Photo by Lucky Penny Studios
In 2014, when yoga instructor Valerie Pike was getting ready to make a yoga DVD for kids, she looked around for high-quality, affordable yoga pants that the kids could wear in the video. “My daughter Sydney was tired of wearing tight, uncomfortable jeans to do yoga,” Pike remembers. She discovered that it was almost impossible to find girls’ yoga pants that matched the adult variety in style, comfort and durability.
“So, I decided to make them,” says Pike.
The DVD, The Traveling YogaBerries: Rainforest Adventure Yoga, features Sydney and other girls wearing yoga pants that Pike sewed herself. The girls loved them not only because they were really cute, but because they were also super comfortable. Pike’s yoga pants were far and away a better fit for doing yoga than the constricting jeans and leggings the girls had been used to wearing in yoga class.
The girls kept the yoga pants after the DVD was completed and started wearing them to school. “They were getting lots of compliments,” Pike remembers. Sydney and the other girls began wearing the yoga pants everywhere — play dates, dance class, even to bed. They were so soft, comfortable and fun. “They wanted to wear their yoga pants for days on end,” Pike says. “The only complaint I received from other parents was that their daughters never wanted to take them off.”
Pike realized she was onto something. She selected fabrics with Sydney’s help and started making her first line of YogaBerries pants. “I named them YogaBerries because yoga and berries are both healthy for you, and we promote a healthy lifestyle,” Pike explains. She put them on Amazon for sale and they sold out quickly.
“I started producing 50 pairs at a time, then 100 pairs. They sold out as soon as I put them on Amazon,” she continues. Today, the pants are cut and sewn by a company in Costa Mesa that can make 1,000 pairs of YogaBerries yoga pants at a time. “That’s a lot of pants!” Pike says with a giggle. To date she has sold pants to people as far away as Alaska and North Carolina, and the business keeps expanding.
The YogaBerries line has featured a few tops, a bikini, headbands and other apparel, and Pike is considering making jackets and accessories like water bottle covers. Yoga pants, however, remain the heart of the YogaBerries clothing line. Due to popular demand, Pike has added some yoga pants in women’s sizes, too. (Mommy & Me yoga, anyone?)
Pike still adheres to the same principles she set forth when she sewed her very first pair of pants. It’s all about “the fit, the fabric and the feel.” Made from a high-performance blend of polyester, spandex and nylon, the pants have four-way stretch, a no-roll elastic waist, and are moisture-wicking and quick drying. That makes them great athletic wear, not only for yoga but for dance, gymnastics, skateboarding, playtime or just hanging out. Pike adds, “They are saltwater- and chlorine-resistant, so they make great coverups for after swimming, surfing or paddle boarding, too.”
In addition to being durable and comfortable, YogaBerries are prized for their colorful fabrics. “As bright as berries,” cheers the company’s website. Mermaid, for instance, the company’s most popular line, features deeply saturated colors that shine and shimmer with fish-scale motifs. Pike shops for fabrics online and also at the Los Angeles Textile Show, but she often designs her own. “I come up with ideas and then check online to see if there’s anything similar out there. If I don’t see anything, I go ahead and design it. One of the latest fabrics I designed was inspired by brightly striped Mexican blankets.” Her wide range of designs include everything from Southwestern motifs and psychedelic tie-dye to photo-real images of animals, a starry sky and California beach scenes. Coming soon will be desert-inspired designs to coincide with the next Traveling YogaBerries video, which takes place in Joshua Tree.
YogaBerries allows Pike to combine many of her loves: art, fashion, yoga and helping kids live a happy, peaceful and healthy lifestyle. She recently began a YogaBerries anti-bullying campaign whose logo features two “yoga berries,” a blackberry and a strawberry, and the slogan “Be a buddy! Not a bully!” Pike reinforces the YogaBerries philosophy in everything she does and sells. That includes her line of clothing and her Traveling YogaBerries DVDs, which teach about animals and the environment as well as yoga. Pike also makes nontoxic candles and writes books, including a children’s book and a cookbook, which she sells on yogabyvalerie.com.
Pike still finds time to teach yoga classes privately as well as at the Barranca Vista Center in Ventura, and at special events like the Sedona Yoga Festival. In every class she tries to make meditation, mindfulness and yoga fun and accessible to kids. One of her favorite things is when a child exclaims, “I don’t want to do yoga!” Pike explains how she usually handles the situation. “I’ll say, ‘OK. Then just watch.’ Not even 10 minutes will go by before they’re joining in and having fun.”
Fun is the operative word when it comes to YogaBerries, and it’s all geared toward helping kids enjoy a happy, healthy lifestyle. Or as Pike says on her site, “Stretch, balance and be peaceful.” Why not look adorable in cute, high-quality yoga pants while you do it?
YogaBerries products are available on Amazon and on Pike’s online shop at yogabyvalerie.com as well as on Etsy and Shopify. They are also available locally at The Aerial Studio and Fit Zone in Ventura.