In the last week, the yoga industry has been taken by surprise by two open letters. The discussion is about content rights, fights over contract termination and ultimately, profits.
To summarize if you are not yet aware, on March 16th, Kino MacGregor posted an open letter about the law-suit that Alo Yoga has brought against Dana Falsetti of Nolatrees. The letter shares details of the Cody app acquisition by Alo Yoga. It also shares how Dana’s desired of having her content removed from the platform (so it would not be associated with the new brand-owner) started a legal fight with Alo after she spoke about the issue on Instagram before the acquisition was public knowledge.
A few days later, the CEO of Cody App, Paul Javid responded sharing details of their business relationship with Kino and Dana. Paul opens up some of his business finances, including the acquisition and the amount he is paying Kino for content (over $500K so far). It also accuses Kino of plagiarizing website content. They now have competing video content platforms. Read the response here.
So what can we learn about all of this?
There is a lot of money in the yoga industry
We all know that the yoga industry in the US (and globally) is no longer something to overlook. From big apparel brands (like Nike) introducing their own line of yoga wear to huge franchise businesses like Core Power, this is a 17 billion dollar sector. Hard to ignore how lucrative this industry has become and how yoga has now become a lifestyle. Good or bad, it doesn’t matter, this is a solid segment that is growing globally.
When we see payouts in the half a million dollars, we must realize that yoga is now a serious matter. And just like any other business, it must be looked at it carefully.
Business is business
There are a few rules that can be translated from any business industry. As a previous marketer, I have worked with many different industries and these principles hold true anywhere:
– Pick your partners and vendors wisely
Business partners are one of the most important things to decide in a business. Who you want to work with matters enormously. Not only a business relationship means your brand will be associated with them but it also means you will have to spend time with the people involved. It impacts you personally and your business. Look for cues in their attitude, their other relationships, and core values.
– Read your contracts (with lawyers)
Even if your partner is your long-time friend or your family, contracts determine everyone’s proprietary rights, roles, capacity, and decision-making procedures. This helps everyone when conflict happens (they eventually will) and it can make a huge difference on how to proceed.
Most contracts exist for when things go wrong: when the business dissolves, a partner wants to sell, in the event of death, if the company is sold, etc. Think about the worst that can happen and make sure it’s in the contract or spoken about in an addendum. If you take your business seriously, you need a lawyer to look it over. This will protect you eventually. No business is forever.
– When competition arises, nobody is friends
In a lot of cases, business partners develop or already have expertise in the same industry. This makes it hard for people not to engage in the same industry when one part departs the venture. So chances are, your partner can end up being your competition.
Once someone is no longer with a company do not expect loyalty. You can expect respect, but it is unreasonable to think there won’t be true competition.
If not exercised, Gratitude is only a word
It seems most people are surprised that this story and law-suit is happening within the yoga world (in other industries this would be rather normalized gossip). In the yoga world, people are taught to be understanding, tolerant, kind and grateful. However, since working closely with yoga teachers, many have raised the ego aspect of the industry, fueled by social media celebrity status and acceptance.
So if you do something for a while (in this case, many years), it is only because it was working for all the parts involved while it lasted. Be grateful for the results and achievements and move on to the next amazing thing.
As always, all stories have 2 sides. So I encourage that you read both sides of the arguments.