
That is certainly a quote that you do not hear from your average business owner, let alone the owner of a clothing line. But as I learned, Jodi Guber Brufsky is not your average business owner. Instead, she uses her company, Beyond Yoga, as a platform to inspire self-acceptance, belonging, and being body proud.
Growing up in Hollywood as the daughter of the renowned producer, Peter Guber, and a yogi philanthropist, Tara Lynda Guber, Jodi was constantly in the spotlight and part of a culture that she never felt like she fit into. She was always figuring out how to dress and act ‘the part’ and find a way to flatter her figure. Finally, she realized that it was more important to be authentic and true to herself than worrying about fitting in.
Jodi makes a distinction between the concepts of ‘fitting in’ versus ‘belonging.’ Fitting in requires one to become whom ‘they’ need you to be … belonging is accepting who and where you are in life and being who you need to be.
It was this idea of belonging and accepting instead of fitting in (fitting in to society, fitting into clothes, fitting in - in all senses of the word) that drove Jodi to start Beyond Yoga. Ostensibly a clothing line for workout and lifestyle wear that is both flattering and comfortable, Beyond Yoga strives to be more than just a clothing line. It strives to create a forum for us to think and talk differently about our bodies and ourselves.
Their primary focus is to act as both a retail source and a platform that will reach girls and women to provide messaging of inspiration and give reminders of self-esteem through their shopping experience. It is a cycle that we are often not exposed to: having a place that makes us feel good, makes us interested in purchasing the clothes and in turn leads us to feel better about ourselves. This is anything but the dreaded bikini season purchases or the experience at most clothing companies where we are made to feel we are supposed to fit into the clothes. Beyond Yoga’s objective is to fit each of us and our unique bodies, featuring a range of stylish products from XXS to XXL.
Although Beyond Yoga is primarily concentrating on girls and women at this point, they do have a line of men’s wear, which they plan on expanding. Jodi is fully aware that body image is not just a woman’s issue and that everyone can struggle, although there tends to be more societal pressure on women currently.
Beyond Yoga’s manifesto and the message they want people to take away is “we relate to you, all of you.” This statement embraces the double meaning of reaching everybody and every type of body, accepting every part of a person. This spring, Beyond Yoga is encouraging their customers, and all women, to Be Body Proud and to help promote their message of self-love, self-esteem and belonging.
So where is Beyond Yoga going now? The answer is ever beyond, striving to reach more people with its message and making that ideology more salient on their website and clothes. Jodi is designing a blog that will be featured on the Beyond Yoga website and will address topics such as body image and self-esteem that she is so passionate about. Additionally, Beyond Yoga is in the process of creating hangtags with inspirational messaging that will complement the messaging already featured inside the clothes, such as “I am BEYOND … motivated” screened inside the back of the yoga pants.
The company is going through a massive expansion with website sales already up over 100% for this year, partly due to some incredible new hires as well as the daily efforts of Jodi and her business partner, Michelle Wahler; a collaboration that made Beyond Yoga such a big success.
I asked Jodi at the end of our interview what message she would like to convey to my readers, and her answers more than embody the lifestyle she embraces and the positivity she spreads.
- First, she remarked, “it is so easy for us to pick ourselves apart and find fault with our bodies, but, if something happened and we lost the things we take for granted today, we would do anything to be back in that moment before our world changed. We have to stop now and be appreciative of everything today, because we never know when our world might be irrevocably changed.”
- Jodi also noted that people talk to themselves in such a degrading way (“my hair looks awful” or “my stomach is flabby and I need to do more sit-ups”), but we would be horrified and never let someone else make those remarks to us. So why is it ok for us to talk to ourselves like that? The answer is – that it isn’t ok. It is who we are that matters, we are human and we are not perfect, but we need to be present and accept ourselves as we are today.
As you can see, Jodi and Beyond Yoga present a refreshing change from the horror stories we hear about clothing lines, from Abercrombie & Fitch’s sizeist comments and policies to Target’s disastrous attempt at photoshopping a swimsuit model. Beyond Yoga is exactly what society needs, what women need … a business that lifts women up, rather than preying on their insecurities.