Childhood friends George and Jon started Team Shakti in 2014. After a chance encounter with the inventor of The Shakti Mat, Swedish Yogi Om Mokshananda, we fell in love with the product and its alignment with ethical, effective self-care. So we left our graduate jobs and committed full time to the new endeavour.
Investing in beds of nails came with unique challenges, and it was slow beginnings. We lived out of a tent in Auckland to save money and used a grassroots sales approach with presence at farmer’s markets, yoga studios and good old-fashioned door knocking as a way to introduce The Shakti Mat to New Zealand.
We are now out of the tent and work closely with our best friends from Uni and George’s Aunty Sue in our very own Shakti warehouse.
Two things get us out of bed every morning - the first is the feedback we get from our customers about the positive impact The Shakti Mat has on their daily lives; to be making our contribution to a growing self-care movement is incredibly rewarding. The second is getting to turn up to work and step into an environment of continuous learning and enthusiasm with a tight knit group of friends.
We pride ourselves on ethical manufacture. The heart of our production is our gratitude workshop in the holy city of Varanasi, India. The word ‘Shakti’ in Sanskrit is a feminine principle, and symbolises empowerment, abundance and change.
It is with these principles that we run the workshop. Team Shakti aims to care for the women who work there to give them choice, empowerment and a sense of community.
These women are supported with good pay, good hours, daily meals, free medical care, sick pay, time off for weddings and other events, and a safe and happy work environment.
In early 2018 Team Shakti offered scholarships for 9 young girls from the families of the women, giving them the opportunity to attend private school throughout the entirety of their education. We also established a fund for the employees in the event of a medical emergency.
All of our products are made carefully by hand, with Organic Cotton, plant-based dyes and first class, non-toxic ABS Plastic. The results are high quality, ethically made Shakti products.
With the growth of Team Shakti globally, we have expanded our ethical production to Delhi, where we have carried the same core values of empowerment, abundance, and change for our employees.
Our charitable initiatives are made possible by the support of our customers and the Shakti community. We thank everyone who has helped us along the way.
In 2018, we donated $18,000 to Evidence Against Action’s Deworm the World initiative. It is considered to be one of the most effective charities to donate to by GiveWell, an organisation that focuses on charity assessments and effective altruism.
Through this initiative we funded the treatment of approximately 25,000 children in developing countries, including India, for worms. This charity is considered by GiveWell to be a priority program given the possibility of its huge benefits at such low cost.
You can find more about the program here.
You can find more about other effective charities and the amazing work of GiveWell here.