One year after its acquisition by Levi Strauss & Co., Beyond Yoga has opened its first brick-and-mortar store in Los Angeles, where the retailer’s story began in 2005. In developing a strategy for its physical location, Beyond Yoga focused on allowing its popular textiles to shine through via educational signage, thoughtful product displays, comfortable spaces and artistic installations.
Beyond Yoga chose a permanent space in the oceanside neighborhood of Santa Monica, Calif., at a Third Street Promenade location formerly occupied by a Levi’s store. “Santa Monica is an L.A. landmark in retail,” said Kori Whitaker, Head of Stores at Beyond Yoga in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “I want to surprise and delight customers by being able to represent everything the brand has to offer, and Santa Monica will allow us to do that. It allows us to offer that neighborhood community feeling where it means a lot to us, because this is where we started.”
The company took notes for the 4,000-square-foot store during a monthlong pop-up experience that it hosted at The Grove shopping center in Los Angeles beginning in June 2022, and Beyond Yoga will continue to spread its mission of comfort, camaraderie and women’s empowerment as a female-founded brand when it opens its second physical store this holiday season at Los Angeles’ Irvine Spectrum Center.
“The first [store] is always the hardest, because you go from a digital brand — and people have an idea of what the brand is — but then you actually go in and you experience it,” said Ashley Hart, VP of Marketing at Beyond Yoga in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “We’re based in Southern California, so that bright and airy optimism is what we want people to feel. We want people to feel welcome and feel like they’re going to somebody else’s house and meeting up with friends.”
The materials and the layout go far toward creating that happy, welcoming atmosphere. Design elements that afford ease and encourage a relaxed journey include:
- Marshmallow-white walls;
- Light birch flooring;
- Rounded shapes and arches with intentional avoidance of sharp points;
- Metal bars accented with a gold powder coating to soften the appearance; and
- Seating with pillows that use the brand’s signature Spacedye fabric throughout the store.
“We intentionally put spaces and chairs around the fitting room so people can have conversations versus just being there to try on,” said Hart. “We sanded down the flooring to a birch. The wall coloring is a marshmallow white. so it’s not a pure white where it feels sterile — it has a warmth to it. There is a powder coating on the bars, and while the bar is hard, the gold makes it softer. We were looking at all of these parallels between strength and softness.”
Using Mission-Minded Signage
Upon entering, customers can see a large back wall that features an illuminated floor-to-ceiling sign in bright yellow. It bears the Beyond Yoga name and the words “You are Powerful. Real. Soft. Strong. Confident. Unique” — the characteristics the brand hopes to relay to its customers. Campaign imagery throughout the space is displayed with meaningful messaging such as “Made for everybody,” and “Be moved. Be you. Beyond.”
Additional signage clarifies the brand’s mission of comfort and equity in activewear. On the left-hand side, the store features a wall-mounted display titled “What We’re Made Of” that features samples of the brand’s Featherweight, Heather Rib, Cozy Fleece and Spacedye fabrications.
The display encourages guests to feel the samples while the messaging relays Beyond Yoga’s environmental commitments, such as Los Angeles-based manufacturing, responsible sourcing, waterless printing and a less wasteful production process. The store’s righthand side features another wall-mounted sign that emphasizes the commitment to inclusivity, including sizing that ranges from XXS-4X, unretouched campaign imagery and Beyond Yoga’s roots as a female-founded and led brand.
With 89% of its employees identifying as female, Beyond Yoga strives to elevate women’s voices, including through featuring product and producing events with partner brands that are founded or led by women, such as Sticky Be Socks, Dagne Dover, bkr, Sundays and Bia Blooms. This commitment to elevating women-led businesses can be found throughout the store with signage that not only introduces these brands’ products but also educates the customer on their backgrounds.
Blending Artistry with Technology
Beyond Yoga also worked with Levi’s to create an experience that was as beautiful as it was retail-driven. Beyond Yoga chose Chris Wrobleski, a Los Angeles-based artist whose work has been commissioned by Levi’s in the past. The result was an artistic installation located in the back of the store comprising the brand’s popular Spacedye fabric, which hangs down from an arched ceiling to create a canopy. The installation stretches from a cozy seating area that connects the retail floor with the fitting room area onto a wall within the entrance to the try-on area.
“The arched ceiling was very important to me to execute because I felt like it was the aspect that would bring that ‘wow’ factor to the store, and help set the design apart from other stores,” said Wrobleski in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “The two walls are very large and fun to touch, but the 10’ x 12’ floating arched ceiling really helps take the space to the next level.”
Noting that employees and visitors can lean against the walls, Wrobleski likens the sensation of touching the Spacedye fringe to the feeling of receiving a hug.
“The space is calming and inviting, both in color palette and materials, and speaks to the softness that Beyond Yoga is known for,” said Wrobleski. “The arch and the walls are made from the same material as the clothes — super soft, and enjoyable to touch. I wanted the walls to be extra dense fringe, comfortable enough for a nap. Even while installing the piece, employees and other people working on the store couldn’t keep their hands off of it.”
Despite the temptations to catch 40 winks, the space also is equipped with technology for customers and associates to work together efficiently. For example, the Shopify-powered space includes technology for customers to book appointments online prior to visiting the store. Customers can work with associates to find the products they want and explore exclusives that are only available through the Beyond Yoga store or the brand’s ecommerce channel.
“The customer can go online, book an appointment and the salesperson is prepping the room, then the customer has the undivided attention from the salesperson,” said Hart. “It’s great because you can see all the customer history, so if they buy black all the time or navy, if they’re a brights person or a jumpsuits person, you can start to pull what they purchased [in the past]. Associates can look at customers’ preferred sizing or if they want to try a few different sizes; they didn’t have that option before because it was a digital brand.”
Checkout was also simplified; while a cash wrap is located in the back of the store, customers are able to complete their purchases from any area of the store via mobile devices.
“Thinking about the point of sale, it was also really important that you didn’t have to go to certain places to stand in line for checkout,” said Hart. “They can check out in the fitting rooms, they can check out at the front of the store, they can check out sitting down on the round table. We wanted to enable the sales team to be able to have a conversation and not have to walk away.”