TIPS OF THE DAY
Urban Goddess designer pieces with functionality and comfort in mind, while remaining mindful of their impact on the planet, which is why everything is made from organic cotton. Amsterdam-based brand founder Marlene Smits takes inspiration from modern city living: urban and practical, and above all vibrant. We chat with Marlene to find out more about the brand and its inspirations.
What does creativity mean to you? What inspires you to be creative?
“Creativity is an expression of the soul. And I think it’s important for every human being to find a way to express themselves in the way that they feel is authentic. This does not mean that all of these expressions should strive to be masterpieces. Not at all. But they are all precious at the soul level. Either way, everyone thinks of them. It keeps the flow going.
What does Amsterdam offer you as a maker? Are there other places that inspire you, why?
“Amsterdam offers a cosmopolitan atmosphere in a village setting. The yoga community is thriving and therefore it is a perfect place to experience yoga culture, from the absurd Dutch perspective of functionality and durability.
How did you get into this industry? What was your first job?
I was a journalist for 15 years, working for fashion magazines like Elle and Cosmopolitan, but also the biggest online media in the Netherlands NU.nl and corporate clients, on trade missions. And even the BBC online, for some Dutch scientific research papers. After that I spent another 6 years in advertising. Before studying journalism, I studied sewing in Rotterdam. So there has always been a link with fashion. Yoga and meditation have been part of my daily life for over 25 years. I started teaching almost 15 years ago.
Why is it important for consumers to continue to seek out conscious and inclusive brands? What can they do to support more?
“Like everything in the universe, everything is connected. Choosing brands that have values such as organic or vegan products, has a ripple effect not only on the environment, the treatment of humans involved in production, etc., but will in fact have an impact even on the factors socio-political and economic. In a way, when there is a critical mass that chooses to spend their money this way, it’s like voting for a better, greener earth. And so we create a new reality.
Why is conscious and sustainable manufacturing important?
“It’s about creating a healthy product that brings joy from start to finish. The joy of not harming the earth, the joy of the jobs created and the fair pay people receive, the joy of creating something comfortable and valuable to add to your yoga experience. Values and energy are respected. A product that is made through the suffering of others can never be comfortable to wear.
Complete these sentences: “Always …” and “Never …”
“Always be true to the purpose of your soul. Never compare yourself to others, you are here to experience your unique soul journey.
What does yoga mean to you? What are your other favorite ways to get moving or creating movement on your own or with your family or friends?
“Yoga is an essential health habit for the mind, body and soul. I love heart openers in all kinds of variations. I also recently discovered Chi Gong, so I really enjoy mindful movement techniques. Walking in nature is also something that I try to do on a regular basis.
Favorite Yogamatters Product (s)? Why?
“I love self-care products like Correct Toes and the Lola Pocket Sized Massage Gun. But of course also the yoga mats and accessories that Yogamatters has been rocking for many years!
What’s your work uniform? What do you wear when you are not at work?
“For many years, I only wore Urban Goddess, all day, every day. The reason was mainly because I was teaching a class in the morning before going to the office or after the evening, and it’s so comfortable to wear. So I would just put a few more pieces in a bag, and mix and match them for the studio and the office. But in recent years, I have also been wearing clothes that are not yoga. Especially for meetings. I like to mix. I also like to wear caftans in the summer.
What or which gives you energy and allows you to recharge your batteries?
“Nature and my yoga practice. “
Current favorite movie, book, app, podcast, game?
“Podcast: Abraham Hicks. Delivered: Energy speaks by Lee Harris. * similar reading: Good vibes, good life