We connected with the founder of Freedom At the Mat, Olivia Scott, and learned how the brand has positioned itself to serve as a destination for women to indulge in unapologetic self-care.
Welcome to FLOURYSH, Olivia!
It is a blessing to be here today and it's also a blessing to be a part of the FLOURYSH family. Can you share with us how you found freedom at the mat?
Yes. Just divorced 2014. Living in New York life was crazy and I was in a new relationship with this new guy and was having a lot of challenges, like just adjusting from divorce and new boyfriend. Mentally, I felt consumed with my issues around men and boys and whatever. I was at the Asheville yoga festival in Asheville, North Carolina. I happened to be in a class taught by Rusty Wells, an amazing yoga teacher, Bhakti yoga teacher. And he had us in some pretty difficult poses. And he was like, you know what? Don't even worry about that issue, the issue you are thinking about right now. I want you to leave that on the mat day. And he was like, I want you to really think about it, what you're going through and push through it. And he was challenging us at the mat. And I was like, I'm leaving this ish at the mat today. I'm not walking away with it. And I really went deeper into my mind, body and spirit connection in that moment. And I felt a sense of freedom. I felt like I could walk off of this mat. This mat is my sacred space, but when I get off I can make a decision to walk away from it.
And so I literally got home to New York and I was up all night writing a PowerPoint because I dream in PowerPoint and I wrote everything out. I sent it to my church. They said, yes, we would love for you to feature Freedom at the Mat. And it was basically offering classes, freedom at the mat classes to women in Harlem at no cost through our church community center called the dream center, essentially. And it really wasn't affiliated with FCBC, but that's a whole other point. But the bottom line is that’s where I started. This was wanting to support other women and creating a destination, a safe space for them living in New York city in a 600 square foot apartment. We all know that we don't have a lot of space. Many of us are in various relationships and the husband or the wife could be in the next room. And so the thought there was, if all you have is a mat and that's all you have in your home, because that's all you have is it's 24 by 72 square inches. If that's all you have, how can you use that space to free your mind? And also exercise your body.
You make yoga sound so spiritual and healing. That’s so refreshing. And now people can buy into that through your kit on FLOURYSH..And what else are they buying into when they order the kit?
Yeah, and I should bring that back. So one of my main issues that I'm having with the wellness industry as it continues to grow as an industry is that there is this notion that people have to reach outside of themselves. So I want to be very clear about our content, our YouTube channel, which has over 3000 subscribers and 160 videos.
We offer affirmation, meditations, reading, spiritual readings, and yoga videos at no cost. And our goal with that content is truly to be a safe Haven and to be a resource.
I'm from Memphis, Tennessee. And I always say, when I go home and when I'm in Mississippi and I see people who are in dire poverty, we don't have to go to Africa. We go to the Caribbean, but we just go to the rural parts of the U.S And we see our brothers and sisters who are struggling every day. And there's a sister who may not be able to get to a yoga studio. She may not be like us in New York where she's going to spend $30 to have the luxury of time and money on a yoga class at a studio. So I want her to be able to find the readings, the affirmations and meditations and the yoga classes. All that will remain free. The content that we provide, it's very intentional in freeing us mentally, emotionally and spiritually. We get all into physical maladies, whether it's diabetes, high, blood pressure, et cetera. And so if we shift into the actual products from the content, the products really are there to help us support the ongoing production of our content. But there's also a purpose. For those who want to support us and like the work that we're doing with our content, we're providing to the world, our wellness content, we are offering 15% of all of our profits, to organizations, non profit organizations that benefit girls and women and the health and wellness of those women. So for us is that we didn't feel like we just wanted to be a business to make more money. That didn't feel good with this whole notion of wellness. We want to make wellness accessible. So it didn't feel right to us. Just create a company where we're like, we're going to sell you a $200 yoga mat and water bottles that never felt good to us. We're going to set ourselves up as a benefit corporation. We are in Louisiana and 15% of all of our profits go back to, and we have five organizations. We just want to basically allow for Freedom at the Mat to be a portal, if you will, and a vehicle to be able to support wellness content.
The difference with our mats is how they are designed. They're amazing. They have beautiful art on them. Each of our designs are beautiful and custom designed by an artist of color. That's number one and number two, they're thicker mats. And they're also anti-slip. What we noticed in teaching for about five years now is that many of the people who are following me because I am 48 years old, they're between 35 and 54 years old so they have wrist issues. They may have knee issues. They may have more weight on their bodies. They want a thicker, more substantial mat and they want one that is anti-slip. So we have anti-slip properties for all of our mats, and they're all premium quality, five millimeters, which just means they're thicker than a thin flimsy mat.
We’re so glad you’re with us on FLOURYSH!