“Shakti Mats started as more of a project than a business – we really didn’t see it going where it went. It was a combination of the influence of finding something that we absolutely loved ourselves, something we couldn’t stop showing people and talking about and a curiosity about what went into starting a business, and whether it was something we could do on the side of our uni studies.”
– Jon Heslop, co-founder of Shakti Mats.
Founded by Jon Heslop and George Lill, Shakti Mats is an ethical and sustainable company providing consumers with ethically-made acupressure mats that encourage restful sleep, melt away tension and relax the mind.
Benefits of the Shakti Mats
Based on the Indian bed of nails, the Shakti Mat is an acupressure mat that relaxes your body and your mind. For context, acupressure is an ancient healing art that dates back thousands of years. The Shakti Mats are an overall wellness tool, and can be used to support deep and restful sleep, encourage healthy circulation and muscle recovery, relieve the user from pain and discomfort, and provide relaxation. Nope, it’s not too good to be true.
Shakti Mats is also wholly dedicated to environmental responsibility. All Shakti acupressure mats are ethically hand-made from organic certified cotton, are dyed with plant-based dyes, and utilise first-class, non-toxic ABS Plastic for the acupressure spikes. Shakti Mats also reduces its carbon footprint by donating to Cool Earth, a charity that focuses on protecting rainforests and fighting climate change.
Meaning “the divine feminine power”, “Shakti” is a feminine principle in Sanskrit. So, it’s only fitting that the Shakti Mats are made in the country by which they are inspired, and that every part of the creation process empowers the women who create them.
“Everything here is rooted in tradition and craftsmanship. The sewing machines are manual operated by foot pedals, the screen printing happens through a delicate layering of plant based dyes over organic cotton trimmed by heavy metal scissors. Each spike is affixed by hand. In Varanasi, Shakti hires only women. It is our way to empower women in rural India to give them choice, purpose and community.”
The Shakti Mats are hand-crafted in the holy city of Varanasi by 72 women in an all-female purpose-built workshop, and every one of these talented women is paid a living wage, sick and holiday leave; provided with daily meals, puja, and free medical; and an emergency medical fund for both them and their families. Shakti Mats has also provided private school funding for 8 of its employees’ daughters, and they’re only looking to grow this number further.
Shakti Mat’s production has also expanded to Delhi. When this occurred, Shakti’s main goal was to “create a working model that catered to the individual needs of the craftspeople”, which meant focusing on family empowerment, financial independence, and flexible working hours. The Delhi team is paid with a living wage, overtime pay, and end of year bonuses, as well as medical insurance for the workers and their families. Shakti Mats even distributed €10,000 directly to the Delhi team to assist them and their families throughout the COVID lockdown.
Led by Jon and George, Shakti Mats is a purpose-driven company doing profound good. This is a business committed to empowering their talented workers, utilising organic and non-toxic materials, tackling climate change, and providing consumers with a tried-and-tested tool for overall health and wellbeing.
Want to know where Shakti Mats sits and what they’re working on in terms of these 5 values? Hover over these values to find out.
All Shakti Mat brochures and flyers are made from Cocoon 100% recycled paper. Cocoon paper is manufactured using a totally chlorine free process, 100% post consumer waste and is certified through the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Recycled Credit program. Shakti Mats are posted out in either cardboard boxes, or 100% recycled plastic mailer bags. Shakti opts for shipping product from India (where possible) rather than flying, to reduce emissions - although these are offset with other initiatives.
All Shakti Mats are handmade in Varanasi and Delhi, India. Over 72 women are employed and paid a living wage (based on the concept that work should provide an adequate income to cover the necessary living costs of a family).
The heartbeat of the brand is ethical manufacture, but there are still efforts to ensure each touch point of the brand is sustainable. Any plastic that arrives at Shakti from other companies, is generally reused or re-purposed. Shakti products that are not up to standard for retail, are donated to local charities or groups.
10% of all Shakti Mats profits go to Charity. We currently have 4 charities that we are donating to: Against Malaria Fund, Cool Earth, Deworm the World, and Workers Welfare Fund. Customers get to choose which of the 4 charities their purchase contributes to after they purchase.
Most materials are from the Gratitude Workshop itself, while other materials are sourced from other areas in India. We are currently working on ensuring all our values are met from farm to factory, and it's an on-going process!
Behind the Brand
“I’ve heard that a business is the ultimate expression of your personality, the way it behaves reflect your own values. But I think too that this goes both ways - you shape the business and the business shapes you”.