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Beyond Yoga Steps Into the World of Retail With Its First Brick-and-mortar Store

A live willow tree stands 12-feet tall inside Beyond Yoga’s first brick-and-mortar store. In some ways, the tree epitomizes the Beyond Yoga collection of athleisure and activewear.

It is strong but soft enough to bend when faced with a wind that requires strong resistance, said Michelle Wahler, the cofounder and chief executive of the Los Angeles, California-based company acquired by Levi Strauss & Co. last year for $400 million.

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Softness and strength are some of the main features of the stretchy Beyond Yoga clothing made primarily in L.A. and, until now, sold only online and through wholesale partners including REI and Nordstrom.

That collection will be on full display at Beyond Yoga’s first company-owned store opening Wednesday in Santa Monica, California. Until recently, the 4,000-square-foot space was a Levi’s store on the Third Street Promenade, near the busy Santa Monica Place shopping center, a few blocks from the beach.

“This is the first time we have really had the opportunity to showcase all of our products and the different product extensions,” Wahler said. “We have our main line [at the store], but we also have our maternity line, and we will have our men’s offering and sleepwear.”

To revamp the store for Beyond Yoga, the hardwood floors were sanded and the walls were painted white. Archways were added to break up the space and inject a calming atmosphere. Along with the wide-ranging collection, there will be several accessories for sale from third-party brands founded by women.

The new store opens just weeks after the brief appearance of a Beyond Yoga pop-up store that debuted June 25 for one month at The Grove shopping center a few miles away.

The idea was to have a limited selection available of Beyond Yoga’s bestselling styles in a wide array of sizes, ranging from XXS to 4X. Fit specialists were on hand to find the right size and styles for people who could order clothing if they couldn’t find it in the tiny outpost.

“We learned so much from that,” Wahler noted. “We realized that people really do like to have a lot of product offering….We only had a handful of styles, but we ended up bringing in more inventory. It was amazing to see what we were able to fit into that little 200-square-foot pop-up.”

Beyond Yoga was founded in 2005 with the idea of providing stretchy, comfortable athleisure items that emphasized fit and comfort for people of all shapes and sizes. It was started to promote body positivity.

The brand is known for its comfortable and soft fabrics and for manufacturing almost all its selection of leggings, tops, shorts, dresses and more in L.A.

For the pop-up store, Beyond Yoga launched a new color, which was a crisp heather lavender. At the Santa Monica store, the company will introduce its latest hues called aubergine beet, clove and red currant heather, which will be available at the store and online.

The Santa Monica location is the first of many Beyond Yoga outposts that will eventually populate the country. Later this year, the brand will unveil a store at the Irvine Spectrum Center, a large, high-end shopping venue in Orange County, south of Los Angeles.

The next wave of stores will open in California. “There are more stores planned for next year, and they will be on the West Coast,” Wahler said. “We are focused on California first because that is in our backyard and where a large number of customers are focused.”

Beyond Yoga’s expansion is made possible by the Levi’s acquisition, the first such purchase under the leadership of chief executive officer Chip Bergh, who has helmed the $5.8 billion San Francisco company since 2011.

The corporation, founded in 1853, has helped expand Beyond Yoga with its expertise in marketing, distribution, retail strategies and human resources.