Last week Jason was invited to sit down for an interview with local newspaper Asheville Citizen-Times. They had decided to feature him in an article that appeared in the Sunday, October 24th issue on the front page of the Business section, as part of an ongoing series on Entrepreneurship in Asheville, NC. His background as a self-made entrepreneur “has taken him from a Grateful Dead concert vendor, professional artist and cabinetmaker to filmmaker and professional poker player,” developing a unique skill set that led to the innovative of the Three Minute Egg®. In a time when the economy continues to struggle and unemployment rates at high, yoga is a thriving industry in which mom-and-pop operations are able to meet demands and cater to the yogi customer, Yoga Journal points out, highlighting this article and pointing to Jason as a success story.
Having endured years of back injuries, Jason turned to yoga following a bike and car accident both in 2000. The invention of the Egg came after moving cross-country to Asheville, seeking a committed ‘spiritual evolution’ and personal regimen of yoga. While yoga indeed stretched out his spine, the use of the rectangular props and other wooden blocks were uncomfortable for him. It was then that he created a prop fitted to the spine using the egg shape, “[making] a big difference over the traditional rectangular block used in most yoga studios, ‘because your body is not square,’ Scholder said.”
With 2,000 foam eggs in his garage, Jason began to gather his resources in the Western North Carolina area to help hatch his business. In 2008, he signed up for the Fast Track class (offered by Hendersonville, NC, attorney Thomas Becket) to create his business plan. He was then introduced to Advantage West, one of the regional economic development agencies, who granted him a loan from their Advantage Opportunity Fund in aid of his business start-up. Because of his openness to technical assistance and business coaching, Jason has been able to turn his idea into a profitable enterprise. Pam Lewis (formerly of AdvantageWest and now with Asheville Chamber of Commerce) says, “Jason was relentless in his openness to advice, support, coaching and understanding what he knew, and more importantly, what he didn’t know, and then seeking out the expert advice to assist him.”
Steve Poland of the Technology Commercialization Center at Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College guided Jason through the process of finding the appropriate business and financial models. He says that “what makes Jason a great entrepreneur is his persistence in connecting with, and listening to, his customers even during difficult startup phases of his company, he was relentless in connecting with well-known yoga instructors, yoga studio owners and individual yoga fans.”
Now, only three years later, Jason’s persistence has paid off, with Eggs traveling around the country and around the globe. He finds joy in having created a product that will truly help other people, and he will continue to grow his business until he “see[s] the Three-Minute Egg in every yoga studio, in every Pilates studio, in every chiropractic office and physical therapy office in the world.”