5 Minutes with Anne Lise

At Yoga Stops Traffick we are very proud and super lucky to partner with some fabulous brands. Every year, we run a blog series to highlight and celebrate our partners with this year’s theme being all about community! Community is at the heart of YST which is why we can’t wait to find out more about the human story behind our 2022 partners’ brands.

We’re kicking off this year’s series with Anne Lise, founder of Tøyenstæsj. Based in Oslo, Norway, Tøyenstæsj produces beautifully colorful and uniquely hand-crafted carry-straps for yoga mats. 

The company was born out of Anne Lise’s desire to give back. Her business centers around her ethos of ‘paying it forward’ with NOK 15 donated from every carry strap sold to help rescue and rehabilitate survivors of human trafficking in India.We are excited to hear what she has to say about her work.

Over to Anne Lise!

Is there a significant theme, belief or value that brings your community together?

We create carry straps for yoga mats in a way that respects the circle of life. We buy products from India produced by a community of women called sisters in business who are trained in sewing and paid for their work. This money is then donated to India through Yoga Stops Traffick.

Has the pandemic changed your view on the role of community in your life or in relation to your business?

We started our business just after lockdown, and through our online community have been able stay connected even when social, or physical distancing is necessary. I find it difficult to put into words how my view has changed, but I do know that as humans we are always looking for ways to stay close. In my community, we have found each other during the pandemic, and are still learning through this experience. I love reaching out to and staying in contact with others, and the online side of Tøyenstæsj I find, creates a safe space for this to take place. 

How has yoga shaped or strengthened your sense of community? 

Yoga is what connects us. I started yoga a while before the pandemic hit and feel so grateful that I had this community to lean on; where the teachers, students and being able to practice together has created a space to stay safe, calm and level headed. 

Is there an injustice or specific issue that motivates your community? 

This is where our strength lies. “Pay it forward” is one of the strongest building blocks of Tøyenstæsj. It is where our cause started. I thought about creating a fun business that serves other people as well as myself, by bringing together my personal care for others and the planet. I seek to create a platform for voices that are not heard, and to highlight some of the injustices that are happening in the world. Furthermore, I wish to educate people and pass on the knowledge that I have and keep getting updates on.   

What accomplishment are you most proud of that your community helped you to reach? 

What I am most proud of is our contribution to jobs in India and to the immigrant community of women in Norway. 

Finally, we’d like to say a huge thank you to you for supporting YST 2022! Do you have a message for everyone taking part in Yoga Stops Traffick next march?

We are stronger together and a little goes a long way. 

Find out more about Toyenstaesj here!

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