Fitness studios need an array of equipment for clients to use during workouts. Before Framewrk opened, we thought we had it all sorted out. Mats, weights, yoga blocks, bolsters and therabands and cleaning products were the basics. We had a little spreadsheet with research quantifying costs sitting next to each item and a total at the bottom to keep track of every penny spent. We were prepared. But then as the final decisions on products and manufacturers was near, we realized we had a bigger choice than simply considering brands and colours. Our choice was to decide how far we were willing to go to live our values and to stay true to what we said mattered to us.
Sustainability is a tough word. It basically means upholding a certain level or standard. And it should be relatively straightforward. But with a start-up business the idea of sustainable product choices means considering social, environmental and economic factors. What may be environmentally sustainable may not be socially or economically sustainable. Something economically sustainable may be detrimental to both society and the environment. And items with a social conscience may lack environmental sustainability or may be so specialized they’re not economically manageable.
Every purchase we made considered these factors. Ultimately, we chose the best product in each category. We wanted to write this blog because the hardest part of the process was finding the information to inform our choices. We’ve decided to share some of the manufacturers we opted to support and what motivated our decision so you, our clients know how seriously we take this ethos. Additionally, we want to help other businesses interested in making informed selections about their purchases.
The first question we asked was “is this good for your health?” With all the toxins out there, this seemed like a good place to start. Because we’re a fitness studio, we considered where toxins hide and how we could minimize and avoid them given the way equipment is used.
- YOGA MATS – You lie on them. Put your face on them. And while doing that you’re encouraged to breathe deeply. For that reason we chose Manduka Yoga Mats for their natural rubber and non-toxic rating.
- CLEANING PRODUCTS – A clean environment is a healthy environment. Unfortunately many cleaners are toxic. For the mats and equipment are cleaned with a spray made from vinegar, tea tree oil and grapefruit oil. The floors are washed with good old soapy water. But our mirrors are cleaned with Windex.
- CANDLES – We burn only soy candles made by Yummi Candles.
- SCENT – Calming and invigorating essential oils add an ambience to the studio. But due to people’s sensitivities, we chose all natural Saje products, which come through a neubulizer that cleans the air while it scents it.
- FABRICS – Our Halfmoon bolsters and blankets are organic cotton. We also have Dusky Leaf organic yoga straps.
The next question on our list was – how close to home/Canada was this made. We figured that if we bought Canadian products, we could be more certain about the conditions it was created under. Plus it didn’t have to travel as far reducing our environmental footprint.
- Cambridge Towels – our Cambridge towels are made in Cambridge, Ontario
- Yummy Candles – made in Mississauga ON
- Manduka Mats – made in the USA
- Halfmoon Bolsters – made in Vancouver
- Halfmoon Blankets – made in India with a certificate of ethical standards that Halfmoonvendors sign
- Barn Board Shelves – made from Canadian old barn board mainly in Ontario
- Ballet Barres Location Luber in Quebec
- Succulent Plants – Eco Steams in Toronto where 90% of the plants are locally grown
Finally, when the other questions where answered, we asked, “is this product is environmentally sustainable?” We reverted back to the three Rs to determine if we were in line with this theory – reuse, reduce and recycle. Kijiji was fabulous for some of the larger items andif this wasn’t possible, we looked at options for low impact materials.
- Kijiji provided us with the reception desk
- Our plants and chairs came from a friend’s business office that was moving and needed a new home for their old stuff
- Natural Origins (fair trade) storage baskets and mat baskets were from Homesense
- IKEA cork benches
- Recycled glasses Homesense
- Dusky Leaf cork yoga blocks
It may cost a little more in the upfront spend but will end up in a savings in the future and it’s a future we feel good about when we think about how we are making choices today.
List of Companies We Use in the Studio:
Saje Wellness https://saje.ca/
Yummi Candles http://www.yummicandles.com/
Dusky Leaf Yoga http://duskyleaf.ca/
Barn Board Store http://www.barnboardstore.com/
Ballet Barres http://www.locationluber.com/
Plants - http://ecostems.ca/