Archives for September 2016

September 30, 2016 - No Comments!

“Why Vancouver” Featuring Alexa Mazzarello

The startup culture in Vancouver is not only thriving, it’s growing. It’s become a trend of it’s own that inspires, and encourages everyone to join in. People who move to the city see and experience this first hand, and realize that when surrounded by the energy here, there isn’t anything they can’t do. The world is your oyster in Vancouver, but how did that come to be? Why is Vancouver such a hot-bed of self employed creatives?

As part of an ongoing series, we’ll be meeting and interviewing creative entrepreneurs in Vancouver to see how and why they think this has happened, how they’ve benefited from it, and what makes them tick as an entrepreneur; we want to know, “Why Vancouver”.

This week we spoke to Alexa Mazzarello of Alexa Mazzarello Creative. Photographer, creative, and all round babe, Alexa is a fellow full time member at L’Atelier. We originally met through the amazingly connected community of creatives in Vancouver, so she seemed like the perfect person to pitch my “Why Vancouver” question to.

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September 23, 2016 - No Comments!

“Why Vancouver” Featuring Crystal Henrickson

The startup culture in Vancouver is not only thriving, it’s growing. It’s become a trend of it’s own that inspires, and encourages everyone to join in. People who move to the city see and experience this first hand, and realize that when surrounded by the energy here, there isn’t anything they can’t do. The world is your oyster in Vancouver, but how did that come to be? Why is Vancouver such a hot-bed of self employed creatives?

As part of an ongoing series, we’ll be meeting and interviewing creative entrepreneurs in Vancouver to see how and why they think this has happened, how they’ve benefited from it, and what makes them tick as an entrepreneur. We want to know, “Why Vancouver”.

One of the most connected ladies in town and an inspiring entrepreneur, Crystal Henrickson is joining the conversation this week.

Having been to a couple of Freelance Friday events around town, Crystal began recognizing me, and was a wonderful person to talk to, be inspired by, and meet people through. Right now she’s kicking self employment butt by working from sunny Indonesia!! What a gal. Here’s her take on “Why Vancouver”.  Read more

September 21, 2016 - No Comments!

L’Atelier Member Feature: Adrian Crook

There's no coworking without coworkers! Meet the lively personalities who work out of our coworking space.

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Adrian Crook is our first EVER member to sign up for a full time dedicated desk membership! You may know him from his Blog "5 Kids 1 Condo" or from his instagram page @adriancrook (that's how I first met him at least!).

Get to know Adrian a bit more through the quick interview below:

Where are you from/ where did you grow up? Any stories from your past that you'd like to share?

I grew up in Port Moody, but moved around a bit in my adult life, from LA to Texas to Playa del Carmen, Toronto, to Montreal.

My first paying job was as an extra in a TV movie. I grew up designing board games, building forts, keeping lizards as pets and playing computer games – so it was no surprise I had only one friend and no girlfriends until senior year of high school.

What do you do/ what are you passionate about and why did you choose to do what you do? Any exciting projects to share or maybe an unknown facts about your line of work?

My primary business is Adrian Crook & Associates, a game design consulting firm that’s been around for 10 years now.

I also have investments in and work in Grizzly Force (think Uber for day labourers), Loud Crow (interactive storybooks for brands like Peanuts), Hempire (a forthcoming weed growing game) and more.

I blog at 5 Kids 1 Condo about minimalism, urbanism, and evidence-based living. I am also a founder of Abundant Housing Vancouver, where we advocate for housing of all types, for all Vancouverites.

Is this your first time coworking? What made you choose to work at L'Atelier, what's your favorite thing about the space/ environment?

L’Atelier isn’t my first co-working space, but it’s definitely the most stylish. I was looking for a place to bring our clients that felt a little more “design-y” and upscale. L’Atelier has great attention to detail that I think our clients appreciate.

A quote you live by

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and wellpreserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!”
― Hunter S. ThompsonThe Proud Highway: Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman, 1955-1967

Your favorite lunch spot or thing to eat on work days

Fresh Sushi Yaletown – they’re great, fast, and they know my order.

Favorite snack

Smoothies

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September 16, 2016 - No Comments!

“Why Vancouver” Featuring Kim McMullen

The startup culture in Vancouver is not only thriving, it’s growing. It’s become a trend of it’s own that inspires, and encourages everyone to join in. People who move to the city see and experience this first hand, and realize that when surrounded by the energy here, there isn’t anything they can’t do. The world is your oyster in Vancouver, but how did that come to be? Why is Vancouver such a hot-bed of self employed creatives?

As part of an ongoing series, we’ll be meeting and interviewing creative entrepreneurs in Vancouver to see how and why they think this has happened, how they’ve benefited from it, and what makes them tick as an entrepreneur; we want to know, “Why Vancouver”.

Kim McMullen, ladies and gents, is a force to be reckoned with. As one of the most generous people I’ve ever met (her company, Flipside Creative gives 50% of their profits each year to charity) she is also the bad ass that gave me my first freelance design job - almost immediately after I graduated! So, clearly I have a bias, but there are a lot of other people in this city with some serious love for this trail blazing lady.

As someone deep into the self employment life (10 years and counting), she has a great perspective on why Vancouver (and the greater area) is so great for going your own way. As a resident of Bowen Island, she created a remote working team in order to live Island AND city life. This is the exact reason so many people move to Vancouver in fact; the lifestyle. If you want to climb the career ladder, you move to Toronto. If you want to live a great, B.C lifestyle, you move to Vancouver.

As one of the hoards that moved from the east coast, she can vouch 100% that this is true; the nature is inspiring - living deep in it is a way of life, her way of life, and it fuels everything she does.

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"There's something about this city that is really transient. And not in a seedy, dirty way. In an ever-flowing and evolving way. People come and go like seasons. There's a real lack of permanence and I think it's really beautiful. There's a happiness-driven subculture that's not just an uprising; it just is. It's the heartbeat of this place. It's not unusual; it's almost the norm. Torontonians may accuse Vancouverites of idleness or laziness. "You're so laid back here," I've heard it a thousand times. In my own life, since moving from Toronto to Vancouver, many of my own friends and family members from back east have asked small-mindedly "Do you even work?".

Oh, I work.
I work hard.
I also live bold and on my own terms.
And I do it all without apology.
Vancouver, I believe, makes it possible.

Vancouver enables this because lifestyle comes first. And we don't feel bad about that. I used to apologize all the time for wanting to take time off. For running in the morning and coming in on time instead of coming in early. I felt guilty for only working 65 hours this week when the guys next to me was working 70. It was toxic. Sure, there are the suits and ties. There always will be. There are plenty of 9-5 opportunities. Plenty of bosses looking for employees. Plenty of cushy roles with great benefits packages. After all, it's still the real world here. Vancouver isn't adverse to the "normal" and the "expected". That said, Vancouver feels a little more open to me. A little more willing to bend to new ideas. It always has. It's always felt fluid.

It's a place where it's okay to author a life that doesn't revolve around work. Amenities are everywhere that make it possible to ditch 9-5 and thrive on your own terms. Plus , there is a real flare up of local love. What I mean it, Vancouverites like to do business with Vancouverites. We like to keep it in the family. Support our own communities. Help our neighbours to thrive. So it never feels like being part of a company matters because we're already a part of a community of like-minded individuals who work hard with the intention of creating unique lives."

1. Do you have a favourite cafe or local spot to work from?
I don't. I like to roam. I've parked it all over the city. Met some really interesting folks. Creatives. Community leaders. Philanthropists. Students galore! Kind souls with neat ideas. I like that there are literally hundreds of cafes and spaces to choose from. Some have been busts. Some have been utter delight. All have been an experience and all have made my work better as a result.

2. What's your favourite music to listen to whilst working?
I'm one of those nerds that never listens to tunes (gasp!). My work is really brain intensive, So I save my music influx for running. While I'm working, my music is my brain coming up with brilliant (hopefully) ideas, plans, strategies, etc.

3. What's your favourite thing about summer in Vancouver?
SUNSHINE AND MOUNTAINS.

That's two. But they go in hand in hand. Summer in Vancouver is like vacation every day—even while you're working. You can get up. Play. Work. Play more. Eat. Play more. It's sunshine and joy all the time.

4. What's one thing you can't live without?
Trails and green juice. (I'm not good with these "one thing" questions. Clearly!)

Nature is my therapy. Vancouver has all sorts of it. I'd be a nut job without trails. Certifiably insane. Green juice is my fuel.

5. What's the best advice you've ever been given as freelancer/ self employed designer?
Be you. Do you. Unapologetically. Work comes to those who are authentic.

Thanks for being you Kim, and for being constant proof that the reason we choose is Vancouver is the stunning scenery and natural inspiration it offers.

If you liked this post, let us know! We want YOU to be part of our community - send me a message (lucy@ateliervancouver.com) and you can join in on one our community events, or be part of this blog series! Join the conversation!

September 13, 2016 - No Comments!

L’Atelier Member Feature: Mitchell Fawcett

There's no coworking without coworkers! Meet the lively personalities who work out of our coworking space.

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Mitchell Fawcett is one of our founding full time members at L'Atelier. He found out about the space through Amber Kingsnorth, our interior designer. Mitchell first came in for a trial then found out that he knew some of the members who already worked here! Mitchell is a pleasure to have around, his personality is always fun and bright and when you see him you're instantly uplifted!
Mitchell's Company website: http://www.motivecommunications.ca
Twitter/Instagram: @mitchellfawcett

Get to know Mitchell a bit more through the quick interview below:

Where are you from/ where did you grow up? Any stories from your past that you'd like to share?

I was born in Calgary but I definitely consider Vancouver home! I used to be into extreme sports (skydiving, bungee, etc) but I’ve since developed a late onset fear of heights.

What do you do/ what are you passionate about and why did you choose to do what you do? Any exciting projects to share or maybe an unknown facts about your line of work?

I’m a public relations consultant. I love my job because it’s the perfect combination of introverted and extroverted work. I get to balance things like writing and creative strategy with socializing and relationship building.

Is this your first time coworking? What made you choose to work at L'Atelier, what's your favorite thing about the space/ environment?

This is my first time! I absolutely love the aesthetic of the space (and my good friend Amber was the interior designer).

A quote you live by
Hustle!

Your favorite lunch spot or thing to eat on work days
Sandwiches (and chocolate chip cookies) from Finch’s.

Favorite snack
Lays classic chips.

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September 9, 2016 - No Comments!

“Why Vancouver” Featuring Miranda Grigor

As part of an ongoing series, we’ll be interviewing creative entrepreneurs in Vancouver to see how and why they think doing your own thing in business is possible, why it has boomed in Vancouver, how they’ve benefited from it, and what makes them tick as an entrepreneur; we want to know, “Why Vancouver”.

Third up in the “Why Vancouver” series, is Miranda Grigor. A cat loving, punk dancing camper, Miranda is one hell of a graphic designer. I work alongside this lovely lady at Flipside Creative, making all sorts of great visuals for kind people across North America. I pitched my idea to Miranda, and asked what she thought on the topic of “Why Vancouver”. What Miranda notes for our conversation, is that us West Coasters have a focus on lifestyle. We aim to be happy first and foremost, and choose Vancouver for the lifestyle, not the job opportunities. If we wanted corporate careers, we would have moved to Toronto or New York, but here in B.C we try to do it all. Check out Miranda’s reasons for “Why Vancouver” (plus why freelance!) and her 5 getting sh*t done faves.

Miranda Grigor

MG: “When I moved to Vancouver I had no idea what I was doing. I was only one year out of design school when I packed my bags and left my life in Ontario to start a new chapter on the west coast. It helped that I had a few friends and family here, but career-wise I was taking a huge risk, leaving my first real full-time design gig at a pretty reputable studio.

I’d just gone through a pretty devastating breakup and it sounds super cheese, but the ocean and mountains were calling me. I wanted to be close to my family, and at that time in my life I was more focussed on finding myself than nailing down a career. I feel like if you're happy with yourself, the work stuff will figure itself out. Spoiler alert: it did.

The design community in Ottawa, where I went to school, is really small and everybody knows everybody else. I had tons of industry contacts before I even graduated, and finding work wasn’t really a problem. But when I moved to Vancouver I knew nobody in the field. Compared to Ottawa, I found the design scene here to be a bit cold and disconnected.

This is totally based on my own experience, but I feel like a big part of the reason freelance is so popular in Vancouver is because agencies don’t want to hire full-time junior creatives. Understandably, it’s a risky investment that may or may not pay off. There also seems to be a serious lack of co-op programs in the design schools here, which means students aren’t getting the opportunity to connect and gain that crucial experience in a real work environment prior to job hunting. So basically everyone is just trying to make things happen on their own. What’s really cool is that a lot of people are becoming really successful in that way. People are initiating conversations and developing their own sense of community.

So like a lot of other designers, I didn't have much luck connecting with agency people when I started out in Vancouver. So I opened my job search to include in-house gigs, and BAM. All of a sudden I was getting job offers. Eventually I settled into a position where I got to be in charge of all things creative. That is to say, I was the only designer catering to six content strategists. Before this I didn’t even know what a content strategist was. The workload was insane but the challenge was really fulfilling to me at that time. The pay was pretty great, too.

The problem with in-house work is that creative people get bored easily. It wasn't much more than a year before I had major brand burnout and I was really missing the variety that comes along with agency work. I still didn’t have any agency job offers, but I had made some contacts along the way so I decided to take on some freelance temporarily until I got my “real job” figured out.

That was almost two years ago.

I used to think freelance was too risky and that I needed the structure of an office to stay motivated. But as my business started to fall into place, I realized I was much happier when I had more freedom in my work life. Something as simple as eliminating my commute made me feel more balanced and fulfilled. 

Today I’ve narrowed my client roster down to a few steady, ongoing contracts which alleviates all that “what if” freelance stress while giving me that itty bit of structure I tend to crave. I get to be my own boss, while still being part of a team. Depending on the day, I get to work with agencies or in-house marketing teams — all on my own terms (for the most part). I get the best of both worlds, plus the downtime I need stay sane.

Word of mouth referrals have really helped set things into motion for me, but I also feel like my authenticity and strong work ethic have been major keys to my success as a freelancer. And even though I Sometimes have to work until 1am to keep up, other days I get to knock off early and hit the beach on a Thursday afternoon. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

1. Do you have a favourite cafe or local spot to work from?
I'm one of those rare people who actually feels less distracted working from home. I’ve got a pretty sweet little office setup with a big window, a big screen, and an endless supply of coffee. Also, when I’m home I’ve always got a dog by my feet and at least one cat in my lap, which makes me pretty happy. But when I do need a change of scenery, I love Lost + Found on West Hastings and Gigi Blin, which is a super cute little cafe in my neighbourhood in south Van.

2. What's your favourite music to listen to whilst working?
This is the hardest question ever. At my core, I’m a rock n’ roll girl. For me, that means everything from doo-wop to rockabilly to surf pop and punk music. But I’m going to take this opportunity to give a shout out to two of my favourite local bands, Dead Soft and Supermoon.

3. What's your favourite thing about summer in Vancouver?
I love that you can bike anywhere. I love hanging out with friends outside at a park or the beach, listening to music. Recently I’ve been making a point to hit up various happy hours with my girlfriends after work. When I first moved here, Vancouver didn’t do the happy hour thing, so I’m pretty stoked we have that now.

4. What's one thing you can't live without?
My cats. That’s two things…

5. What's the best advice you've ever been given as freelancer/ self employed designer?
Always set aside enough money for taxes (thanks Dad). 

If you liked this post, let us know! We want YOU to be part of our community. Send me a message (lucy@ateliervancouver.com) and you can join one our community events, host a workshop or even be part of this blog series! 

September 2, 2016 - No Comments!

“Why Vancouver” Featuring Natalie from East Van Jam

As part of an ongoing series, we’ll be interviewing creative entrepreneurs in Vancouver to see how and why they think doing your own thing in business is possible, why it has boomed in Vancouver, how they’ve benefited from it, and what makes them tick as an entrepreneur; we want to know, “Why Vancouver”.

Recently I sat down with Natalie, from East Van Jam (and her cute kiddos) to see what life is like for a work at home entrepreneur. Natalie does the majority of work from her home, spending a large amount of her time in the garden.  As with most of us, the struggle for Natalie has been having other people around her. As a stay at home mum, that adult connection and conversation is even more important to her, but when she moved into a larger commercial kitchen, she found the toss up between chit chat and cleanliness just too much. Opting for a solo kitchen, she loses that community sense, but gets peace of mind for producing a top notch product. When it came down to it, she chose her business over community, looking for that adult connection elsewhere.

Natalie East Van Jam

We talked further about the culture of startups, freelancers and solopreneurs here, and questioned why it is so possible. Life in a big city can be isolating, but with nature surrounding us, people often find themselves inspired. Areas of natural beauty are often where the creatives flock, and Vancouver is no different. Perhaps it is that that started the feeling of inspiration, and drove so many of us into creating our own career paths?

We’ll ponder that further as the series goes along, but here are Natalie’s getting sh*t done faves, with her top tunes, locations and vibes for the d-i-y work day. Let us know what you think or if you’ve seen Natalie around town! You can find her delicious jams in a host of stores around town, see the full list here.

1. Do you have a favourite cafe or local spot to work from?
I often do my computer/admin work from home but when I need that out-in-the-world component, I've found myself most often at East Cafe in Hastings Sunrise hood, Moja on the Drive and sometimes Pure Bread, in Gastown. 

2. What's your favourite music to listen to whilst working?
I work best in silence (savoured mostly because I don't get it a lot with my boys when they are around!) But when I do want something, I go between bands like Toots and the Maytals, Jimmy Cliff, First Aid Kit, Lord Huron and the Great Lake Swimmers.  And Surfjan Stevens.  Some of everything:).

3. What's your favourite thing about summer in Vancouver? 
The sun if it would only shine!  But seriously, I love the anticipation of the arrival of all the fruit - one type at a time as it relates to my business and my taste buds!  But also, something that is very dear to me on a personal level - I am not a traditionally religious person - I don't subscribe/practice any particular faith.  But the closest I come to a religion is the time I make for myself to work in our garden.  There are few things that feed my soul like raising my children and putting my hands in the dirt.  The rewards of watching and tending and guiding are certainly very spiritual for me.  The quietude in the garden - looking closely at all the various insects, observing the growth habits of the plants, the trials of one location versus another - all ground me in the here and now.  Some get this sensation through yoga, but for me it's the time I carve out for growing food for my family that has the most impact on my personal well-being. 

4. What's the one thing you can't live without?
One thing?  My family.

5. What's the best advice you've ever been given as an entrepreneur/small biz owner?
Know your vision, your guiding principles, your numbers by the back of your hand and be real as a person.

If you liked this post, let us know! We want YOU to be part of our community. Send me a message (lucy@ateliervancouver.com) and you can join one our community events, host a workshop or even be part of this blog series!