We had the good fortune of connecting with Lilian Leone and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lilian, maybe we can start at the very start – the idea – how did you come up with the idea for your business?
Lilian Leone – Yoga & Movement Teacher | Karma Frog Activewear Founder.
In 2006 I took my first yoga class in a Bikram Yoga class studio in Alpharetta, GA. The heat was intense and I thought I was going to faint. I didn’t and the next day I felt great, so I went back the next day, and the next and the next for about 3 years.
In 2009 I tried an Ashtanga Yoga Studio in Duluth, GA, where I really found my cup of tea. Ashtanga! Under the guidance of Lori Finch – a loyal Pattabhi Jois (Ashtanga’s Founder) student and follower – I took a Teacher’s Training in 2012 and started teaching right after. And that’s how everything began.
After four years of home practice, in 2016, I started to teach yoga exclusively online. It was then that the idea of having my own clothing line hit me. I noticed that not only me, but also my students were constantly fixing their tops or bottoms and disrupting the yoga practice.
I took a sewing class for beginners and started drawing my own yoga line. After many meetings with manufactures, and feeling frustrated because nobody showed interest in my ideas, I finally met two great guys in Brazil that took me by the hand and decided to be my partners in this journey.
Since then we have been working everyday to keep improving the quality and the performance of my beloved envisioned yoga apparel.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
When I start playing with the idea of having my own yoga clothes line, it was just for me, to attend my need of having an outfit that allowed me to practice without being constantly adjusting the top, the leggings, because I am a girl with curves and sometimes the apparel do not fit well, either too loose or too tight.
Karma Frog was born from the necessity of having active wear clothes for girls with curves, like me. But also outwear that makes you look nice.
It was not a easy path. I tried to explain the idea to some manufacturers but they showed no interest. Mainly because I needed a small production at first. It took me one year and a half to find a manufacturer. I was almost giving up from the idea, when I was on vacations in Brazil to see my family, when I found the perfect manufacturer. They loved the idea and gave more ideas. I was very happy and ready to start the website, photo shooting when COVID hit.
Little by little I start to adapt myself to the new situation and here I am, launching Karma Frog. Finally the dream left the drawer and it is alive.
I learned that we need to see the challenges as opportunities to grow, to be creative and leaning new skills.
Karma Frog is a small company owned by an immigrant woman with a big will to make some difference in the yoga apparel market. To make everybody feels included, comfortable and beautiful.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I would take them places I love around Atlanta: Krog Street Tunnel, Cabbagetown, Ponce City Market, to a Braves game and some trails in north GA – Cloudland Canyon, Fort Mountain State Park and Warwoman Dell Trail. My favorite places to eat and I would take my guest are: Nacho Daddy in Duluth, Herban Fix in Midtown, Pho Viet in Peachtree Corners and to drink mojitos at Mojitos in downtown Norcross.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would like to thank the support of all my friends and in special to Kim Fenton who literally wore Karma Frog apparel since the beginning and is always rooting for the success of the brand. Kim, thank you so much for your friendship and support!
Photos by: Josh Fenton and Paulo Moraes.