How a yoga instructor turned her passion for wellness into a thriving apparel brand

Could you tell us a bit about yourself, what you sell at Zen Nomad and how you got started?

I am a fashion designer, yoga teacher, wellness practitioner and entrepreneur. With Zen Nomad, I sell Canadian made, eco-friendly lifestyle and yoga clothing. I have had other fashion lines and when I got more involved in yoga, I decided to make sustainable, comfortable clothing that was stylish enough to wear outside the yoga studio.

What did it take to get your first products in stock? Has that changed since you started?

I design the product, create a pattern and sample, then bring it to my contractors to make multiples for the online shop. The garments then have to be photographed, storied and placed in online inventory.

How did you get your first sale?  

I was originally selling to yoga studios and at shows, then slowly moved online once I had a bit of a following.

What obstacles and challenges have you overcome along the way?

Challenges have been having money at the right time to make stock, getting enough traffic to the store to sell enough once there was stock made, and having quality pictures done in time to sell online.  

What influenced your decision to use Shopify?  

They were focused on the online shopping experience, so everything you need to sell is there, or there has been a Shopify app made for it.

What was the process like to get started? Is there anything you wish you had known then that you know now?  

It was a fun learning process. I do wish I had known how to budget funding beyond just getting the garments made, because there are so many other costs and efforts for an online store which are mostly based on getting it in front of the right people.

I also wish I had focused more attention in the beginning on blogging, and connecting with influencers and my customers in an effective way.

What Shopify apps do you currently use? Which apps are most important to your business and why?

Consistent Cart - because they send reminder emails to people who have put things in their cart.

Judge.Me - because it gives customers the opportunity to rate and comment on products so other buyers can make informed decisions. You can then share those reviews on your Facebook business page.

Kit - to send follow up thank you emails that are personalized and do on-the-go marketing through Facebook and Instagram, if you like.

What theme did you choose for your site and why?

Retina - because I thought it was aesthetically pleasing.

What strategies have you used to attract more leads and grow Zen Nomad?  

Collecting emails at the in-person shows I do. This seems to be where a majority of my repeat customers come from, because they have seen the product in person and love it and want to come back for more.

Also I have put effort into Facebook ads, which brings in more traffic, but ends up costing a fair bit.

What are some of the most effective ways that you interact with your customers?

In-person at shows.

Are there any metrics you can share in terms of order volume, monthly sales, increased revenue, growth %, etc.?  

I grew about 15% from 2017-2018

My repeat customers increased by 40%

My conversion rate increased by 20%

To what do you attribute those positive metrics?  

I think it’s a combination of the follow-up emails with Consistent Cart, sending out newsletters and having customer ratings on products.

What are you working towards now?

To increase qualified traffic to the store. Also, sending out more newsletters and creating blog posts that are more diverse yet relevant.

Are there any blogs or other resources that have been helpful for you?

Brave + Boss podcast by Kristi Soomer.

Based on your own success, what advice would you share with others who might be just starting out with Shopify (or with eCommerce in general)?

Find ways to build an audience and a following; create interesting content that makes people want to engage with you.

Where can we learn more?

You can visit our website at We are also on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.


Sonja Den Elzen, Founder of Zen Nomad



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