Wednesday, September 13, 2006

How To Make $3 Million A Year… Selling Towels

Susan Nichols Story

For Susan Nichols, success really was a combination of inspiration and perspiration. During a yoga class in New York in May 2000, her sweaty left foot slipped during the chaturanga pose, causing Nichols to take a faceplant.

She bought a Mysore rug, which is moistened and placed atop a yoga mat to prevent sliding. But when her office mates commented on the wet-puppy smell, Nichols went hunting for a fast-drying alternative. After turning up nothing, she decided to make her own.

Nichols set out to find the ideal material and stumbled upon a water bowl for dogs with rubber nubs on the bottom to prevent sliding. "That's it," she thought, figuring that the nubs could be affixed to microfiber for added grip.

After getting certified as a yoga teacher and moving to Santa Monica, she discovered a Korean factory that could manufacture microfiber with PVC nubs. In 2003 she founded Yogitoes to sell her Skidless-brand towels.

The towels, priced from $20 to $70, initially scored placement at 20 yoga stores and sold out within a few weeks. "I was surprised when I got a request from a studio in Nova Scotia," says Nichols, who relies solely on word of mouth.

Annual revenue went from $123,000 in 2004 to nearly $1 million last year, Nichols says. With sales set to hit $3 million in 2006, she no longer has to worry about falling on her face.

More on yoga

A Systematic Course in the Ancient Tantric Techniques of Yoga and Kriya