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My husband, Joe Hlavaty believes in me when I doubt myself. He is constantly helping me with my life and my company. He supports my dreams even when they have me working late into the night. Watching his yoga practice continue to improve motivates me to learn whatever skills I need to keep CCY alive.
My mom, Minh Mark for practicing yoga while I was in her womb and for following her passion for yoga. Becoming a yoga teacher when I was four years old. Not only did she start teaching me, but she prioritized getting me private yoga lessons with Kali-Ray. She would bring me to her class in Santa Cruz and allow me to quietly color. Yoga was not mainstream back then, but she followed her heart, and didn’t care what others thought. She is one of the kindest and calmest people I know. She cared for herself so she could care for me. My Mom taught me that hardships are opportunities to rise above, and create positive life, and to always have gratitude. Having yoga throughout my life has been the greatest gift.
My father, Mitch Mark, never made me feel pressured to follow the typical path. He has always encouraged me to be different. He strongly encouraged me to list my mats on Amazon when I was afraid the $39 a month seller fee was too expensive.
My brother, Professor Jonathan Markowitz at USC, taught me that being “popular” was such a small part of life, and prioritizing your life is not something to feel guilty about. He has always been there to protect me throughout my life
My Nana, Polly Mark, gave me a loan to start my company without thinking twice. She bowled a 220 in her 80s and played on the men’s bowling leagues. She was a nurse with a Doctorate Degree. She was intense, driven, and funny.
My Father-in-Law, Jay Hlavaty, helped me prioritize organizing my company, and more importantly, to release feelings of guilt. Jay led me to find my graphic artist, which was one of the major steps in my mat, coming to life.
My Mother-in-Law, Ligia Hlavaty, taught me how to be mentally strong and loyal. In addition, she showed me how to trust my intuition.
My Sister-in-Law, Professor Megan Becker, at USC, showed me just how smart and strong a female can be.
My Sister-in-Law, Leah, taught me how to not care about society's standards. She has also helped set up my sales tax, and some other technical tasks.
My Uncle, Mark Allan, taught me that having a Masters from Brown University didn't mean you were destined to stay on the same path. He also does a lot of proofreading for CCY. He has taught me to always believe in my dreams and is living proof of doing that.
My Aunt, Celia Smith, taught me to work on controlling your own life, instead of trying to control others. She has also spent hours helping me edit text and so much more. She was making up to 70% of my sales when I first started.
My Aunt’s partner, Doug Colbert, showed me how one can disconnect, and live off the land.
My Cousin, Dr. Celine Ord and Dr. Justin Ord, for taking a second look at my CT scans, and Celine for being somebody I have looked up to my entire life.
My Cousin, Dr. Kara Samsel for being my favorite ER doctor to snowboard with. Kara has always been a model of a smart and athletic woman.
My dogs for keeping me company while I spend countless hours on my computer at home.
The incredibly skillful work of surgeon Dr. Steven Ryder, and his caring team (especially his amazing assistant Dale Paul). Dr. Ryder has performed multiple surgeries on my right arm (humerus) which I broke in half. Including inserting a plate with 13 screws and a second surgery to treat my non-union fracture, and two broken screws by injecting bone marrow from my hip into my arm. Without his talented mind and hands, I would not be able to live the active lifestyle that brings me so much joy and gratitude. He always listens to how I want to care for my body, and never acted like he was above me. Everytime I handplant while snowboarding, hit tennis balls, swing my golf club, ride my mountain bike, practice arm balancing pose, ride a horse, move boxes of yoga mats and anything I use my arm for, I feel gratitude for Dr. Ryder, and my surgeons and doctors, nurses, and people working in the medical field.
Dr. Benjamin Ling, for providing me alternative care for my broken fibula.
Dr. Sarah Truong for lasering my scar, allowing my arm to have movement and flexibility to practice and teach yoga.
Physical therapist, Jeff Warner, for making therapy enjoyable and chill.
Dr. Ralph Jeffery, for working on my various injuries and getting me back on my snowboard.
The surgeons, doctors, nurses, and staff at Kaiser, Barton, and Sutter hospital who have helped me when I am injured.
My yoga teacher, Joyce Kilburg, taught me that "stilling the body helps still the chatter in your mind." Joyce is like a second mother to me because she reminds me of my mom. I found her when I first moved away from my mom and Santa Cruz. Years later, my parents followed me and moved to my area. Now, my mother and I attended her classes together.
My yoga teacher Cathy Connors, owner of Awake Yoga Studio taught showed me that you can truly be yourself, and lead an amazing 200-hour yoga teacher training. She also taught me you can be a grown-up and still have fun. Cathy teaches me to follow my love for yoga when I feel lost running a company.
Yoga teacher, Kellee Falkenstrom, owner of Main Street Yoga for providing a beautiful space for myself and community to practice and teach yoga.
Tri-Yoga center in Santa Cruz, for giving me the opportunity to assistant teach-as a teenager.
Yoga teacher, Kali-Ray for giving me private lessons when I was only four years old.
Yoga teacher and YouTube star, Sean Vigue for promoting CopyCat Yoga Mats in his creative and fun YouTube videos. Sean has been an upbeat, encouraging, down-to-earth person for me to confide in.
Yoga teacher, Rachael Hoffee who talked me into joining her for my first yoga teacher training away from home.
Yoga teacher, Jeff Christensen, owner of One Om Yoga, for taking my prototype yoga mat home to proofread.
Yoga teacher, Iwona Wozny for talking with me about taking 200-hour teacher training, and being such an amazing friend to my mom and me.
My 200-hour YTT family that I will always have a deep connection with.
Yoga teacher, Pattie Sweeney-Park for teaching me about yoga and healthy living.
Yoga teacher, Michael Shaw for having a little yoga studio I could spend hours in when I first moved to the area.
Yoga teacher, Sarah Valentine for being a family friend and true yogi chasing her dreams.
Yoga teachers, Judith and Lizzie Lasater for teaching me one of my first yoga courses, and being themselves in their videos. Judith, has been one of my moms most influential teachers.
My yoga teachers and students who inspired me to continue working hard to share my love for yoga with the world.
I met Chris Kao, Owner of KAO LLP, in 2011 while we were snowboarding at Heavenly. We only rode one chairlift, and we never knew what each other looked like, yet Chris spent countless calls and emails helping me with learning the patent and copyright process, without ever asking for anything in return. I never could have afforded all of his help. He was the missing piece of the puzzle to starting my company. He was the first person I sent a box of yoga mats to.
To this day Chris still comes to the rescue. He has an all-star team, including Whitney R. Miner, a beautiful intelligent partner lawyer at Chris’s firm. I have enormous respect for smart, talented role models like her. KAO LLP saved my company in 2016 when another company copied my exact design, but changed the name, and printed it on a cheap mat. They even used my personal pictures and story. It devastated me to see something I spent years developing get stolen. I was not able to stop them from selling my design, pictures, and story on Amazon. That's when Chris, Whitney, Andrew Hamill and everybody at KAO, LLP worked their magic, and turned my nightmare back into my dream. Without them, CopyCat Yoga would not be around today.
Chris reminds me how incredibly generous people can be.
Our family friends Greg and Debby Ginner, have been lifelong friends that I consider family. They have given me unique life and business advice. They have also raised a person who refuses to let hate stand in his way. An admirable quality few people have, and I look up to.
Our family friends, The Roses, have been in my life since I was a child. Growing up witnessing Mike’s creative ideas come to life allowed my mind to start searching for a better way to live life. Plus, his rope swing taught me to be fearless and enjoy the ride.
Our family friend, Clinical Psychologist, Leslie Reed, PhD, for always sending me positive vibes, and her entire family for being a huge supporter and users of my yoga mat.
JP Novic is a shining example of somebody choosing their passion for work. The love she has for animals clearly drove her to work hard, because she is doing something meaningful. When I was growing up, I had the joy of watching, and helping her work at CAPE, Center for Animal Protection and Education
Mike and Vibha Samoulian for having a level of compassion and care that is hard to find in one person, let alone two. The world is blessed to have Maddie, an adorable little version of them.
Dr. Lauren Pearson for always being there to listen to me when I feel overwhelmed with life, and for traveling to Costa Rica with me.
Lisa & Jeff Berndt for being my instructional yoga mat guinea pigs, and Lisa for keeping in touch since we were kids.
Chris Reese helping me research yoga mat manufacturers, and giving me his iPhone after watching me run my company without a smartphone for close to two years.
Professor Preston Greene for testing my yoga mat, and taking time out of his busy life to help CCY.
Dave Koff and his family for providing feedback on my yoga mat and sharing it at their kid's school.
Risa Schwartz for providing feedback and giving honest life advice. She is an amazing teacher to her students and friends.
American Ninja Warrior, Kevin Bull for using his fame to spread the world about CCY, and still be down to earth enough to come snowboard with us.
Trevor Bush for having the muscles to move my pallets of yoga mats like they are boxes of tissues.
Dr. Marvin Frace and Marsha Atterbury for teaching me about animals, business, and relationships. I appreciate them allowing me to care for their horses, and teach yoga in their home.
Valerie Netto for teaching me about training horses, and making it simple. Val was also a wonderful in-home yoga student, and years later, a supporter of CCY.
Sandy Westhoff Monticelli for giving honest feedback, and being a successful businesswoman and animal lover.
All my friends who have supported me and my dreams.
Vince Sanders, at Never Summer Industries Snowboards for having the confidence in my snowboarding to give me the opportunity to ride and provide feedback on prototype snowboards. I also learned more about how companies operate from Vince and Never Summer Industries.
Frank & Ellie Jordan, owners Panache Bath & Body Shop, who taught me the in and outs of running a company first-hand, and trusting their business with me when I was only in high school.
My fitness teacher in college, Molly Oscar learned about my company, and purchased multiple mats when I was starting out.
My tennis coach Amelia Escalante, for being a businesswoman and friend I looked up to. Amelia allowed me to be her assistant, teaching tennis workshops when I was in high school.
One of my vets, Dr. Ric, owner of Crossroads Veterinary Hospital, and his wife Sharon for working by his side. Dr. Ric taught me to never give up on someone or something you love. Even when the odds are against you, you see no progress and other vets are telling you to give up, you keep trying and trusting because the only other option is to give up, making it impossible to succeed. I will always respect and appreciate Dr. Ric, Sharon, Kelley and everyone that helped our fur-kids.
The teachers and speech therapists who my husband works with who supported CCY when I was first starting.
The ladies at my gym for supporting CCY with pride.
My mom’s clients for supporting CCY.
Anyone who has written reviews on Amazon.
YouTube and all the contributors for providing information in a format that makes sense to me. YouTube is constantly teaching me new information.
Graphic artists, Stephanie and Wes, at Imperial Printing for putting up with my endless changes on the smallest details, designing my yoga mat and packaging. Stephanie is also a photographer, and took stunning professional pictures for the instructions of the yoga mat.
Jon McElroy, Owner of GrassRoots in South Lake Tahoe for being the first store to say yes to carrying CopyCat Yoga Mats. They were the first store I ever tried to get in, and hearing a yes was a huge confidence booster.
Corey Brixen at Brixen & Sons for printing on yoga mats, even though he had never done it before. He took a chance when I could not find anyone who would.
iFit Golf for providing free boxes when CCY was first starting out.
Nate Musson, Owner of Shred Soles, is always willing to help me with business questions, and is a super positive person to snowboard with.
The Not Snowboarding Podcast, for providing entertainment for my drive home, and for giving CCY some love on the Halldor Helgason episode.
Wendell Morris, Owner of Yoga Rat, who kindly shared what he knew about running a yoga mat company, and told to me reach out if I needed help or had questions with my company.
Jason Glassner, at FedEx Trade Networks for always clearly explaining subjects that are complicated and confusing.
Amazon.com has been a huge platform allowing me to reach people all over the world. When I started CCY, I almost didn’t list my yoga mat, because I was fearful that the $39 monthly seller fee was too expensive.
I have so much gratitude for CCY customers/students. The opportunity to share yoga with people I don’t even know is a dream come true.
There are so many more people who have helped me, both in my personal life, and with my business. I deeply appreciate each and every one of you.