If you're into living a healthy, sustainable lifestyle, Gaiam is your kind of company. The name Gaiam (pronounced "guy-um") is a combination of Gaia (the Earth goddess) and "I am." About 85% of the company's sales come from proprietary products, which include sleep, stress relief, yoga and Pilates accessories, as well as organic cotton apparel, bedding, and personal care and home care products. It also boasts a growing library of more than 3,100 DVD titles. Its Real Goods Solar subsidiary designs and installs solar energy systems and related renewable energy products. Its offerings are marketed through catalogs, its e-commerce site, and major retailers (including Barnes & Noble, Target, and Whole Foods).
Gaiam has established itself as a leading lifestyle media company with products and services geared to consumers interested in personal growth, fitness, wellness, ecological lifestyles, and responsible media.
The company's efforts to strengthen its brand include growing its media offerings, developing more proprietary products, increasing its focus on the direct-to-consumer channel, and expanding its store-within-store presence at national retailers. (Gaiam's products are sold at some 65,000 retail locations in the US alone, and it had more than 10 million direct customers in 2010.) The company blamed weak consumer spending for its 1.5% decline in revenue in 2010. The only business segment to post an increase was Solar, which added $13 million in sales due to organic growth.
The company has been making an impression through entertainment for years. With more than 3,100 proprietary titles, Gaiam controls about 40% of the fitness/wellness DVD market (up from 34% in 2009). Its library consists of wellness franchises such as The Firm and Tae Bo, children's classics, and numerous theatrical releases, and its selection continues to grow. Through its partnership with The Discovery Channel (formed in 2009), Gaiam is the exclusive licensee of new launches of all Discovery Channel DVDs, including all properties of Animal Planet, TLC, and other Discovery Channel properties, for sale in stores and online. It also expanded its celebrity fitness category by adding programs with Trudie Styler, Marisa Tomei, and Bob Greene. Gaiam plans to continue expanding its offerings to include titles on wellness and sustainable living. To reach a wider audience, the company began testing the platform for GaiamTV in 2010, and it expects it to be fully launched by summer 2011. To bolster its position in the online market, Gaiam has established various websites and Internet-based subscription clubs.
Gaiam branched out into the solar energy market with Real Goods, which has been a subsidiary since 2001 and managed as a separate segment since its 2008 initial public offering. In 2008 the company purchased California-based companies Carlson Solar, Independent Energy Systems, and Regrid Power. A leading solar energy parts dealer and installer, Real Goods plans to consolidate the fragmented solar market through additional acquisitions.
Chairman Jirka Rysavy, founder of Corporate Express, started Gaiam in 1988. Rysavy owns about 26% of the company.