Wendell Morris is the founder of YogaRat, a yoga-inspired active lifestyle brand based in Santa Monica, California. Launched in 2008, YogaRat aims to achieve the perfect blend of quality, affordability, and fun in all of its products. Using non-toxic and eco-friendly materials and minimal packaging, YogaRat products include SGS-certified mats, microfiber towels, bags, slings, and RatPad, a circular pad that provides extra cushioning for certain poses.
Prior to becoming an entrepreneur, Morris was an Emmy Award-winning writer in Hollywood. He was actually still working as a writer when he started YogaRat, which he worked on at night. Morris didn’t even have extra space in his house to set up an office, but he believed in his idea to sell quality yoga gear at a fair price and, being an experienced yoga student, knew he could develop a great line of products.
Morris began selling his wares online in 2009 and made sure he paid attention to his customers. By listening to their feedback, YogaRat grew from a one-man show (where Morris did not take a salary for the first few years) to an eight-person team (where everyone has full health care).
“You can make all kinds of glorious plans, but if the customer doesn’t appreciate those plans, they’re pretty much pointless,” says Morris. “We’ve expanded beyond basic yoga gear, with products such as our Mugzy Towels for dogs… We’ll continue to put a little yoga in everything we sell.”
Morris is now happier and more creatively fulfilled as a small business owner than he was as a writer. According to him, “I’ve discovered that business is the most creative thing there is… Every time we solve a new problem in business, we’re being creative, because the solution to that problem doesn’t exist yet.”
He advices aspiring entrepreneurs to “start with an idea. Add some hard work, well-placed ingenuity, and consideration of your customers.”