Khajak Keledjian is a meditation whisperer. Though he’s more widely known as a fashion industry vet.
The co-founder and former CEO of luxe clothing retailer Intermix has immersed himself in the practice in its various forms—everything from Kundalini yoga to Transcendental Meditation and silent Vipassana retreats—for the past decade. And after the Wall Street Journal and New York Times both highlighted it as the secret to his success two years ago, he suddenly became everyone’s go-to meditation guy.
“People started coming to me asking what sort of meditation they should do, and I would recommend what I thought could work for them based on their lifestyle and personality,” Keledjian says. “I became a meditation curator.” It got him thinking that he should do something bigger, helping the masses and not just his fashion friends. For the past two years Keledjian has been quietly doing just that, and today, he’s unveiling his his newest venture: Inscape, a meditation brand that’s both an app and a Manhattan studio.
Keledjian says its purpose is helping people integrate meditation into their life—regardless of whether you’re a newbie or a practiced pro. With the app, users can choose from guided meditations of varying length and technique, breathing exercises, relaxation techniques, and sound baths.
Keledjian auditioned over 200 people to find the person with the perfect voice for the app, and it’s the same one that resonates through the Inscape studio rooms when you attend class there. While some might feel they aren’t getting the same experience when guided by an electronic voice instead of a real person, Keledjian says the decision was very intentional. “The more you do the meditations and hear the voice”—her name is Sky, says an Inscape staffer—”the more you don’t really notice it and it’s easier to reflect inward,” he says.
The studio is a chic, and sprawling space in Manhattan’s Flatiron neighborhood. Inside are two lounges with couches and beanbag chairs and two dome-shaped meditation rooms, where artistically placed lighting is projected on the walls, meditation cushions are a collaboration between Ligne Roset and Jeffrey Bernett, and gorgeous possibly alpaca throws are provided for coziness. It gives the feeling that you are in a cocoon-slash-art gallery.
Art is also integrated into the space, which will change periodically. Currently, there is a photo-based butterfly installation designed by Isabella Huffington—yep, of those Huffingtons (Arianna’s daughter, to be exact)—representing transformation and evolution. And in one of the meditation rooms, a giant installation of ropes, (five miles worth) designed by Tini Courtney, strewn with crystals drips from the ceiling over the nap-friendly sized cushions.
“We wanted to create somewhere that is safe, grounding, calming, and a place that the members can come in any time.”
For such luxuries, Inscape members can come and go as they please (memberships cost $450 for three months or $1,680 for a year)—and there is a dedicated class schedule (cost ranges from $18 to $29 per class for non-members) with meditations and sound baths that mirror what is available on the app (which is $12.95 a month or $89.99 a year).
“We wanted to create somewhere that is safe, grounding, calming, and a place that the members can come in any time,” Keledjian says. In what feels like a very carefully curated retail area are bespoke journals, rare and artisanal beauty products, and super-cool candles and meditation tools, “all with an emphasis of beauty from the inside out.” It’s an interesting ethos from a man who runs a fashion empire.
Kelejian is clear that he is not leaving fashion behind, emphasizing that they are both integral parts of his life. His portfolio of investments is diverse, ranging from WeWork, Proenza Schouler, Aloha, Sir Kensington, and Flywheel. In fact, Flywheel strategic investor [and former Coach CEO] Lew Frankfort is Keledjian’s Inscape partner.
“Inscape is closer to a yoga-fitness studio than retail store, so I started asking [Frankfort] for advice,” Keledjian says. “We were spending a lot of time together and I was picking his brain on everything from locker rooms to class schedules and hospitality, and we eventually decided he should be a partner.”
As Keledjian prepares to light a meditation spark for others, he reflects back to 10 years ago when he found sitting still for 15 minutes literally impossible. “I would have a cappuccino first thing in the morning and then another one after I showered. I’d have two newspapers in my hand, always had my phone to my ear, and was the CEO of a company,” he says. In 2007, he sold a portion of Intermix to a private equity company and got a big paycheck in the process. But Keledjian says he blew through it in 10 days. “One time, I took my family on vacation and I ended up flying us to another island, taking a vacation from the vacation. My father thought I was losing it.”
When he opened up to a friend about it, his friend told him he had to look inward for happiness. But the first time Keledjian tried to meditate, it was a total fail. “I set the timer on my phone for 15 minutes, but when I thought 15 minutes passed, it had only been three minutes and 56 seconds,” he says. But after a friend led a guided meditation for him in Woodstock, NY, he was hooked. “I felt like I went on a mind-altering journey. I became obsessed.”
Inscape is the fruit of that obsession, and whether you use the app or frequent the studio, Keledjian hopes it provides a way for you to have some self-reflection. “I want people to focus inwardly,” he says knowingly, as if we all have our island-hopping behavior in some way. “That’s why it’s called Inscape.”
Inscape, 45 West 21st St., New York, NY 10010, inscape.life
In need of a sound bath right now? Listen to this one for some soothing self-care. And here’s how to have a more mindful commute that you actually enjoy.