Combining her love for the skies and the ground, Corporate Flight Attendant, Atlanta Entrepreneur and Yogi Lauran Grant has launched her Yoga apparel brand, Stratosphere41.
“I started S41 to build a community that truly strives for not only inclusion, but celebration of all yogis. Growing up, I always felt excluded from the wellness community as a Black woman and that I needed to dilute myself to fit into its’ perfect box,” Lauran says.
Stratosphere41’s name evolved because Lauran wanted to weave together two very influential areas of her life to build a brand that reflects the symbolism of connection: 1.) The stratosphere is the ozone layer that private jets cruise through and 2.) The Yoga Sutras describe each pose to achieve mental and physical elevation.
The beauty in both is balance. “I want the S41 community to feel as if they can show up as their authentic self and allow their fellow yogis to do the same, even when that looks different than what we are used to,” she tells us.
Noticing a gap in the market, unique yoga towels were the answer. She took an otherwise utilitarian product and turned it into an elevated experience because we should not have to sacrifice one for the other. We want to encourage yogis to get pumped to roll out their mat and flow!
What has been your greatest achievement thus far in your entrepreneurial journey?
Building out our community organically from the ground up! That has helped us foster trust within the yoga and wellness industry, and it’s always so fun chatting with them online. I feel like I’m just talking to my friends… Love it!
What obstacles have you overcome to get where you are today?
Where should I start? Bootstrapping for starters, but I believe it is true what they say that constraints breed creativity because we’ve had to think outside of the box. And not to mention a lot of self-doubt as WOC Founder with no connections, especially one who is not a celebrity or influencer. Navigating manufacturing delays during the pandemic was one of the most stressful. I thought we were scammed because our towels had been sitting at a dock for over two months! But I believe in Stratosphere41, so all of this made me double down, and I learned how to fail forward.
What role has social media played in your career?
Before Stratosphere41, I worked in Private Aviation, so I believe it actually helped me that I wasn’t a huge social media user. I rarely posted anything, but I actually had a thriving career. Recently, I’ve become addicted to TikTok and consumed tons of organic information about angel investing, branding, and mental health. It’s unmatched because you can watch new trends unfold in real-time, which helps our marketing since our brand has some pop culture inspo.
What advice do you have for women entering the entrepreneurship world?
Start before you feel ready and say yes to an opportunity, even if you don’t fully know how to do something yet. You can learn along the way! Start taking care of your mental health immediately. Entrepreneurship is fantastic but also challenging, and it helps if you have the self-awareness to know your strengths and weaknesses!
With your brand S41, You aim to create a community that feels inclusive for everyone. Can you share more about the experience women can expect when shopping S41?
Yes, we want to ensure all types of women are genuinely celebrated, especially as we move into athleisure. I want you to be able to look at our brand and KNOW you are welcome in our community. This is something we are actively working towards every day behind the scenes. I’m fortunate that I was able to visit about 70 countries with my job, and I always say travel and yoga introduce you to people very different from you, and that’s the beauty of it. So, I definitely want that mindset to be reflected in our brand.
Can you share the creative process behind your new product drop Good Vibes & Purple cloud yoga towel?
We started with a mood board of some of our favorite colors! We noticed a lot of towels were very mute or neutral-toned and we like bright things. The Good Vibes Only has a very groovy text and flower to complement the retro feel of our branding. The Purple Cloud towel makes you feel zen and elevates you to new heights. That’s in line with our name Stratosphere, the layer of the ozone private jets cruise through! They both have colors that pop when you roll them out and that’s on purpose to get you pumped to flow.
What is next for S41? Where do you see your brand in the next 3-5 years?
We have a new color dropping this summer that was highly requested by the guys at my home yoga studio. We can’t say which one because we want to hold a giveaway contest. Some really fire athleisure is on our list as well. We’re doing our part to be responsible at a young age too. We started working with a slow fashion, woman-owned, USA-based manufacturer, so that’s exciting! We also plan to fundraise eventually, but we will scale in a sustainable way so we can build a lifestyle company that outlives us.
What is your definition of a pretty Woman Who Hustles?
An authentic, confident, and resilient businesswoman! She knows when to get the job done and when to lean in to rest and enjoy. Both are equally important.
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