I’m sitting looking over the water from my parents living room under a giant full moon, which apparently upon further research is called the January “Wolf Moon.” This name somehow feels fitting as I reflect on the past year at vitruvi—it was a year of exploring new lands, growing our pack and finding our calling. This year was unlike any other; the growth and demand we experienced was unprecedented for us and something we couldn’t plan for, despite some brilliant minds behind our inventory planning (sorry for all the out of stocks this year). But beyond product out of stocks, this year was about so much more. I wanted to take some time as we have just wrapped 2017 to reflect on some of the lessons, celebrations, and gratitude I have gained over the past 365 days.
Our team grew by 10x (literally), but it’s not about scale—it’s about the community of people we have at our office. They have the warmest energy and the most brilliant and creative minds. I walk into our office everyday excited to spend my day with some of the kindest, funniest, most hard working and down to earth people in Vancouver. If there is anything that I am proud of the most of 2017, it’s the people on our team and the community of people around vitruvi. Beyond our immediate team, we were very fortunate to have an extended family of talented photographers, creative writers, and design minds who helped shape and form the brand this year, furthering the vision we have for the company.
Part of growing in desks and bodies is also growing in space. With a small team that’s familiar and most comfortable working within earshot of one another, being able to talk over computer monitors and collaborate on a whim was something we all took for granted. With more people quickly being added to the team, we had some very “serious” conversations about where new desks would be set up as we grow, so we can still work together and collaborate as quickly as possible.
Part of the energy and space we wanted to expand was our love of coffee. We decided as a team that since we were spending enough time and money at the coffee shop by our office, we might as well build our own. So, Harrison and Sean built a 12 foot coffee bar completely by themselves, while the rest of the team helped find furniture and source some amazing plants. As a result, we turned one of the building spaces we have into our own coffee bar and we’re in the process of installing a professional espresso machine. This way, we can make our own cappuccinos and connect and spend time in a truly creative space with less technology and without the buzz of our upstairs office. Also expect some instagram stories as our latte art abilities progress.
It has been an adventure working in the essential oils industry. We’re new and we’re taking a different approach in an old industry and that means we’re often the first essential oil company in the retail stores we work with. Steph, our Wholesale Director, worked brilliantly with some of the most talented buyers from some of the most respected retailers in the world (i.e. Nordstrom, Madewell, Sephora, Goop…) To be honest, a lot of what we we’re doing (and still are) is figuring it out as we go. Asking and answering questions like: How do essential oils show up in a retail store? How do we bring the experience of the brand into a shop? And more importantly: How do you create the energy and description of the product on a web page? Partnering with these amazing stores has allowed us to connect with more women, which in turn has inspired the ideation of new collections and product lines.
This past year we were able to launch a new collection called “The Art Of Scent”—these were our essential oil blends designed specifically for our stone diffusers. It took us over 6 months to make them, and much of the process involved insights and feedback from our community and team. Through this process, we were able to work with the talented designer and illustrator Mary Clare Wilkie. She took the scents we crafted and the moods and places that inspired them, and created custom watercolour illustrations by hand. She then turned them into digital files, which were printed on the inside of each box of our blends. This process of using other creative mediums for explaining and exploring scent is something we plan on doing more in 2018.
Part of being a start-up and being keen on innovation is vastly underestimating the time it takes to launch a new line. Especially when you have a million ideas and a strong vision for the products you want to create and the brand you’re building. Understanding workflow and the logistical component of new collections is still something we’re learning patience from, but what I can say is that we will be developing and launching 3 new collections in 2018 and we’re so excited to share them with you.
At the end of the day we don’t think of ourselves as an essential oil company. The feedback from our customers, the notes from the women in our community, and the way we think about products when we design them go beyond bottles and scent.
As a company run by predominantly women, we’re passionate about supporting women to better themselves and the world. We design our products with strong, smart, independent, forward-thinking, nurturing, kind and unique women in mind. Women who are thinking 3 steps ahead in all the best directions and women who are pushing themselves. We hope our products help them carve out some much needed time for themselves and maybe inspire them to take a few deep breaths while they are out changing the world.
At vitruvi, we’re passionate about helping women take care of themselves so we can take on the world. We have been able to do that within Canada and the United States for the last 3 years and now, we’re excited to take that mission globally for the first time with our partnership with One Girl Can and our collaboration with the Obakki Foundation.
2018 brings an opportunity for to get one step closer to the vision and goal we have for the company. I anticipate it will involve a lot of sweat, tears, laughter, and maybe a few curse words. We will do our best to create innovative, thoughtful products, as well as content on our blog basenotes that shares the topics, stories, recipes, DIY projects, world events, and books that are meaningful to us.
And finally thank you to you—for your engagement, feedback, and conversations with us in real life or online. We appreciate you so very much and value your opinion, thoughts and inspirations immensely. Please do email us any feedback, ideas, or notes anytime 🙂
Wishing you a strong start to a new year.
Lots of love,