Last week Kate and I got the happiest of surprises when we were invited to the launch of Camel Rock, an Australian based company hoping to fund their innovative round yoga mats via Kickstarter. It was a surreal moment to be invited to the event and then thanked in their welcome. We’re not sure what we did to deserve the star treatment but we were both thrilled to be invited and find out about their product. It also proves that Adelaide is a small place as it turns out I went to the same school as Elle and Amy and saw my former dance teacher there. In all, it was a lovely night and we wish the girls the best with their campaign.
Amy Moyce and Elle Holmes have been friends for over twenty years after meeting in high school. They remained close despite establishing different careers, with Elle working as a photographer and event operations manager, and Amy working in the fitness industry in coastal New South Wales. As a fitness trainer with Australian and international experience, Amy saw the need for a yoga mat which allowed more freedom than the traditional rectangular style. Thus, the idea for the Manda Mat was conceived. The round mat is almost 2 metres (6 feet) across and comes in four striking patterns, white on a black background. Being large and circular, they allow a 360 degree range of movement, giving freedom and space for wide poses – and can accommodate two people at the same time, which is especially useful for a personal trainer working with a client.
Now both married which children, Amy and Elle have pooled their knowledge and their interests to start their business, Camel Rock. Camel Rock is named after a beautiful stretch of beach close to Amy’s home in Bermagui, NSW. She says of the name: ‘we want to share the sense of space and serenity from Camel Rock,’ in reference to the camel shaped rock that frames the northern end of the picturesque beach, popular with surfers, dog walkers and yogis.
What is so special about a round mat you ask? As an experienced yoga practitioner and personal trainer, Amy always knew there was something lacking with the traditional rectangular yoga mats. She had to reposition herself many times during her practice to suit a rectangular mat which she found quite restrictive, limiting & often frustrating. A round yoga mat allows movement in all directions without any body parts coming off the surface.
There are four black and white designs to choose from and each mat has a smooth surface with a cushiony textured underside. Amy designed the mats by hand and the designs were then digitally remastered by a graphic designer. The designs have evolved over almost 2 years, with the final 4 designs each appealing to different personalities.
Kate and I noticed that in the Kickstarter video the mats had a traditional rough finish whereas the finished product is smooth. Elle explained that the detail in the mandala designs meant that there needed to be greater accuracy in the printing, which the textured finish didn’t allow for. The textured finish was also a PVC product, so they decided to opt for TPE (thermoplastic elastomer) which is an ECO friendly material. The top smooth layer is polyurethane, and is designed to absorb moisture to help you get a strong grip. It’s also very easy to clean with soapy water and a soft cloth.
One of the things that stood out about the Manda Mat was that it was much larger than Kate and I were expecting. It comes with a carry case and should be stored and transported rolled up, as opposed to folded, which may cause it to crease. The size of this mat means that it has many uses aside from just practicing yoga. Kate said she would happily use it as a picnic mat or take it to the beach to relax on. The spongy texture lends itself to all kinds of fitness regimes and also is kind on knees and spines. Personally, I find any poses that require me to lay on the ground quite uncomfortable as hard floorboards hurt my back, even with traditional yoga mats. The Manda Mat would create a softer, more comfortable base for home yoga practice.
Elle and Amy went through 4 prototypes with the 5th being their final product. “We tried different manufactures, and eventually decided to go to China, to meet face to face and explain what we were after, the result – our 5th and final mat.” They are confident that the Manda Mat is what the fitness world has been missing and so last week they launched their Kickstarter campaign to fund their initial production run. You can check out their project here.
Seeing all the people who had come out to celebrate with Amy and Elle, and support their business goals was really heart-warming. Kate and I had such a great time chatting with everyone, and with Elle and Amy, getting to know them and the story behind Camel Rock. The Manda Mat is a great product and we were both really impressed with the quality and the lovely designs. If you are a devoted yogi, one of those people who practices with an instructional DVD at home, or just someone looking for a practical mat to sit on, we urge you to check out Camel Rock and show them some love. Elle and Amy have big dreams, including extra colours, apparel, accessories, jewellery and spreading their message of self-acceptance. They are great girls and we wish them every success.
Check them out:
Off to do the downward dog,