Brand of the Month- Lorna Jane

I like to consider myself a smart consumer. Aware of the details of the companies I support, I buy local when I think it matters most, and I’m conscious of the marketing and branding that attracts me to a product or organization. When I’m not doing those things, I work on being modest.

But I’m sure I’m not the only one who falls into this group. Social media, especially Instagram, is often at the root of this connection. It’s a way for a consumer to get a feel for something greater than products, you get an idea of what it would be like to work there and in the best cases, you IMG_2793feel like you’re a part of that family. Due to the pace of social media, consumers can get updates and information without waiting for the next production of a major commercial.

Active wear outfitters, Lorna Jane captures this power perfectly.

As lululemon, Under Armour, Athleta, and many more brands gain traction and headlines, there needs to be a way to stand out. This means standing out on social media too.

On Instagram, brands are able to learn more about the followers as well. Lorna Jane has chosen to focus on broadening the demographic of who could see themselves in their clothes. This becomes even more strategic and meaningful when you think of their competitor lululemon’s controversies with body shaming. it may just be a photo, posted on one day, but when the message resonates, it’s worth one thousand words.

IMG_3059Lorna Jane came on my radar when the Minneapolis-based studio Alchemy started carrying it. Seeing as I don’t own any LJ clothing (yet) I had no reason to build a personal relationship with their brand.

However, they have made an active lifestyle accessible and welcoming to all, which is a personal goal of mine as well. They have said yes, we are a lifestyle brand, but we’re also human.

By often featuring quotes, photos, and signatures of the founder, it creates a motivating connection you would normally expect from the best friend you call after the best and worst days.

B2C Brands don’t always have a choice anymore; social media is more of a given than a strategic idea. But how it’s approached is where the strategy comes in, and the difference is made. It’s the why and how that fascinates me, and makes me applaud brands like Lorna Jane. Furthermore, it makes me tag other followers that I know will appreciate the grams; or (as seen above)screenshot their Instagrams and send them to my friends.

They know we are paying attention, so they are doing the same.

 

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Minneapolis with Mountains

Our yoga mats waiting to board, they became great friends.
Our yoga mats waiting to board, they became great friends.

It started as a “I wish we could.” Scrolling through photos of previous Yoga on the Rocks classes, imagining a city comparable to Minneapolis surrounded by mountains, and dreaming of a lifestyle that permitted guilt-free weekend travels. It’s very similar to how many of our friendships started. Being tied together by previous leadership positions, interests, and mutual friends then transitioned into seeing each other almost every day for 6 am yoga sessions, then to lunch/happy hours, life dilemma debriefs, and most significantly, for no reason at all.

Just as quickly, plans for our Denver weekend materialized and the countdown began. There’s something so powerful about travelling with like-minded people, driven by the best question “why not?” Our long weekend was filled with hiking, yoga {on paddleboards and on land}, being too enveloped in conversation to read the books we brought to the pool, shopping, brewery-runs, lots of eating, and explaining that we weren’t a bachelorette party despite the wedges and lipstick. It may not be everyone’s ideal, a sentiment I am used to, but that’s how you know you’re surrounding yourself with the right people. No complaints over here.

While there’s enough Insta’s to create a travel brochure, one of my greatest takeaways from this weekend was the concept of mental souvenirs. Some would call these memories {eye roll included} but I would call them boring.

Always one for the you-do-you mentality, I decided to go for a run after our paddleboarding adventure. Much IMG_2869to Alyx’s dismay, I left my phone behind with the defense of being able to run in Europe and not get lost prepared me for the moment. Sidebar, I actually got lost for hours during my first run in Rome, but that didn’t seem relevant at the time.

Following a paved trail close to the beach, I stumbled upon an archery range, wildlife signs, and secluded houses. Feeling the heat of the Colorado sun, I picked a stopping point in the distance, which happened to have an amazing view of the mountains, hills, prairies, valleys, and houses all leading into one another. As your classic millennial, my first thought was I wish I had my phone. But my second thought was how refreshing it was to be present. To see and savor instead of snap and share. This view is my mental souvenir.

As the weekend continued, I found connectivity wasn’t just in the scenery of Colorado. Everyone we met was warm and inviting, taking genuine interest in what brought us there. While we may pride ourselves on being products of the “Minnesota Nice” mentality, their authenticity set it apart. We also quickly learned that every CO resident who isn’t born there is considered a “transplant,” a term everyone insisted we would soon identify with.

Huge thank you to our beautiful host Becca
Huge thank you to our beautiful host Becca

By the time Friday night fell behind the peaks, we were exhausted from hiking Mount Sanitas and touring Boulder. Normally, when I suggest waking up at 5 am on vacation I get shut down very quickly, and people start to question why they went on vacation with me in the first place. Luckily, this group of yogis could agree sunrise at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre was a non-negotiable.

Once we arrived for Yoga on the Rocks {or #CPYontheRocks}, a 4-part series of guest led yoga classes in the amphitheatre, we knew all the planning and travelling {and PTO use, holla} was well worth it. Much like the 6 am classes we frequent, the venue was filled mat to mat and energy was bouncing between the peaks, despite the early start time. Our instructor for the day, the Minneapolis CPY-role model Joel, added to the unforgettable feels. From making us laugh—“Reach your arms forward like you’re seeing your favorite niece or nephew at Christmas. You don’t have a favorite, but they’re your favorite”—to creating a greater purpose for the group of 2,000 yogis—“Dedicate this practice to a friend who doesn’t know you’re thinking of them, a friend you need to tell ‘I love you,’ a friend you need to tell you’re sorry, a friend that doesn’t know they are beautiful”—which I committed to my first yoga friend, my mom.

There are too many photos to share, and even more stories to tell, and in reality I lost your attention a few IMG_2966paragraphs go, maybe got it back for the photos, but the Netflix tab at the top of the screen is going to trump sooner than later. It’s not everyday that we can plan trips and make choices that to others may seem extreme. I have had to answer the question “You went to Denver for a yoga class?” many times. On paper, yes, yes we did. But I don’t think it takes a health, yogi, or outdoor enthusiast to agree that this was so much more.

I think a lot of times, the best decisions do not make sense. Your bank account may not remember agreeing to it, your calendar may feel abused, but opportunities like these are driven by that “gut” feeling. For you, maybe it’s not a yoga class at Red Rocks, but whatever it is, stop consulting external factors and just say yes. Why not?

The Cleanse to Clarity

cleanse quoteI never understood doing a cleanse. I tried various juice cleanses—usually a loose interpretation of a recipe combined with what I had immediate access to—always with the subconscious knowledge that it would last less than 24 hours.

So a few months ago, right at the end of the semester, when I was faced with the opportunity to do a juice cleanse, I was surprised to hear myself say yes.  The difference, however, from the previous attempts and my 3-day Juice So Good cleanse was the intention. I had just completed the most difficult semester of my college career, and only had finals between me and graduation. I was seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, and more than anything, wanted to leave that emotionally and mentally draining tunnel behind me in my path. Previously, everything about a cleanse sounded miserable; but suddenly, everything about it made sense.

I headed over to the Apple Valley CorePower studio, where the cleanse was kicking off with a detoxifying C2 vinyasa class. We started the practice by writing on a post-it the reverse of the negative track that plays in your head. If you’re one to think I’m not enough, a mantra could instead be I am loved. We then slid the post-its under our mats and let that mantra guide our practice and set the tone for our cleanse.

The next three days and eighteen juices still stand out in my mind. I found cleansing isn’t about deprivation. IMG_1831It’s the conscious process of giving yourself exactly what you need without the sugars, vices, additives, stress, people, thoughts, and stories that are no longer serving you. It’s taking the power away from every external factor and bringing it back to yourself. It’s diminishing those tracks that inspired the mantras on our post-its, and recognizing that negative thoughts only exist because we allow them to.

Sure, it’s only juice—mind you, a main ingredient is love—and it’s only three days of our luckily long lives. But the intention behind this process made it memorable and impactful enough to still inspire a blog post three months later.

Speaking as someone who rarely does this, it’s usually the experiences where we actively put ourselves first that stay with us the longest. I am fascinated by the way our bodies and minds communicate; how reaching new intensity or mindfulness in a workout can lead to similar breakthroughs the next day at work. How going on regular walks can help calm our thoughts when we’re stuck in traffic. And as a result of this cleanse, how bringing only good into our bodies can inspire, motivate, and strengthen us to oust the bad from our daily lives.

So what’s your story? The track that plays over and over that only positivity and self-love is strong enough to silence? What is your vice? What is no longer serving you? And most importantly, what is the reverse? What do you wish you could remind yourself of on a regular basis? What would you infiltrate your body and mind with if given the chance? Do it today.

p.s. the post-it that reads “you deserve life-giving love and support” stills sits on my dashboard.