How to grow a Shopify Yoga brand including Wholesale with Valka Yoga’s Danny Garg (episode 467)

Danny Garg is the CEO & founder of Valka Yoga. Founded in New Zealand in 2017, Valka Yoga now also sells to the US, UK, and Australia and is growing 30% year on year. They now sell via their Shopify site and wholesale offering via their own site and Faire and do about $500,000 per year.

Danny Garg  Valka Yoga on eCommerce MasterPlan Podcast

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Dive in:

[04:28] India and New Zealand influenced sustainable mindset. Researched yoga mat materials, discovered cork.
[08:03] Mix of factors: Carbon footprint, shipping costs. Locally-made products reduce carbon footprint.
[12:57] Help studios customize products, gain customers’ confidence.
[13:47] Prominent social proof boosts wholesale sales growth.
[17:22] Overseas shipping profitable, favorable payment terms.
[23:07] Seeking eco-friendly materials and local production.

Danny’s eCommerce Journey

Danny’s eCommerce journey began in university. He started a small electronics store due to the high cost of calculators in New Zealand compared to the US. He ran this business on the side, importing calculators from Amazon and selling them locally.

After working at Deloitte in consulting for two and a half years, Danny sought a more creative and personally fulfilling path. Inspired by his passion for health, wellness, and sustainability, he founded Valka Yoga.

Team Structure and Fulfillment

Danny describes his small and agile team, consisting of three individuals based in Australia and New Zealand, a remote designer in Brazil, and himself managing operations in the UK and the US. The team structure reflects a mix of in-house work and partnerships.

For fulfillment, they adopt a mixed approach, with New Zealand and Australia being 100% fulfilled locally. In the US, bulkier items are fulfilled locally, while some other items are drop-shipped with fast delivery times. Fulfillment methods are primarily guided by their carbon footprint, focusing on reducing emissions and costs.

Expanding Product Range to Include Copper

Danny explains that his goal was to build a health, wellness, and Ayurveda brand. He shares that in India, copper has always been known to have antimicrobial properties. The inclusion of copper in their product line aligns with encouraging a holistic yoga lifestyle beyond just physical activity on the yoga mat.

Adapting to Challenges

Danny says COVID had an impact on their sales. They had an initial sales spike due to increased demand for sustainable products during the pandemic. Back then, they relied heavily on ads to get more sales. However, their strategy has shifted to affiliate marketing, influencer marketing, and building relationships with studios. Despite the challenges this strategy shift presents, he finds fulfillment in helping studios through wholesale channels such as Faire.

Danny says it’s important to get products into studios, build customer confidence, and ensure that the products align with the conventions and needs of different yoga practices.

The Importance of Social Proof

Danny emphasizes the significance of social proof on Valka Yoga’s homepage, particularly highlighting partnerships with influential yoga studios and figures. He says what contributes to sustained growth are word-of-mouth marketing, the strategic placement of products in studios, and potential retail partnerships with the studios.

Listing on Faire

Danny explains that Valka Yoga’s wholesale focus is primarily on yoga studios due to their preference for local retailers. However, the brand is also listed on Faire and is in the process of relaunching on Amazon.

He shares there are benefits to listing on Faire. They have access to global retailers and get attractive first-order incentives. Faire also provides compensation for shipping costs, making it financially viable for international shipping.

But while Faire is a valuable channel, Danny says Shopify remains the most crucial, followed by Amazon, with Faire as a supplementary avenue.

Affiliate Program for Sustainability Advocates

Danny explains that Valka Yoga’s affiliate program focuses on influencers and yoga teachers who align with the brand’s mission and values. The program involves a mix of individuals reaching out to the brand and Valka Yoga proactively seeking out influencers and content creators.

The affiliate program, managed through Goaffpro, offers a 10% commission to affiliates for sales generated through their referral links or discount codes, while customers receive a 10% discount. The brand prioritizes sustainability and selectively collaborates with influencers who share their values.

eCommerce Book Top Tip

eCommerce Traffic Top Tip

  • Word-of-mouth marketing and SEO

Tool Top Tip

Carbon Top Tip

  • Look beyond recyclable packaging and focusing on the production of goods to reduce the carbon footprint. Danny suggests using natural materials and exploring local production as ways to lessen emissions and costs.

Interview Links

Related episodes

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  • Serving 160k Customers Custom Fit Fashion with Jess Fleischer, Son of a Tailor (episode 456)
  • High Growth Success for a D2C Brand with Mark Rushmore, SURI (episode 460)

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