Meet Anna and Sophie co-founders of hejhej. They are driven by sustainability, not by profit.They use what our planet already has an excess off: waste to produce hejhej sustainable yoga mats. Their aim is to contribute to a more sustainable planet by offering a product that can make a positive impact.
More than 10 million tons of waste is dumped in the oceans yearly. An alarming 75% of the 10 million tons of waste is plastic material. Yoga mats are one example of plastic products that often do not get recycled, thus, there is a need to rethink and redesign the materials of yoga mats which currently exist on the market. One way to address the rising amount of waste is through innovative design of products such as hejhej.
What inspired you to create hejhej-mats?
We got inspired to start with hejhej-mats during an art exhibition in Gothenburg, Sweden. Both of us studied our Master in Sustainability Management in Sweden. During this time we visited the exhibition of the talented turkish female artist Pinar Yolda at Rodasten Konsthall in Göteborg. With her artwork, Pinar accused yoga practitioners of acting hypocritically as they often believe to follow a sustainable lifestyle while they practice yoga on a plastic mat, which has bad ecological and social consequences. Both of us were touched by the artwork and felt caught up. On the way home we started to research for sustainable yoga mats. As we did not find one that fulfils our sustainability expectations, we decided to create one on our own. We manufacture a yoga mat align with the principles of the circular economy, as the usage of recycled materials without creating any waste to us is the highest level of sustainability one can reach by now.
The hejhej mission.
Our mission is to create a yoga mat that has a positive impact on people’s well-being and the planet. We will achieve this by contributing to reduce the amount of plastic waste on the planet and by creating a yoga mat that will be fully recyclable at the end of its lifespan.
Where did the name hejhej come from?
We came up with the idea for hejhej-mats in during our time in Sweden. This is why the name hejhej represents our connection to Sweden, as it is the way people greet each other in Swedish. Secondly, with hejhej we want to welcome the new life of the recycled material we use that would otherwise have been throw away. The repetition of the word hejhej demonstrates the repetitive use of resources for our product.
The production process.
Our mats are made from off-cuts which occur in the foaming production. Foam is used in many industries, such as automobile or furniture. We can make use of these cut-offs for our yoga mats. Our manufacturer is located in Germany and is part of the foaming industry as well. He uses his factory own off-cuts as well as off-cuts from other industries to produce our mats. The production takes place only in Germany. Right now we are producing prototypes and are really close to our final product. However, to fulfill our and your sustainability and quality criteria, we need to conduct some further testings. For this we need financial resources, which is why we will be starting a crowdfunding campaign at the beginning of October at the startnext platform.
What else can we expect from hejhej?
At first, we are concentrating to produce a high quality yoga mat out of recycled materials. Once we are satisfied with our product and start selling, we start to diversify our product range and also offer different types of mats. The plan is to concentrate on yoga mats and yoga equipment. Yoga apparel is not on our focus now – but never say never :).
Some yogi magic.
We believe that Yoga not only strengthen your body but also your mind. Yogis are often more conscious about their effects for people and the environment and handle life in a more relaxed way. We think everyone could use a little of this.