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Living In Alignment: An Interview With Kristina Rudzinskaya, Founder Of Etalon
Meet Kristina Rudzinskaya! Pilates instructor, founder of posture apparel brand Etalon, and loyal EVOLVher.
Pilates helped Kristina gain better posture and confidence and, as a result, transformed her life in the most incredible way. While working at her office job, Kristina observed how many people slouched over their laptops. She left her corporate job at a Fortune 500 company at the beginning of the pandemic to pursue her mission of helping people have better alignment with their bodies and their lives.
While testing already existing posture correctors in the market and interviewing people with posture issues, Kristina realized that lack of comfort and aesthetics are the main reasons that posture correctors don’t stick. She expressed her frustration with postural products to a friend who said, “Why don’t you design a posture corrector? You already know so much; you can do it!.” His encouragement helped her launch Etalon, a new innovative posture apparel brand that will support your upper back and help you embrace a posture-positive lifestyle.
We chatted with Kristina about launching Etalon, her tips for having better posture, what living in alignment means to her, and so much more!
Congrats on Etalon! What inspired you to design apparel to support your posture?
While working in the office, I noticed how common slouching was. At that point in time, I had already done my Pilates teacher training and felt the impact of improved posture on my own body and mind. I really wanted to share this great feeling with others!
Can you tell us about the Posture Bra and its innovative design?
Of course! Before designing, I tested a lot of already existing posture correctors and talked with many women who slouched. I recognized several patterns that prevented people from being successful in their postural journey. Many products only focused on function, completely dismissing people’s experience (comfort, aesthetics, and joy) that was so crucial to forming new posture habits.
Common posture correctors’ approach is pulling your shoulders back and down (which restricts movement) or posture cueing (that is only effective for athletes or people with great body awareness). We chose to build a more inclusive product that won’t restrict movement and help people develop their posture awareness.
As a Pilates instructor, I recognized that shoulders and shoulder blades move together as a unit to get us into an upright position. So in our design, we focused on bringing shoulder blades closer together. Then we added an ability to make gradual adjustments, which helped women improve their posture awareness gradually and over time.
This is a more holistic approach that helps improve posture with joy and comfort.
At EVOLVh, we’re all about promoting overall hair wellness and a healthy lifestyle. How does posture play a role in your overall wellbeing?
I admire EVOLVh for that! We believe in sustainable care for our bodies and our minds, too.
Our posture can be thought of as the structure or foundation upon which the rest of the house is built. Misalignment affects us physically (think of your organs being squished and not functioning optimally when you slouch) and psychologically (more stress, insecurities, less confidence) that can take a significant toll on our bodies and minds overtime.
What does having good posture look like?
Our ears should be aligned with our shoulders from the side view, and our palms should face inward towards the legs - this is the ideal upper body posture if we get technical. I love cueing people to open their hearts and see how they become more upright immediately.
Good posture might not always be easy, but it should feel good!
Do you have a few easy tips to help improve and maintain one’s posture? Especially during work hours when we tend to slouch and sit for long periods of time.
If you don’t have much time between your zoom meetings, you can bring your hands behind your head and push your elbows back. This simple movement will help engage upper back muscles and stretch tight chest muscles, improving your alignment.
Also, try to observe your posture as you walk by a mirror or put a mirror by your desk and check your alignment before you jump on a zoom call. This is a very simple technique to develop posture awareness.
Etalon’s mission is to create alignment in our lives through alignment in our bodies. What does living in alignment mean or look like to you?
Living in alignment means being in sync with your body, mind, and soul. In Pilates, we say that a misaligned body is in physical stress and strain, spends more energy, and is prone to injuries. I can say the same about the mind and spiritual alignment.
At Etalon, we aim to help people be most aligned!
The Posture Bra is designed using recycled materials and is biodegradable. Can you share more about how sustainability plays a role in the design process?
Sustainability is super important to us. We work with ethical vendors that commit to sustainable practices, many of whom we know personally and end up being friends with!
We choose eco-friendly materials whenever we can, and, believe me, we try really-really hard! Sustainable technical fabric is not very common and usually requires very large order quantities. When we found fabric that was both functional and eco-friendly, we kept convincing the fabric manufacturer for five months until they agreed to give us a shot and make a smaller batch for us.
What has been your favorite part about launching Etalon?
Hearing what our early adopters and supporters have to say about Etalon. They are already loving it. I am feeling that I am making a lot of difference in people’s lives, and it keeps me going!
The Posture Bra is currently on pre-sale; when will Etalon officially launch?
We are launching our Kickstarter campaign at the end of September. I’d recommend everyone sign up to our email list and watch out for the launch. We will be offering our posture bras with a significant discount in order to thank people for their early support.
Lastly, let's chat about haircare! What are your go-to EVOLVh products?
Yes, I’ve been an EVOLVh fan for more than five years. You should see my bathroom cabinet with a whole shelf dedicated to EVOLVh products!
My absolute favorite is the UltraShine Moisture Shampoo (honestly, this shampoo is so nourishing for my hair that I don’t even need conditioner); and I can’t live without SuperFinish Polishing Balm and SmartVolume Leave-in Conditioner. I got my partner addicted, too!
Join Us For A Free Virtual Posture-Focused Pilates Class Instructed By Kristina
We’re hosting an EVOLVh Together Pilates class with Kristina on Friday, September 9th @ 8:00 AM PST / 11:00 AM EST. She will guide us through 10 pilates positions to strengthen the core and maintain good spinal alignment.
Receive a $25 EVOLVh Gift Card + Etalon VIP Discount for completing the class!