Meeting Leah and partnering with her phenomenal Vancouver-based brand, Inner Fire, has been one of my highlights since launching Supported Soul. I felt an instant connection with her as she is so approachable, creative, supportive and insightful. Inner Fire’s values are directly on par with my brand and their designs are breathtakingly beautiful and authentic. I am beyond grateful to have had the opportunity to collaborate with Leah and am very excited to share her inspirational story with you!
What inspired you to start Inner Fire?
Back in 2011, I was working as a yoga teacher when I suddenly had to be rushed to the hospital for the removal of a giant ovarian cyst, which left me in recovery for 6 weeks. While I was off during the holiday season, I decided to make gifts for my yoga teacher friends: yoga props and meditation cushions. Then I was asked to sell some at my yoga studio, so I just followed the demand.
When I was back teaching, I started to screen print my own shirts at home with design ideas that had been mulling around in my brain for a while. When I would wear them, people would ask me if I could make some for them. The clothing side of the business grew so quickly that I decided to no longer offer the yoga props. I had to hire printing help to keep up with demand and fulfillment.
A couple of years in, I expanded to eco-friendly leggings. This was a huge turning point in the business because I finally was able to bring my passion for design and sustainability together. The leggings became really popular, and from there, the company just kept growing to become what it is today!
I called the company Inner Fire because the area of my belly where I had the cyst was the same area where the third chakra resides. It is an area with fiery qualities that is responsible for passion, creativity and drive. I really felt like this fire got lit during those six weeks off.
How does yoga inspire your designs?
To me, yoga at its core is simply the practice of being fully present and connected. Practicing presence and mindfulness has changed how I interact with the world and how I create my art. It’s allowed me to slow down and notice the things that I might have glanced over in the past. Sometimes I’ll see a particularly interesting texture on the sidewalk. I’ll notice the curves of a flower or leaf and sketch it out. I’ll see a Moroccan lamp hanging in a shop and admire the elegant designs created from dotted holes. I’ll be on a hike and see the most calming slope of misty trees.
Often I have no idea what I’m going to do for the next season, and then all of a sudden, it all clicks. It’s the same with my yoga practice. When I stop trying to strive for something or get into a pose and just allow myself to feel, then I gain a sense of presence and ease. Trying to force creativity has never worked for me. I just have to trust the journey and know that, just like a yoga practice, the gifts arrive when you’ve given up the pursuit.
What sets your soul on fire?
I love to travel and take in different cultures. I’m ever in awe of beautiful places where nature and culture intersect. I love music, yoga, being outdoors and spending time with my partner.
Leah Emmott is the founder and CEO of Inner Fire Apparel, an eco-friendly yoga brand based out of Vancouver. She is a yoga teacher, designer and adventurer.
Stay tuned for part 2 of Leah’s interview, coming next week!