Each month we'll be shining a light on some of our favourite brands in the wellness and yoga space. With travel plans firmly back on and the official beginning of the Summer season in full force, La Pochette is a brand that deserves to be on your radar. Creators of sleek and beautiful gym kit and travel bags - we spoke to Justine Rouche, founder and creator of La Pochette - to learn more about the brand, what inspired her to launch it and discover some of her wellness rituals.
What inspired you to start La Pochette?
I would often avoid working out during the day, as it meant having to carry a heavy gym bag, as well as a handbag and laptop. Who wants to look like a packhorse on the tube?! The light bulb moment came when I was in a changing room after a sweaty lunchtime spin class. I didn’t need a gym bag. All I needed was a bag to put my clean or sweaty kit in, and a few post class essentials like moisturiser. Everything else was provided. Cleats, towels, hairdryers, toiletries. Most studios and gyms at the time provided a plastic bag for dirty kit, but I knew this wasn’t the solution, (not only from an environmental point of view, but who wants a plastic bag in their Celine handbag). When I spoke to friends, they agreed that it was a great idea, and requested that if I found one, could I buy one for them too. I went on a search to find a suitable bag and realised it didn’t exist. So I decided to make one myself and La Pochette was born.
Whilst athleisure clothing had been steadily emerging to suit current lifestyles, accessory design had basically stalled in its evolution. However, fitness and wellness are now incorporated into our daily lives as much as having our morning coffee.
An early spin class, a spontaneous lunchtime swim, or a wind-down post work Yoga session is now much more likely and we wanted to create fitness accessories which allow this transition in our lives to be effortless.
What is your favourite product from the collection and why?
I honestly love all products, and they all must meet the “would you buy it?” test. However, I would have to say I love the Shoe Carry. It’s made from the same material as the sweat and wet bag so it’s lightweight, washable, antimicrobial and deodorising. However, not only can you store your shoes in it, but it has a separate pocket in it to store your gym kit! It’s the perfect “gym bag.” However, it’s also great for your suitcase.
How do you see your brand evolving over the next couple of years?
For years people spoke about wanting more of a work/life balance with the flexibility to be able to work both from the office and remotely. Of course, recent successive lockdowns have proved that this is possible. La Pochette’s brand ethos has always been about being able to get as much as you can out of your day, and as we transition to a hybrid lifestyle, the ability to “pack up your day” has become even more relevant. La Pochette will continue to design products to be able to do this effortlessly.
We really love your focus on sustainability and minimising plastic waste. What are some of the key decisions you’ve made?
Whilst we didn’t set out to be a sustainable brand - rather we believe that every brand has a responsibility to be sustainable these days – it was concerning that no-one seemed to consider the single use plastics issue in gyms, pools and spas. We use our keep cups, reusable water bottles and bags for life in our everyday, post workout literally millions of us are reaching for a single use plastic bag to stow our sweaty or wet post workout kit on our way home. When we all strive to live in a more sustainable and environmentally responsible way - so why should going to the gym be any different?
Our pouches completely remove the need these single use bags whilst also offering a more practical alternative which won’t leak in your bag, allow harmful bacteria to grow or develop unwelcome odours while being stored due to our signature fabric with antimicrobial and deodorising properties.
We use 30-50 recycled plastic bottles in every metre of our signature fabric, used waste otherwise destined for landfill. The fabric’s ability to limit bacteria growth, deodorise and repel stains also mean they need to be washed less frequently and at lower temperatures to keep them hygienic.
Elsewhere the clear ‘Anywhere Everywhere’ pouch collection is constructed from highly durable biodegradable TPU for long life usage and trimmed with Vegan leather. Three models of the Anywhere Everywhere pouches are TSA approved, allowing you to use them as cabin approved liquids bags instead of decanting all your belongings into single use plastic bags which are discarded after airport security stations in their millions in every airport in the world. Another hidden single use plastic issue largely ignored…
We’ve spotted you in many magazines and in some of our favourite boutique yoga studios. What are you most proud of since your launch? Has there been a highlight moment?
There have been many “pinch me” moments. Whether that was being recommended in Vogue or GQ, chosen for partnerships in gyms and studios such as Third Space or being stocked in stores such as Selfridges.
Our strap line is ‘your practice, your story’ - we know that when it comes to wellbeing practices, it’s a personal journey. What wellness practices keep you feeling inspired and positive?
The biggest stress buster for me must be doing something that makes you sweat. A spin class, run, or even hot yoga. However, a few years ago I went to a crystal bowl sound bath, and it was life changing. Now, when I need clarity of thought or a place to find peace, I will make sure I go to one.