Functional Furniture with Bhoga’s Randy Dean

February 19, 2015

JOHN SHEGERIAN: Welcome to another edition of Green is Good. We have a special edition here in San Francisco at the Green Festivals. We’re so honored to have with us today Randy Dean. He’s the Founder and President of Uniss Systems and Bhoga. Welcome to Green is Good. RANDY DEAN: Thank you, John. It’s a pleasure to be here. JOHN SHEGERIAN: Randy, before we get talking about Bhoga and what you’re doing there, can you share a little bit about the Randy Dean story and how you even came to founding this company, a little bit about your own personal journey? RANDY DEAN: Sure. I’ve been doing yoga since I was 18 years old, so that’s over 40 years I’ve been doing yoga. I came out to San Francisco in 1978 to study yoga. The yoga that I studied is Iyengar style yoga, and B.K.S. Iyengar was the innovator of using props in yoga to help with alignment and to be able to customize for different flexibilities and different sizes. Before I even started the yoga school, I injured myself and I paralyzed the shoulder muscle. I had some challenges. At one point, I couldn’t raise my arm up over my head, but this actually gave me a great opportunity to be able to realign myself. I’ve also been able to rectify and resolve most of that, and I’ve been practicing yoga for many years. JOHN SHEGERIAN: Wow. Talk a little bit about Bhoga, when you founded it, and what does it mean, and what are the products that you sell? RANDY DEAN: Yes. Bhoga means enjoyment. It’s the Sanskrit word for enjoyment, and the reason I named the product line Bhoga is because as I developed these tools, a lot of them are functional furniture, they are actually enjoyable to use. I have an alignment mat. I have a Bhoga bar. This is the bar here. It has a pair of grips on it, and it fits into a wall system. There are two sizes. One is wider than the one that we see here. This is 31 inches. There’s also a 50 inch long one, which has handles on the outside. Then I developed a chair and benches that are functional furniture that make it easy to not only sit and enhance good posture, but also to increase and inspire flexibility. JOHN SHEGERIAN: Wow. You make these functional furniture and things that we have here in front of us. Are they made out of sustainable or green materials? RANDY DEAN: Yes. First and foremost, they are made from rubber tree wood, which is one of the most sustainable and renewable woods that there is. JOHN SHEGERIAN: Where is that sourced from? RANDY DEAN: Vietnam. The rubber tree is used extensively throughout Asia, and it’s used a lot in furniture because it’s a very sturdy hardwood and it’s renewable and also it’s beautiful wood. JOHN SHEGERIAN: How many products do you carry in your Bhoga brand? RANDY DEAN: There are four currently, and one in the pipeline. JOHN SHEGERIAN: You talk about enjoyment and functional design. What does that really mean? It means bye bye your chair, or something like that? It’s going to keep my body in alignment and things of that such? RANDY DEAN: Yes, exactly. Because of the design of the chair, it’s ergonomically designed to be comfortable for the body, but also to allow us to have good posture. It’s very open design. It supports stretching. You can stretch in any direction. If you want to stretch forward or backward or sideways, there are not only things to hold onto that feel good but that are ergonomically designed to fit comfortably with the body. JOHN SHEGERIAN: Randy, do you still have the yoga studio? Is that still part of your business enterprise? RANDY DEAN: No. JOHN SHEGERIAN: But you taught yoga and you’ve been in that practice for over 40 years. So part of yoga, having practiced it at different points of my life, is not only inner, but it’s also outer. It depends on the instructor you have. A quality instructor can make the experience really wonderful. When you sell your wonderful products here, and we have a couple of them, I definitely understand the concept of the chair, the enjoyment of the ergonomic chair, the functional chair. But do the other products come with instructions, so we can make the most of your beautiful products? RANDY DEAN: Definitely. Each product has an instruction manual. It’s actually a guidebook. I have a couple here. This is over 50 pages of color photographs with instructions of 50 poses with the bench and the chair. Take a look. Flip through that. For each of the other products, like the wall system, we also have an instructional guidebook. With the benches by themselves, they’re very functional furniture, but they’re also very powerful alignment tools and stretching tools. JOHN SHEGERIAN: Now I get it. This is all the different things you can do with your great products. RANDY DEAN: This is actually just scratching the surface. It really inspires creativity because it’s such a pleasure, and that’s why it’s Bhoga, to touch it and to use it. The main structural support of the body is arches. If you look at the design of the benches and the chairs, there are a lot of arches in the design. It’s like putting a piece of a puzzle together. JOHN SHEGERIAN: Since our body is an interconnected system, are you designing these products to be part of the Bhoga ecosystem that can be used to help us in so many ways, more than just one dimensional? RANDY DEAN: Yes, totally. I call it eco tools for body-mind balance. When we were young, I think we all had the drawings connecting the dots, right? The beauty of this is that we can visualize whatever shape. People always say, “I want to be in shape. I want to get in shape.” But you’ve got to think, what shape do you want to be in? When you’re doing any kind of stretch, if you can visualize that shape, this gives you the opportunity to connect the dots by having something to hold onto, so that your body can unfold. JOHN SHEGERIAN: Got it. That makes a lot of sense. Do you have plans to develop other products in the line of Bhoga products? RANDY DEAN: I do. I have something that’s protoyped right now that is ready for production. It’s really a very special new design. Everything has got to be ergonomic, eco-friendly, and enjoyable to use. If it’s not fun, you’re not going to want to do it. JOHN SHEGERIAN: Exactly. Randy, how do you plan on growing this great business? Is it on the Internet, or do you have sales reps across the country and the world? What’s your vision on growth? RANDY DEAN: My vision is different than the reality. Right now, I’m just on the Internet, and I do festivals like the Green Festival and other things. I visualize having reps. I visualize more social networking engagement. I need more mentoring in that way. In New Hampshire, there’s a yoga studio that has my benches that they have a Bhoga class. I really understand how the value of this, once people see and use it, that there might be a methodology that is also going to be spread as well. JOHN SHEGERIAN: Gotcha. That makes a lot of sense. You just mentioned the Green Festivals. Of course, we’re here at this beautiful Green Festival in San Francisco today. It’s a packed house. Is the purpose of coming to the Green Festival that you have a booth, you have your beautiful products set up there, and when people can come and see and touch, seeing is believing with regards to your potential clientele base? RANDY DEAN: Yeah, and it helps a lot to experience it because the beauty of having been a yoga teacher, and I want to emphasize that this not just for people who are interested in yoga. Anybody who wants to have good posture, increase their flexibility and strength – JOHN SHEGERIAN: Which is all of us, Randy, pretty much. RANDY DEAN: Also, the design is such that it can fit any sizes. That talks about all of us as well. JOHN SHEGERIAN: That is so great. So the future is going to be hopefully sales reps around the world. But for our listeners out there, if they want to buy your products now and they didn’t have a chance to come today to the Green Festivals, they can go on your website, which is www.bhoga.com, right? And you’ll deliver anywhere in the world? RANDY DEAN: Right now, the U.S. and Canada and Hawaii and Alaska. It depends on the product. I have delivered outside internationally. JOHN SHEGERIAN: But mostly the United States right now. RANDY DEAN: Mostly right now. JOHN SHEGERIAN: Including this book is sold online with your products? RANDY DEAN: The book comes with the products. It’s not sold separately. JOHN SHEGERIAN: If I buy one of your products, I get this book. RANDY DEAN: Yes, if you buy a bench or a chair or a Bhoga bar or a Bhoga wall system, yes. JOHN SHEGERIAN: That’s great. Randy Dean, we thank you for coming to the Green Festival. Thank you for coming to Green is Good. RANDY DEAN: I wanted to mention that I’m offering a discount for Green is Good listeners. JOHN SHEGERIAN: Thank you so much. Tell us about the discount. RANDY DEAN: I’m on the website. If you put in GIGR20, that’s the discount code. That is good for a 20 percent off of any order. There is a limited time, but that is the discount for the listeners. JOHN SHEGERIAN: Thank you. That’s so kind of you. Our listeners and viewers appreciate it, I appreciate that, because getting this into the hands of more people is really what it’s about and supporting a great eco-preneur like you and making the world a better place is that it’s all about, so thank you, Randy. Thank you, Randy Dean, for coming on Green is Good. Again, www.bhoga.com. Make the world a better place. Make your own sitting and exercise regimen more enjoyable. Randy Dean, you are truly living proof that green is good. RANDY DEAN: Thank you, John. JOHN SHEGERIAN: Thank you.