Get to know Elizabeth, Co-Founder of Jollie
From competitive soccer player to finance professional to yoga instructor, and finally co-founder Jollie, we’re taking a deep dive with Elizabeth Thompson to get to know more about her story.
How did you arrive at a career centered around yoga?
When I was 18, I hurt my back playing soccer. I had played the sport all of my life and was a member of various competitive leagues. After multiple rounds of physical therapy, they told me they couldn’t help me anymore and I should try yoga. The core supports the back and having a strong solid foundation would improve back pain.
I started practicing yoga off and on in college and continued that way for many years. When I was pregnant with my first child, I felt more connected to the practice and was able to re-bound quickly because of the strength I developed from yoga. From there I started practicing on a regular basis and eventually got my RYT-200 certification. While I was teaching adult classes, I started wondering how I could bring this into my home to teach my children and I noticed a need for children’s yoga in the community.
When I was in college, I constantly struggled with the question “what do you want to do.” A lot of times I found myself responding with “well what did God intend for me to do?” or “what is my purpose?”. I had a professional career in Accounting/Finance and eventually IT and Consulting. I enjoyed most of the days but constantly struggled with wanting something more. After my second child, I quit my corporate job. When I told my husband I wanted to get my yoga certification, he said “what are you going to do with it?” I said “I don’t know but something.”
Explain the Jollie “origin story” in your own words; how did this brand come to be? What was the spark?
After I got my yoga certification, I came back to the idea of something more and having a larger purpose. When I met Hilary I felt like it was meant to be and very much a piece to the puzzle. We didn’t start out saying we were going to sell yoga mats and boxes, but we did start out saying we were going to do something to give back. Our commitment to this idea of something more and constant brainstorming and ideas are what got us here.
Hilary is really good at research and reaching out to talk to people and ask questions and get suggestions. Her science background supports all of our research efforts. My business organization and corporate experience have helped us build a strong foundation so we operate as a professional business.
Where does the name “Jollie” come from?
We want to inspire creativity, imagination and feeling good. Jollie is a mix between the notion of being Jolly, happy, feeling good, and movement. You might “jollie” someone along. The idea of movement involved in the word was especially important since we believe moving = feeling good and feeling good = doing good.
What is your passion behind Jollie’s pediatric cancer cause?
At the end of my freshman year of college, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. What was supposed to be a fun summer with new friends quickly changed course to staying home and taking my mom to chemo. It's been 17 years but as many cancer survivors will say, the reality of having cancer and having a family member who had cancer is never entirely gone. When Hilary and I started talking about giving back, we first started researching yoga therapy and its benefits. We wanted our donation to not just be a gift but have a benefit and be directly related to our love of yoga. There are numerous studies that show the benefits of yoga for breast cancer and more are emerging for pediatric cancer. Our ideas for Jollie developed because of our own children and families so pediatric cancer really goes along with our goals.
In addition, when we give to a child, we are not just giving to them, we are giving to a family. This is so important because when a person has cancer, the entire family is affected, something I can relate to with my mom. Knowing that each gift is uplifting and supporting those family members as well is very special and near to my heart.
Who are other female founders who inspire you?
I find Dana Perino to be a role model and leader for young women. She was the first female ever to serve as the White House Press Secretary and her books are interesting, uplifting and inspiring. She is well educated, well spoken and has achieved her success both gracefully and politely.
What does your mindfulness practice look like?
I take a few moments of quiet in the morning before anyone else is awake and write in my Prayer Journal. We love going around the dinner table and discussing highs and lows with the whole family. This Gratitude Jar is a favorite in our house.
What are your go-to poses for relaxation? For energy?
Relaxation: child’s pose, Malasana Squat, Forward Fold, Shoulder Stand, Butterfly (Badakonasana), skandasana
Energy: Wheel, Bridge, Dolphin, Hand Stand, Crescent Warrior
What is your favorite non-yoga workout?
Pilates, Spin, weight training, and of course, The Sculpt Society. We were so honored to have Jollie be a part of their New York City stop on their TSS IRL Tour earlier this month.
What is the last book you read and loved?
Reading is one of my favorite hobbies! My children and I love to visit bookstores and can be there for hours reading books. I often gravitate towards WW2 Historical Fiction. The Paris Library is my most recent favorite. I also loved Sisters of The Resistance, The Stars We Share, Eternal and The Radar Girls. A new favorite I read that was not WW2 was Katharine Parr The Sixth Wife - what an interesting person. The Sun Sister by Lucinda Riley was also a really good one and it is part of an entire series of books about 7 sisters. The Dutch House was fantastic and I just listened to Winter of the World by Ken Follett for the second time. Mary Jane was hilarious and relatable. One of the most relatable books I ever read was What Alice Forgot from the Reese Witherspoon book list and also written by Liane Moriarty, the author of Big Little Lies.
Do you have a question for Elizabeth? Send us an email and ask away!