What does it take to pull a busy musician away from a new album launch? For Jason Mraz, it was the chance to learn more about Kevala, a new yoga apparel company that aims to change the world, one comfy workout shirt at a time. Kevala’s RefelctNow shirts, tanks and towels are gaining popularity online via the startup’s Indiegogo campaign, thanks to their forward-thinking design. But Mraz was more interested in the story behind the t-shirt, and recently sat down with Kevala founder Keith Donohue to talk about the inspiration for Kevala’s charity-driven business model.
In the interview, Donohue describes how the Kevala concept evolved from a five month road trip spent volunteering in all 50 states (plus Canada, the District of Columbia and Mexico). Searching for a way to do even more, Donohue realized he could continue to help all the people he met along the way by launching a business that included an automatic donation-with-purchase component. He just needed a product to sell.
As an avid soccer player and yogi, Donohue dreamed up his ideal athletic shirt: made from sustainable materials, totally comfortable, and able to inspire each wearer to stay active, stay in the moment, and think beyond the yoga mat. And so Kevala was born. The shirts, made from organic cotton and sustainable lyocell, feature an inspirational word such as “breathe” written in reverse on the front- so you can read it as you practice tree pose or do lunges in front of the mirror.
The same word is written forwards on the back of the garment, so everyone else in the room can find inspiration, too. More importantly, a portion of every Kevala purchase goes to one of 53 non-profit organizations across North America.So it’s no wonder Kevala caught Mraz’s attention. The Grammy winner is no stranger to charitable causes, having launched the Jason Mraz Foundation in 2011, which works to advance equality, promote the arts, support education and preserve the environment. But attracting big names to the company is just one small piece of Kevala’s promotion plan.
Donohue is really looking to the yoga and athletic community for critical support. Kevala finished a 2 month, 50-studio yoga crawl across southern California, where yogis could join donation classes and learn more about the company’s mission. A launch party is planned for June 8th in San Diego, complete with live music, a runway show and an array of other wellness vendors. Donohue’s approach to his business is always energetic and often off-beat, but it’s just that kind of shift in thinking that might help Kevala rise above the rest. “All I can do is donate my time, and give back somehow. When you lose your sense of self, all that’s left is love.” And that’s what Kevala is all about, says Donohue.