Like many of us who had to adjust to a new normal during the pandemic, finding ways to stay active for our physical and mental health with limited equipment was difficult. Taylor and Millie were familiar with this problem after they started doing a variety of home workout and weren’t satisfied with their yoga mats.
“They weren’t adding value to our workouts,” Millie said.
They wanted to know if this was a problem other people were facing, so they sent out a survey to their friends to see if they also felt the same way. The results of their survey revealed there was something missing from the market.
“Yoga mats are meant to be thin for balance, but the workout we were doing required extra support.”
Soon after, Millie and Taylor created the Stakt Mat, a thicker workout mat that could also fold, making it a multipurpose product that provides support and allows you to modify your workout. This foldable fitness mat can act as a yoga mat, step stool, yoga blocks, and more.
Now their product is a favorite for fitness gurus and beginners alike, as thousands of followers continue to discover Stakt on Instagram and TikTok. We were lucky enough to sit down with Taylor and Millie, the two founders of Stakt, to talk about their journey and the lessons they’ve learned along the way.
Millie and Taylor met in undergrad and currently live in New York. Taylor studied marketing and has a full-time job outside of Stakt Mat in the finance industry, while Millie studied psychology and has a sales career with an experiential retail store doing brand partnerships. Their unique backgrounds allow them to each bring different perspectives to their business.
“If you’re one person you can seek feedback, but with each other most decisions we make we can bounce off each other. We have different backgrounds and upbringings, and that is how we make what we feel are the best decisions,” Taylor mentioned during our interview.
They also are each other’s biggest support system. Since they were friends first, they have so much respect for each other and trust each other’s decisions.
“We have a group chat of us and our boyfriends and there’s always spitting out ideas, so it’s really nice to have that support system,” said Millie.
A lot of their inspiration has come from other influencers and female entrepreneurs that they follow on social media, who continue to inspire them every day to make their dream a reality. These women drive them to emulate what they’ve done so they can also find success.
And they clearly have been learning from the best. To promote their product, they’ve done a variety of creative marketing projects and collaborations that have helped people fall in love with Stakt. Whether it’s sponsoring workout classes in SOHO or collaborating with fitness influencers, they captured the attention of thousands before they even launched. After going viral on TikTok, they completely sold out of Stakt mats on their first launch.
Of course, the journey to a sold out launch isn’t as glamorous as it may seem on social media. There are always bumps along the way and lessons to be learned. Especially when starting a business during a worldwide pandemic.
One of the biggest challenges that Millie and Taylor faced was the supply chain disruptions due to the pandemic. Finding ways to have items shipped from overseas on time and within budget was no easy task.
As they reflected on the challenges that their business faced, Taylor and Millie highlighted the importance of learning on the go.
“Everything we’ve done we’ve taught ourselves by googling or asking someone. It’s definitely a challenge, but it’s something that’s brought us to where we are today.”
The challenges that they have faced have taught them to never be afraid to ask for help, and to celebrate the small wins. Millie told us how it can be easy to get into a groove of doing what you need to do and only looking at the big picture, but there’s so many little things that they’ve done to get this far that are worth celebrating.
Since the start of their business, Millie and Taylor have a lot to celebrate! From a sold out launch to being featured in major media outlets like Good Housekeeping, their wins are stacking up.
When we asked Millie and Taylor if they would do anything differently, they both said they wouldn’t change a thing.
“Everything we’ve done has taught us a lesson. I think everything happens for a reason and we made decisions to learn something or grow to where we are now.”
Millie and Taylor saw a problem with their workouts and knew they had an opportunity to fix it. Despite the many challenges and roadblocks they faced along the way, they continue to work towards their dreams and build a product that adds value to people’s lives.
“Just go for it. Don’t be scared to take that step because there will always be something standing in your way,” Millie says when asked what her advice would be to her younger self.
Taylor’s advice for the AskYourGirls community? “Take calculated risks, as long as they don’t burn bridges.” She also expressed the importance of using your network.
“A lot of times you have a friend of a friend who has a skill that you’re looking for, so make sure to utilize it.”
As home workouts continue to be popular for people around the world, we have no doubt that Taylor and Millie’s Stakt will continue to elevate people’s workouts for years to come.
Follow along with their journey on Instagram (@stakt.mat) or on TikTok (@stakt.mat).