For Julia and Cornelia Gibson, fitness is a family affair. The sisters exercise best when they are together, but even if they are separated from each other, they will cheer each other.
However, outside of their sisterhood, they found that the same encouragement and motivation were not universal.
When looking at the fitness industry and health spaces, they saw fewer and fewer women who looked like them-women with different skin colors and body types.
Therefore, the two women decided to do something about it.
In the fall of 2019, New York City natives established Reconciled by BaggedEm, This is a fitness-centric brand that not only focuses on making women feel their body, but also inspires them to overcome fitness obstacles.
After raising US$2,000 through the crowdfunding company Kickstarter, the sisters started selling yoga mats with images of women with different hairstyles, headscarves, skin colors, figures, and figures. For a limited time, the brand also sells mats with black men as the footsteps.
Cornelia Gibson told CNN: “Many things that prevent people from keeping promises or spending time on themselves are that they don’t have much encouragement.” “Inclusivity is a big part of it.”
When talking about the design of the yoga mat, Gibson said: “The yoga mat can achieve this goal: she is the sister you have never had before.” “And you feel that she is cheering for me, she is here for me, she sees Looks like me.”
The idea of the mat was passed to the Gibson sisters in the most traditional way-it was early in the morning, and they talked to each other on the phone, ready to start a new day.
Julia told CNN: “She was on her way to work, and I was chatting with her. My daughter said this at the time. This is the experience of preparing my daughter for school, but it is just stuck. “And I think this is what we can actually do, it can provide representativeness, and it can change the stereotype.”
The next step is to find an artist to design artwork for yoga mats. Fortunately, the sisters don’t have to go too far: their mother, Oglivia Purdie, is a former New York City elementary school art teacher.
With an idea and an artist at hand, the sisters created a mat with the women they see every day-their neighbors, family, and community women. And, more importantly, they want the children to look at the mat and see themselves in the image.
Julia said: “Representation is very important.” “I have a customer who told me that their children lay the mat and said,Mom, are you on the mat? For me, this is always a great achievement and the greatest reward. “
In addition to highlighting the underrepresented populations, these images also play an important role in dispelling popular myths about the ability of various body types to perform various exercises (especially yoga poses).
Julia said: “Yoga postures are beautiful and may have a connotation, that is, if you have a certain figure, you may not be able to do it.” “Our mats look like everyday women you see. They give you confidence. .
She added: “When you look at it this way, you can’t ignore it.”
The impact of the coronavirus
Like other companies in the United States, Toned of BaggedEm has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
This is the first year of the brand’s opening. As many stadiums and yoga studios are temporarily closed, it has become a challenge to release information about its products.
But the sisters say there is also a bright spot.
Julia said: “I think this has really attracted attention to the demand for our products, because more and more people need meditation mats for exercise, yoga, and Pilates at home. It can be used for many different thing.”
The pandemic has also severely affected people of color. According to blacks, Latin Americans and Native Americans are three times more likely to be infected with AIDS than whites. Centers for Disease Prevention and Control.
The sisters said that this virus, plus the recent addition of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Daniel Prude, Jacob Blake ( The racial discrimination caused by the death of Jacob Blake and others emphasized the need for self-care.
Cornelia said: “Because of all the pressure we continue to bear-the lack of resources in the community, things of this nature, we must find a place that is good for us.”
She added: “It is important for us to realize the importance of health to the body and the importance of taking care of the body.”