Mumu says 'namaste' to global surf brand O'Neill partnership

Chris McKeen

Kiwi company Mumu has partnered with international surf brand O'Neill.

Yogis and entrepreneurs Lara Jane Maloney and Keli Dierings have barely had time to take a breath since starting their designer eco-friendly yoga mat brand.

The Aucklanders launched their online store Mumu in February and now, they have partnered with American surf brand O'Neill​.

The partnership will see O'Neill products sold on Mumu's online store and a collaboration between the two brands on a new line of yoga wear.

Lara Jane Maloney set up Mumu with her friend Keli Dierings after they went to a yoga retreat in Bali and couldn't find ...
CHRIS MCKEEN/FAIRFAX NZ

Lara Jane Maloney set up Mumu with her friend Keli Dierings after they went to a yoga retreat in Bali and couldn't find any beautiful eco-friendly yoga mats.

With global brands Lululemon​ and Gaiam​ dominating the yoga scene worldwide, having yet another yoga brand seemed unnecessary.

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But Maloney said there was a market for something more homegrown.

A philanthropist at heart, Lara Jane Maloney co-founded Y for Youth, a not-for-profit that gets companies to contribute ...
CHRIS MCKEEN/FAIRFAX NZ

A philanthropist at heart, Lara Jane Maloney co-founded Y for Youth, a not-for-profit that gets companies to contribute to youth organisations.

"The entire yoga industry is booming at the moment. There's a huge amount of people interested in yoga so there's definitely room in the market for another player," she said.

"We are an oceania brand. The name Mumu was inspired by the Maori word, which means valiant warrior. We are really strong in our Kiwi roots and we want to take that Kiwiana history and leverage that."

Relying on their Kiwi roots was not enough to stay competitive though, so they were working fast to offer more products and build a community, Maloney said.

The plan was to become a global brand and the challenge at the moment was figuring out the logistics of shipping products around the world.

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"The mats are made of 100 per cent natural rubber so they're quite heavy. Once wrapped up, they're about 3kg. Shipping can cost about $80 to Europe, which is prohibitive," Maloney said.

To get around that, Maloney said they will figure out where orders came from, set up products in those places and look at having someone local to minimise shipping costs for customers. 

When Mumu first launched, it sold out of about half the stock in the first two weeks so there were few qualms about demand as the company grew, Maloney said.

Maloney and Dierings, who is a yoga teacher and teaches the New Zealand Warriors, were also planning to use the partnership with O'Neill to launch a yoga class directory to get more people stretching and flowing.

For Maloney, it was about giving more women the opportunity to be part of a supportive community while also enjoying health benefits.

Her philosophy came from her seven years travelling the world, where she lived and worked in 30 countries doing everything from life coaching and massage therapy to being a dj and promo modelling. 

Maloney said the generosity of the people she met inspired her to do more to give back.

"Our goal is to create a global community of modern, conscious women and our yoga mats are just a platform to do that," she said.

 - Stuff

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