Meet Christine Moghadam- Owner and Founder of Corc Yoga, an organization that provides the world’s most sustainable yoga mats, which are made of cork.
A native Seattleite, Christine stuck to her western-coast roots for college, receiving her BA in Cross-Cultural Studies from Biola University. It was during these years that she developed an intense love for travel and photography- exploring India, Pakistan and even following the Silk Road to China. Raised by entrepreneurs, she understands that building strong partnerships and giving back is just a part of smart business. When she’s not wearing her entrepreneur hat, you can find her with her camera at the soccer field with her husband and her two boys or she’s just off planning their next family adventure!
As a second-generation Chinese American, Christine’s American dream started long before the launch of Corc Yoga. A child of immigrants, she watched her parents work diligently to build their own business, learning from a young age that anything’s possible when you follow your dreams, work hard and show compassion for others. It’s no surprise that these values she incorporated from her parents have moulded Corc Yoga into the unique and thoughtful brand it is today.
“Despite a lifelong affinity for helping others, one of my biggest inspirations for my business model stemmed from my own moment of need. As a teenager, struggles with stress and anxiety ultimately led me to develop a severe eating disorder in high school. Desperate for help, I reached out to loved ones- and with their love and support, I was able to undergo the treatment I needed to heal. This experience not only fueled my passion for mental clarity but set me on the path to healthy living and charitable giving- the values I still hold close to today,” she says.
While studying at Biola University in the mid-90s, she met her now-husband, Sol. They just bonded instantly- sharing a love for creative expression, travel and fitness. They even connected with each others’ stories. Sol, too, had grappled with mental health in the past, having grown up on the streets of Iran during the Iran/Iraq war. He immigrated to the United States at the age of 17 to chase his own American dream.
Talking about what led her to start her own business, she says- “As a multi-cultural family, travel has become a centrepiece of our life – but one trip in particular truly left its mark. In 2016, I experienced Portugal for the first time and fell in love with the country. The culture, the people, the customs, the food, wine, and beauty… I was swept away by all of it. Before long, I returned with my family to explore all that Portugal has to offer, including the cork trees. Throughout our visit, we toured cork factories, learning all about the extraction and production process. It was during this time that I discovered how versatile cork truly is. Since they’re the only trees capable of regenerating their bark, stripping the trees does not cause harm to the environment. In fact, a highly regulated industry protects the health of the forests- only allowing cork trees to be stripped every 9 years. Meanwhile, the harvest season creates thousands of jobs in Portugal and even the cork ‘waste’ is put to use to fuel the factories. I was fascinated!”
This experience made Christine think about starting something which was as interesting as Cork trees- one that’s gentle on the environment and our bodies and gives back to those in need. Today, her venture Corc Yoga specializes in crafting fitness and lifestyle products from organic cork, sustainably sourced in Portugal. A portion of every sale goes directly toward supporting youth mental health initiatives.
What inspired her to create Corc Yoga was not only the hospitality of local residents but also the inherent eco-consciousness of the cork material. She built a brand rooted in the cork farmers’ commitment to sustainable and ethical business practices, as well as one that emphasized travel, self-care and community. As the bark is extracted for production and then left to regrow for nine years, no trees are chopped down, thereby preserving the natural beauty of the cork forest- a win-win situation for farmers and the planet. Today, it has become the world’s first 100% cork yoga mat.
“Corc Yoga is committed to supporting a healthy lifestyle. Each leaf in our logo signifies our commitment to the mind, body, and soul. Our giving back to the giving tree program ensures our active partnership with youth mental health causes in Portugal and in the U.S.A., where a portion of each sale is donated to these causes,” she says, as she highlights the joy and utmost satisfaction she finds in her work.