5 Things KOOSHOO Learned at Whistler Wanderlust
1. Whistler is Ridiculously Beautiful.
I had the great privilege of growing up down the road from Whistler in Vancouver. From my early years right on through University I visited the resort community several times a year to ski the mountains and swim in the lakes. Looking back now, I took for granted that I got to spend so much time there growing up.
In the years since, getting to Whistler has become increasingly rare - partly because of time and partly because of cost (turns out starting a business eats up a lot of disposable income). Getting to be back up there for a full week in the height of summer made me appreciate just how much I missed it. It truly is an outdoor paradise.
2. A Village of Yogis
To be honest, I wasn't sure what to expect of the vibe at Wanderlust. I thought we'd find Vancouver's yoga scene displaced to Whistler for a weekend though it turns out there was a lot more to it than that.
There were indeed plenty of awesome Vancouverites, but I was amazed to see and meet people from around the world who'd ventured to Whistler just for Wanderlust. I feel like I met someone from every Canadian province and every US State. We also spent time with super awesome yogis from Australia, Japan, China, the UK, Italy, Germany, Dubai and elsewhere.
One of our new friends, playing the Didgeridoo for baby-to-be
It was a melting pot of like-minded people from every corner of the earth. Meeting everyone and hearing their unique stories was by far the highlight for each of us working the KOOSHOO booth over the 5 days. If we met you while in Whistler, THANK YOU for making our experience so awesome!
3. Handstands Not Required
We attended the first Whistler Wanderlust 2 years ago and at the time, the only type of class on offer was vinyasa yoga. In other words, full-on sweat inducing 2 hour workouts, back to back to back. It was intense. Too intense really. We came away form that event more worn out then we were going in.
So heading up to Whistler Wanderlust as a vendor for the first time, I expected more of the same, with the yogis to match.
Once again, I was pleasantly surprised to find the opposite. Not only did the schedule this year cater to balance with yin, restorative, yoga nidra and meditation classes at every turn, but the yogis to match were out in force.
Rachel enjoying a much needed moment of serenity away from the booth
At any given moment our little 3 foot by 3 foot booth would be surrounded with smiling and laughing toddlers, wise and beautiful white-haired women, and every age and demographic in between. Sure there were still the yogis that would transition from Handstand to Chaturanga at every Vinyasa (incredible to watch!) but there were easily just as many folk who were experiencing the word Chaturanga (a push up with elbows bent to 90 degrees) for the first time.
4. A Vending Community of Heart-Led Businesses
The KOOSHOO booth
If you have a business (or want to start a business) but have found the community of fellow businesses threatening, then you should really look to get in with the yoga crowd. They're driven, motivated and smart, just like other business communities, but in this community, everyone is about helping everyone else. It's badass, in a good kind of way.
We loved being able to set up a yogi with hand dyed headband or poncho Journey Shawl and then being able to point them on their way to find super cute hand dyed tights by Daub + Design, so-cheesy-they're-awesome tank tops by Inner Fire ("Asteya True to Myself" or "Hanging with my Omies"..), sacred chakra jewelry by Rae Kai, and so much more.
If all businesses of the future are anything like what we witnessed at Wanderlust, then I feel the future of commerce is in great hands.
5. People Love the Journey Shawl
The multi-use scarfs, aka The Journey Shawl, were everywhere in Whistler Village
A few years ago I was in a yoga class next to Chip Wilson, the founder of LuluLemon. I remember thinking how crazy it'd be to be him in that class to be looking around and seeing the 90% of the women in the room (and some men) wearing his company's products.
We're certainly not there but being at Wanderlust where our products were flying off the shelves did allow us to experience that sensation, if even for just a few days. Our much-loved, much-celebrated 12-outfit-in-1 Journey Shawl was a crowd favourite. By pack up time on Monday, we were left with just a handful of the massive box of shawls that we began the weekend with.
The Journey Shawls on display, early in the weekend when we still had stock
One of the highlights of the festival for us was going to an outdoor MC Yogi and DJ Drez concert (which was AMAZING) and counting the beautiful people in the crowd rocking their Journey Shawls and organic cotton headbands. We even discovered new ways to style the Journey Shawls, just be seeing how they were being worn in the crowd.
6. BONUS. Oh Teacher, My Teacher.
It may not have been quite as the original yogis of the caves of India envisioned, but Beasti Yoga - a powerful flow yoga class featuring Beastie Boy remixes by DJ Drez and MC Yogi as a teacher - was one of the highlights of my yoga-going life. And if that wasn't your cup of tea, there was surely a teacher at Whistler Wanderlust that was.
Over the weekend we got to attend soul-filling classes with world-class teachers like Tina James (one of the kindest, most heart-centered person I've ever met), Eoin Finn and his gorgeous yoga and life partner Insiya, Janet Stone, Shiva Rea, Sean Corn and so many more.
Vancouver also sent a great contingent of teachers to the festival with the likes of Zain Saraswati Jamal, Reno Muenz, yin-Goddess Danielle Hoogenboom and many others.
All in all, it was definitely a world-class showing of teachers.
We'll be back again next year for sure and are hoping to attend other Wanderlust Festivals around the world between now and then. Hope to see you there.