3 Things I’ve Learned about Yoga

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Yoga was never really my thing. I have practiced yoga on and off for almost ten years now. I’ve tried countless studios, methods, teachers, but it never really stuck. I even tried going with friends or my mom at a point in time to be more motivated but it never really clicked until I moved to Vancouver. As cliché as it may sound, moving to Vancouver really made me discover yoga for the first time. Though I’m by no means a yogi, I’ve come to appreciate a 1-2 x a week yoga practice. It’s a great way to switch up my work out routine, increase flexibility, workout a few kinks and also allows for some quiet and down time. There are several things I’ve learned about yoga in the past couple of months but here are the most important.

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1) You don’t have to be flexible. When I look at videos of people doing yoga or even in classes, I used to think that you absolutely needed to be flexible to be able to do yoga properly. The thing that I didn’t realize was that practicing yoga itself would actually make me more flexible. Growing up, I used to dance and used to be quite flexible, but I was never one of those girls that could do the splits both ways and had the longest jumps or jettés (hence why I opted to specialize in hip hop and tap!). But as an adult, my flexibility decreased dramatically (like real badly!) so yoga has always been somewhat of a “painful” hobby for me. What I’ve been realizing, just like with anything, is that the more you practice the better you get at it.

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2) Find the right instructor that works for you. This is probably the most important thing that I’ve learned about yoga. Just like with anything else in life, there will be yoga teachers that will not vibe with you, that you won’t like, that will not inspire you and will not make you want to come back to class time and time again. That just means, you haven’t found the right person. It may take quite a bit of time to find the yoga teacher that offers a class that connects with you. So far, I’ve found two teachers in the city of Vancouver (Betty Meng @ Yyoga and Ally Maz @ The Distrikt), both offer different practices but I immediately feel welcome whenever I’m in their class. They offer a no judgement zone and help people no matter where they are in their yoga journey.

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3) You do you. The thing I had always found with yoga was that it always intimidating. I always felt insecure to go to a yoga studio, worried what people would think, that I wasn’t advanced enough, that I wouldn’t get the moves right and that my practice wasn’t developed enough. But then I realized, no one really cares. As long as you do you, you focus on your own practice, yoga can be quite magical.

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What are your thoughts on yoga?

Photos by: @Offner

What I’m wearing: Hyba sculptor biker shorts (get them here), Hyba printed bra tank (get it here), Always x Always yoga mat (get it here).

This post was written in collaboration with Hyba but all opinions are my own.

5 Questions With: Steph Corker

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Photo by: Jon Chiang

A few weeks ago, I was invited to attend a really interesting panel organized by InnerVoice.Life in Vancouver, on storytelling and inspiration from endurance athletes. This is where I first heard of Steph Corker, a Vancouver athlete, business owner and all-around inspiring woman. She shared her incredible journey with everyone present in the room and I was immediately drawn to her no-bullshit #realtalk attitude. So I got in touch with her following the panel to find out more about her story and what led her to start up The Corker Co. as well as her thoughts on being the current Ironman Canada title holder.

1) What first got you interested in competing in Ironman and why?

Ironman was a super bucket list item — I wanted to finish my first IM by the time I was 60, because I thought it would take a full life time to build up to that crazy distance! When I moved west from Toronto, I immediately fell in love with watching IM Canada in Penticton, BC. I guess you could say the rest was history…

2) After finishing 16 Ironman races as an amateur athlete, you decided to go pro this year for the very first time. Why was it important for you to make that transition? How much has it changed your life as an athlete?

I took up the sport of triathlon as I like to call myself — a tri-hard! I wasn’t very great at riding or running, but did have a swimming background. So I would swim relatively well and then spend the rest of the day “trying-hard!” It was through some great races and many not great races that took me to the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii. Truth be told, I haven’t yet had an awesome race in Hawaii — it is sort of the elusive goal of many of us. However, I thought I could continue to race at the top of the amateur field and continue working toward Hawaii, or I could take a super leap of faith and see what trying hard with the pro girls was like. This transition was important to me because I’m a raging feminist in all things – business, sport and life. I think we owe it to each other to show up – win or lose – and be a female on the start line! 

In terms of changing my life as an athlete, I do think my training intensity/volume has gone up this year — because, it has to in order to compete with the full time athletes that I now race with. Yet more importantly, it has me eating humble pie every darn day. My first pro race, I finished last (as a pro). I mean, I guess there is only one place to go from there, right? 🙂

3) You are the current title holder of Ironman Canada, what does a typical week of training look like for you? How do you balance training with owning your own business? 

I did win the amateur race at Ironman Canada in 2016, however, there was no female pro field. So 2017 is going to be a really sweet return with such a large and awesome group of pro women. My training is rather intense leading up to an IM race — I swim nearly every day, I log 2 long bike rides each week and run 3-4x/week. To be honest, it is not the training that requires as much balance as the sleeping, eating, maintaining daily necessities that consumes time in my life. I’m not sure I really balance anything particularly well, instead I think I’m ruthlessly focused and only allow so many things to be in my life at one point in time. I start work 4 days a week at 10AM and try really hard to get to bed early — that is the best version of balance I have found in work and sport.

4) What has been the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome in your career as an athlete and how were you able to overcome it?

I don’t think this is spoken about enough and I’m happy to be at the front of this conversation — but body image is a really big deal to me. I do not look like 90% of the triathletes in the sport. And I especially do not look like a runner. This can be really easy to hold onto as dead weight (no pun intended!) and feel really inferior on the start line. My biggest practice has been in ensuring that the food I eat gives me fuel and the self-talk I tell myself gives me wings! Women come in many different shapes and sizes, and my work, my obstacle has been to remind myself that no one can see the size of my heart or the guts of my mental fortitude. Most importantly, my work is to surround myself by the people who believe in possibility….regardless of how we look.

5) How has support for women in the sport evolved over the last couple of years? Are there more women partaking in the sport nowadays?

Ahh, I’m so passionate about this topic yet to be honest, I’m not super well versed in the true stats behind it. If anything, I’d say it appears there is a decline in women participation, yet I could be so wrong about that. My first race of the year there were 20% females/ 80% males – if that is any indication, I just wish the numbers were skewed differently. 

I think it is really important that women show up to sport to encourage more women to also show up — I think we like to see examples of what’s possible and then ask ourselves: could that be me one day? I hope so!

You can follow Steph’s journey and upcoming races on Instagram and on her website.

Staying Active During Your Period

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SUP or Stand Up Paddle Boarding is one of the sports I’m hoping to do a lot more of now that I am based on the west coast. Having access to the ocean and with so many lakes nearby, it’s a great opportunity to improve on my balance and also my paddling skills.

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Since I’m a firm believer in challenging myself, I decided to venture off on a SUP excursion last week that departed from beautiful Granville Island and had me paddling all the way through False Creek and to Science World. It was a great way to not only enjoy the warm weather but also work on my SUP skills.

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As someone who is constantly in movement and who trains 5-6 days a week, I’m always looking for products that keep up with me and help me perform no matter the time of month. So I was curious to try out the new U by Kotex FITNESS line that was specifically designed for active people, like myself. Whether you prefer pads, liners or tampons, the new series of U by Kotex FITNESS products were engineered to move with your body during any workout or sport. In my case, SUP!

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Here are the top 4 things I loved about the new line:

Convenient Packaging: The pads and liners come in a drawstring package so they stayed put in my bag all day and I didn’t have to worry about them falling out, especially as I was constantly grabbing my sunscreen or water bottle. It’s just one less thing I have to worry about when I’m on-the- go.

FitPak* Case: Each box of tampons come with a FitPak* case, a small and discreet pack that protects the product in my bag. This is so important to me since I’m always finding and tossing damaged tampons at the bottom of my bag.

Design: The pads and liners are designed to be more flexible and actually move with your body while you’re active. I tried the liners during the excursion and they stayed perfectly in place. I forgot that I was wearing them!

Comfort: Since I’m always on-the- move, whether it’s working out or travelling, I love that the pads are fast-absorbing and keep me dry. They aren’t stiff or bulky at all. Knowing that the product I was using would keep me protected while I was out on the water gave me peace of mind so that I could give it my all and fully enjoy the beautiful views during my SUP session!

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For more information on the new U by Kotex FITNESS line, visit ubykotex.ca. Use this coupon when you purchase any of the new FITNESS products!

Summer Fitness Bucket List

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Summer is officially here on the west coast! It has been nothing but blue skies this past week, which is very welcome after a series of rainy months. Since this is my first summer out west there are a lot of things that I want to do while the sun is shinning. So I have decided to create a summer fitness bucket list!

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Topping my list is this summer is training for several half marathons. I did my first ever half in May and loved it so much that I decided to register for a few more down the road. I am taking full advantage of the fact that I’m out west to pick races in beautiful destinations that showcases some of the best Pacific Northwest scenery.

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Obstacle course races are also high on my bucket list. There are so many great events being held across British Columbia that I want to hit up as many as possible. So I’ve been doing a lot more strength training and training with weights to get in the best shape possible in order to be a strong competitor for these races. I’ve always lacked upper body strength so it’s something that I’m really working on.

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Races aren’t the only thing that are on my summer fitness bucket list. I’m also hoping to do more trail running, outdoor cycling, hiking, open water swimming and rock climbing. Basically, I want to be outside as much as possible and be as active as possible for the next couple of months!

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What is on your summer fitness bucket list?

Photos by: @Offner

What I’m wearing: Hyba Racerback Low-Impact Sports Bra (get it here), Hyba Printed Fast Track Cropped Legging (get it here).

This post was written in collaboration with Hyba but all opinions are my own.

Trail Running

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Trail Running has always been on my bucket list of things to try out. Having recently moved to British Columbia, I thought that this would be the perfect occasion to finally give it a try. There are so many great trails located just a few minutes from downtown like the Grouse Grind, Lynn Headwaters Regional Park, Stanley Park, Rice Lake, etc.

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Last week, with the help of a local friend, I did my first ever trail run. Trail running is unlike any sport I’ve done before. It’s one of the few activities that requires you to be 100% in the present moment, it’s like a meditation of sorts. It’s an activity that forces you to focus and work on your feet and eye coordination. You have to make split-second decisions about which way you’re going down and where to put your feet at all times. Also, because you are running up and down the entire time, it really gets your heart rate up and forces you to work on controlling your breathing.

davThe thing about it that I loved so much, was that unlike road running, you get completely lost in nature. You get to not only see some of the most beautiful viewpoints but also breathe in clean and fresh air and hear little to no noise.

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Having good gear is key when trail running. You want to make sure you have the proper footwear that will support your feet and provide you with the right amount of traction. Wearing breathable fabrics and bringing with you some form of hydration and even a snack are key. Experienced trail runners will often go out on their own but it’s never a bad thing to be accompanied by someone who knows the area, if you’re going out for the first time. Other things like having a whistle, compass, phone, etc. are all great, as you never know what could happen while you’re out in the wild.

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So if you’re like me and just easing into the sport, I recommend checking out MEC‘s website (here!) as they have run meet-ups, clinics and many races across all of Canada this spring, summer and fall. I am really looking forward to doing my first ever trail race this summer!

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Outfit provided by: MEC. Photos by: Chris Thorn.

5 Questions With: Alex Mazerolle of Girlvana

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If you’re part of the fitness community here in Vancouver, then you’ve probably heard of Alex Mazerolle or @allymaz on social media. She is an inspiring entrepreneur who co-owns Distrikt Movement in North Vancouver and who also founded both Ladyvana and Girlvana Yoga. The work she does with teen girls through Girlvana has had an incredibly positive impact on girls and women here out west. She was kind enough to take a few minutes out of her busy training and travel schedule to share more about what she does with Girlvana.

What is Girlvana and what inspired you to start this program?

Girlvana is a global movement empowering girls through yoga, meditation and mentorship. I started the program because of the way yoga had changed my life in my early twenties. I knew that if girls had access to the powerful tools of mindfulness at a younger age, it could drastically shift the way they viewed themselves and their bodies. Beyond yoga classes and events that happen in different cities, we also bring teenage girls together from all over the world for week long yoga retreats that dive deeply into self reflection and self love supported by a team of women that can relate and support lovingly. For us, it is all about creating safe space for girls to be heard and seen without any fear of judgement. Our goal is to let girls be who they are, exactly as they are and have them truly see their value and worth.

What are some of the things you offer and teach teen girls about in the program?

We talk about real life and the rawness of what it means to be female. The topics can range anywhere form depression, anxiety, stress, consent, bullying, equality etc. Being a teen girl can be very tough as you navigate through your body changing, hormonal shifts, the pressure to look a certain way and to choose your path post high school. We find giving girls the tools to connect with their own voice and intuition through yoga, meditation and mentorship can make these years go a lot smoother. We use the mindfulness aspects to get girls centred and at ease and then our dialogue and writing portions to get girls to share and open up to other girls. We create support networks and connection so girls don’t have to feel so alone. 

Who were some of your female mentors growing up and how did they positively affect your life?

I did’t have a lot female mentors growing up and this is one of the reasons why Girlvana exists. I had dance teachers who taught me to dance but not a lot of guidance was there in terms of life. My mom was as incredible listener and did so much for me but at the end of the day what 15 year old really listens to her mom? I find as Girlvana mentors and teachers we bridge that gap offering wisdom and advice from an unbiased and non judgemental place. 

Why do you think Girlvana is important for teen girls in 2017?

I think it’s always been relevant but now more than ever given the political climate and where the world is at.  It is a powerful time for girls to find their voice and now we have such a powerful medium to express it. Inequality, rape, lack of education for girls in developing countries are still such prevalent issues and the more we empower girls and women the more global change we will see. 

What have you learned about yourself through your journey with Girlvana?

I have learned to stay accountable to the way I love, care and listen to myself. Empowering girls keeps me true to my own path of finding deeper acceptance and honesty with myself. I can’t tell girls to love themselves if I am still at war with my own body and mind. I have had the privilege to listen to so many girls share their stories with me which reminds me how precious this one life is. That we are all dealt a hand that we had no control over and its our job to elevate and evolve. There is such beauty in exchanges like these. I have learned to live for these moments. These raw and true moments where the essence of a young woman comes through unbounded by who society or her parents want her to be. There is so much power in listening to another’s story and truly hearing and seeing from your heart.

Where would you like to see Girlvana in 5 years time?

World domination. Girlvana programs all over the world. I’d like to write a lot more books. A retreat center that houses 20 plus retreats a year. Thousands of Girlvana teachers worldwide. I would like to have a seat at some pretty important tables having pretty important discussions about girl’s education and rights. 

 For more info on Girlvana Yoga, go here.

5 Questions With: Christina Culver of Culver City Salads

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Photo by: Valerie Legere

Young female entrepreneurs are a plenty here in Vancouver. Christina Culver is the brains behind the ultra popular Culver City Salads, Vancouver’s first completely plant-based and gluten free mobile salad company. Started back in 2012 as a delivery service for friends and colleagues, in just a few short years, the company has grown exponentially. I sat down with this inspiring boss babe to talk about her mission and how it all started.

1) What inspired you to start Culver City Salads?

I have worked in a million different jobs in my life. Six years ago, I was running a high end photo studio and was an artist booker, so was booking hair and makeup, stylists, etc. I also worked as a nail artist. After a year and a half, I couldn’t do it anymore so I quit and my plan was to go do nails full-time but wasn’t making enough money. So one of my really close girlfriends and her boyfriend at the time, called me and pitch at me. They said that since I was always making food for everyone and that all of my friends really liked the food that I cooked, they suggested I just bring it to their office and they’d pay me for it.

So I went out and bought a bunch of tupperware and a ton of produce and started off with a Facebook Fan Page, email and text. It started off with my friend group and of course, being in Vancouver, a lot of them worked at Lululemon HQ and all the local startups. I did it out of my apartment for over a year and always thought that this was just a means to an end. I was still doing nails but then I got an offer for a partner and stuff just got real. I decided to get a kitchen and also start branding. Then, the Juice Truck started selling my salads on their truck. We had the same branding team and they thought that we would be a really great fit. That really started building momentum. Also at that time, we had Shopify set up so that you can order salads online. I was making all of the salads myself, trying to borrow my sister’s car if I could or taking the bus to deliver everything, running around town with the Ikea bag filled with tupperware. The cool thing is that I would take the tupperware back from them, wash it and re-use it, always trying to keep my imprint really small. Not too long after, we decided to get a food truck and that’s when my sister came into the picture. She’s a trained pastry chef, ski instructor and was in holistic nutrition school at the time. We ended up getting our food truck permit and it was go-time. The truck is in its 4th year but everything keeps evolving and changing all the time. 

2) What are some of the goods that you offer now?

We retail with The Juicery Co., they are basically our market place as they sell some of our dehydrated crackers, cookies and homemade dressing by the bottle. We’re also trying to work on more of that now. We also do a fair amount of catering and retreat work. We just got back from Guatemala where we just did 4 days in the Yoga Forest in San Marcos, making salads for a 50-women gathering. I really love that kind of stuff. I also get hired as a private chef for events or photoshoots. 

3) You seem to collaborate a lot with local fitness studios and athletes, why is that important for you to be a part of?

I grew up in a family where we were all competitive athletes. It’s part of our foundation and Culver City Salads was created with that in mind. Also, we are plant-based and we’re seeing it more and more now, that plant-based performance food. That’s something that I always strive for, I want to show people that you can be successful on a plant-based diet. The Tight Life Challenge at Tight Club at the beginning of the year was something I actually created with them, it’s the perfect trifecta of what is important when you’re trying to make a real healthy change in your life. I want that to carry on. I love working with athletes, it’s so cool to get feedback from them and just be in that world. 

4) How important is the community aspect in what you do?

Honestly it’s everything. I’m a firm believer in strength in numbers. This scene in Vancouver is pretty new but I haven’t met anyone that is on the same “mission” that isn’t awesome. The Juice Truck is the perfect example, we worked in the same kitchen together for over a year. It is also super cool to have the possibility to be able to call someone else in the community and ask for advice or help. I can’t even imagine it being any other way. I think if we’re all in the same direction, we can help each other. Everyone shouts each other out and I think it’s the best way to be. I’m so grateful it exists. 

5) Where would you like to be in 5 years time with Culver City Salads?

It’s so hard to say because so much just happens with flow and things will come up all of a sudden. I would love growth, whether that’s building the brand or obvious things like having a cookbook. We’re always toying with the idea of opening a storefront. I would also like to get the crackers that we’re making into grocery stores. Also, more travel for sure!

For more info on Culver City Salads, go here.

 

 

Must-Try Fitness Studios in Vancouver: TurF

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photo curtesy of TurF

TurF recently opened its doors on West 4th St. in Kitsilano. TurF is unlike any other place in the city because they combine a workout space, café and also cute shop all into one. It’s a place where you can “work out, hang out and take out” as they say. I had the pleasure of stopping by for some delicious vegan food and take one of their unique classes led by TurF’s GM Angela Hartman. She also took a few minutes to give me the lowdown behind this magical space.

What was the initial goal and inspiration with TurF?

TurF’s mission is to “create a daily practice to live a life that is enormous”.  The idea behind TurF is like a modern day community centre a gathering place for people to grow and contribute to their communities.  We put all our favourite things: a conscious sweat, a considered menu and a thoughtful assortment of things we love.  

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photo curtesy of TurF

What are some of the classes and services that you offer that are unique to TurF?

We are the only studio outside of NYC and LA that has the method The Class by Taryn Toomey.  I’m so happy to offer this class to the community in Vancouver as it has deeply impacted my life.  We also have a Boxing Conditioning Program that we worked on with one of our teachers, Tom Taylor.  It’s a great mix of proper technique and a great workout.  We also have a lot of strength classes like TRX classes and a hip hop based dance program that it SO MUCH FUN.  

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photo curtesy of TurF

In addition to being a workout studio, TurF is also a kitchen and café. What is the philosophy behind the food and drinks you serve?

We want people to eat more plants.  The base of our menu is Vegan (with a couple vegetarian exceptions) and ethically sourced protein to add onto the menu for those who are not vegan or vegetarian.  all the recipes for both the bistro and the bakery came from the kitchens of our founders Delaney and Deanne.  The menu was created to nourish and fulfill you.  For us this means you can have a great workout and have breakfast afterwards and it would support the workout you just did, along with not getting hungry an hour later.  

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photo curtesy of TurF

You also have a boutique of carefully curated lifestyle and workout products, can you share a bit more info about what people can find there?

The Shop was created to have a thoughtful assortment – we have either designed it, tested it or curated it to all go together.  We want people to have quality and less things – this means the product you can find at TurF can have several uses or functions in your everyday and that it can all go together.  We tried to bring in product that was either not available in Vancouver (like the athletic brand The Upside) and that we think is the best brand in a particular category, like the 2xU compression tights.  We also created our own product of pieces we wanted to wear every day.  

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photo curtesy of TurF

Where would you like to see TurF five years from now?

Such a good question!  I would like to see more TurF locations that support living into our mission for people to live an enormous life.  I hope that we are doing something that I can’t even think of right now – we are a group of people committed to always learning and growing and I think TurF will shape in ways that we don’t even see coming.  

For more information on TurF, go here.

Spring Workouts

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No gym membership? No worries! With spring now here, it’s a lot easier to be active outdoors!

There are lots of ways I like to be active when the weather starts warming up, one of which is creating my own HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workouts in any kind of location I can find. Whether you find a park, soccer field, playground or even rooftop somewhere in your area, all of these locations can be used as your “outdoor gym”.

I usually plan and jot down a quick 15-30 minute interval-based workout (usually anywhere from 5-10 different exercises) before heading out to my location of choice. I sometimes even include props like a skipping rope, a resistance band, free weights or even a bean bag, to switch things up. I then throw everything in a bag and walk towards my location of choice.

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I also either bring my headphones or a portable speaker with me if I’m going alone to add a bit of atmosphere to my workout.

Whether you’re in an urban or rural setting, there are always outdoor spots you can use for your workouts, sometimes you just need to use your imagination. Though it may take a little bit of time getting used to, outdoor workouts are far more inspiring than indoor workouts. Just look at those views!

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Photos by: @Offner

What I’m wearing: Hyba Printed Fast Track Cropped Legging (get it here), Hyba Open Back Tank (get it here), Hyba Essential Space Dye Hooded Tee (get it here), Hyba Gym Bag (get it here).

This post was written in collaboration with Hyba but all opinions are my own.

5 Questions With: Christina Disler of Werklab

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March is mindfulness month so in my hunt to find great people to feature, I stumbled across Werklab, a beautiful and mindful co-working space in Vancouver that was founded by Christina Disler. They recently celebrated their 1st anniversary and have already had a very positive impact on the local entrepreneurs and working community here in Vancouver. We had a super enlightening conversation that lasted far longer than I expected so I’m sharing with you today some excerpts from my great chat with Christina, who shares her inspiration for the space and their mindful mission.

1) Can you give us some background on Werklab and how it all started?

My sister, who is an artist (all the artwork in the space is hers!), was living in Amsterdam before and had told me about the world of co-working. A few years ago, I went to an HR conference and found this stat has stood out for me. The stat said that by 2020, 40% of the work force will be freelancers, contractors, temp workers and that the work force will change. It was a statistic that rocked my world because I realized that 2020 wasn’t that far away. It was at the end of 2015 when the idea came up. The stat was becoming more and more real and the fact that we’re in a tech hub and the real estate’s high, I really looked at it from the light of social impact and almost from a light of project instead of a money-making business. I will admit that I come from a privileged position where I loaned money from my dad to do the construction. I’m also not trying to squeeze every penny out of this whereas I think that for a lot of other spaces, it’s hard to have integrity with building community when there’s really high bills to pay. We have a good rent here and at the end of the day, once you pay your membership fee, you’re part of this community, we don’t pinch you for anything else.

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2) How does Werklab work?

Some spaces do daily drop-ins, here we’re completely membership based. You don’t have to be here full-time. You can start off with just 5 days a month and work your way up. It’s hard to build community when you have all these transient workers signing up online for only a day. How do you foster trust, safety and vulnerability when you don’t know who the next person is that is coming in? We also have a vetting system, we interview people before they enter the space to ensure that they align with our culture and what we’re trying to do. We don’t just want someone that’s going to come in and just use it as an office, we want someone who wants to sign on and be a part of this community.

When I opened Werklab, I didn’t study the best co-working spaces, I studied the best places to work. At the end of the day, someone can come up with a fancier place to work at and more gadgets, but what people are here for is an intrinsic value. It reminds me of working at some of the cool companies; they aren’t necessarily paying you the top dollar they’re offering you an experience. What do you feel when you’re coming through the door? What’s the energy like? All those things are important. 

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3) What separates Werklab from other co-working spaces?

We actually don’t call ourselves a co-working space but rather a modern day work club because everything is membership based and we’re a mindful space. We have yoga classes and we hold events. For example, we’ll have someone from a natural cosmetic shop come in or we’ll have lunch and learns on health, etc. At the end of the day, the way we work has totally shifted because of technology, even when you leave here you’re still working in bed. So we’re trying to infuse and offer you things that you wouldn’t maybe have time to go out and do because you have so much work or are working on a big project deadline. We want to bring those things to you.

We have 73 members now and we try to get at least once a week, something going on in the space. We want to bring people together with the more natural human stuff, I want people to have real authentic talk in this space. 

Also, with the design of the space, we wanted to offer different areas for you to move around. People think that only graphic designers or coders, those are the creative people that are not working 9 to 5. But in reality, a lot of people work remote. You don’t have to be an “in your face creative” to be in a space like this because at the end of the day, creativity is in everything we do – it’s in problem solving, it’s thinking outside the box, it’s critical thinking, etc. It doesn’t mean that you need to be the best artist in order to be creative.

A lot of the time when we get stuck on a road block with work, movement – moving into a new part of the space, standing up, meditating on our bean bag, being able to stretch out on the couch or just having a quick chat in the coffee area, can all of a sudden reset you.

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4) Who are the people that have been drawn to the space?

The demographic is a total range. I thought we’d have a lot of people from the neighbourhood because we’re the furthest space East in downtown Vancouver but we have people driving all the way from Kits and all over town to come here, which is pretty special. Right before people start, we send them a questionnaire that has nothing to do with what they do – asking them where they grew up, where they were born, what’s one thing people wouldn’t know about them, etc. So even before people come in for orientation, we try to find links and connection with others in the space so that they already feel like they belong on day 1, even if they don’t know anyone. I really try to make an effort to go around with them and be there to support them. People call this home, it’s funny but true.

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5) A lot of the people in the community seem to really help each other out here in Vancouver, what does it mean to you to be a part of that and how has it helped?

I think the more as a business we become authentic and the more it is aligned with who I am and who I stand for, all of a sudden all these pieces start falling into place and just feels so serendipitous. There’s something really special about people on the west coast, following their crazy independent paths. It can sometimes feel so alone on the journey and can sometimes be really challenging but there’s so much support for Vancouver as a whole. I don’t know if it’s always been that way but that’s how things are shifting. I was talking to another local entrepreneur – Sonia from Woodlot and we were chatting about how expensive Vancouver is, so a lot of people have side hustles to make extra cash on the side. And all of a sudden, those side hustles start doing really well so they run with it. We’re all trying to survive together and there’s a really beautiful energy around this community. 

The past year has been a wild ride. It’s this living and breathing organism that changes shape every day but you just have to be present with it. It has been quite the mindfulness task in itself to let it happen. 

For more info on Werklab, go here.