For the next week we're focusing on the launch of our mists and roll-ons: a collection inspired by daily rituals. The collection consists of 5 blends: Wake, Focus, Balance, Still and Sleep. For this campaign, we spent 1 day getting a glimpse into the lives of 5 incredible, dynamic women from our community. Each woman is a muse for the blend she best represents. Here, you'll get a chance to learn more about her daily rituals.
We were blown away when we walked into Werklab to meet with the company’s founder, Christina. First off, the ceilings are so high and the windows so tall that the light streams in beautifully—even on rainy, grey Vancouver days. On the far side, there’s a booth that runs probably 30 feet down the wall—it’s like a chic Parisian cafe, except everyone is working instead of smoking. Plus the art is spectacular, which is not easy to do in a large, industrial space that demands bigger pieces. Did we mention the wellness/zen area of Werklab? There’s palo santo burning, massive walls that swing open to a yoga room, and a bongo Christina brought back from France (if you feel so inclined to bust out some beats). While this sounds like a beautiful hotel (or maybe even camp for adults), Werklab is actually a co-work space—and it’s unlike any you’ve seen before.
We chose Christina as the muse for our Focus blend because she’s designing the work space of the future. With Werklab, Christina has tapped into the insight that “human potential can only be maximized if we generally care about people’s wellbeing”, which translates to a workspace that incorporates both wellness and flexibility into it.
We chatted with Christina about the journey of starting her own company, how she transitions her mind to get into “work mode” and how she takes time for herself outside of work.
What led you to founding Werklab?
Werklab was birthed after spending over half a decade in HR and Organizational Coaching. The inspiration budded through witnessing the shift in the needs of our millennial generation as we came through and disrupted the workforce. As a collective we have shaken up the status quo in how we work and what our driving motivations are. I wanted to create a space where individuals who were pursuing an independent work path could feel cared for, and supported from a holistic approach. North American culture has glorified masculine (yang) energy praising the hustle and the grind, and yet we know that burn out is real and an epidemic. If you look at the CEO’s and Founder’s of the top progressive companies they often speak to the benefits of meditation and a thoughtful mindful approach to life. Werklab wants to make the spiritual and conscious world accessible and approachable to Vancouver’s brilliant community. We strive to be a safe space, to be the breeding ground for stepping outside our comfort zone and getting vulnerable. After all, without the presence of vulnerability you cannot foster true connection, nor can you create and innovate.
What has been your greatest challenge so far? Greatest reward?
I almost gave up on Werklab. I truly felt defeated at our one year anniversary. During the first year of business, I worked harder then ever to build the business up, to keep it open and not have it burn to the ground. I reached the anniversary of it’s opening (February of 2017) and felt completely tapped out and constricted by the space we were in. I gave myself permission to just be present with where I was at and knew it wasn’t the right time emotionally to be making future focused decisions. Throughout the summer I worked with a business coach who got me deep into vision work for myself, which entail impacted the business direction. I knew I needed stellar operational support (I had written down that my dream candidate would be an ASM from lululemon) and got clear in the future ethos of Werklab and our offering. In October of 2017, I was headed to Bali and committed to sorting next steps of the business once I returned. When I had my first layover I received two gifts from the universe, one message and one email. The text was from my friend Barbie Bent, founder of Lagree West, saying “You need to get in touch with the ASM I dealt with at lululemon West 4th, she’s no longer there and would be an allstar candidate for your GM role”. The email was from my landlord who wrote “We have 12,000 square feet becoming available (and you have the first access to it).” 11 months later and I’m pinching myself with my dream environment and an operational genius GM.
You travel a lot and also always have so many people in the space that you call both your office as well as your business. How do you mentally shift/become intentional about your “work time”?
I think it’s so important to create rituals to set intentions and space for self. I have always taken an approach that we can’t compartmentalize life and work as two separates, it’s just simply life and where we get our earnings from is a part of it. Often when I come into the office, I’ll burn palo santo and ask to be connected to whatever I need for that day to be a win. Ironically, a lot of my work gets done from home however that’s shifting with our new space.
Do you have a favourite area in your new space?
My favourite area is the 2,000 sq ft mindful zen side of our new space. Taking a timeout to reset and re-calibrate is a necessity. I find boundaries has been a ongoing opportunity for growth throughout my 20s and this gets tested constantly as we’re in service of others at Werklab – in supporting our community with their businesses and wellbeing. I escape to the quiet of our zen lounge where it feels like you’ve escaped into an oasis in Venice Beach.
What is your vision for the workspace of the future? How do you believe wellness and work will co-exist?
The workspace of the future will be less like work, and more designed as intentional space. Knowing what we now know in how people learn and process information, we have to start recognizing that we can’t take a linear approach to work environments. Some people can thrive in a room full of desks, and the reality is most of us don’t. A sense of autonomy is integral part of lifting up the millennial generation and if a company doesn’t choose to incorporate flexibility in how your staff work, it’ll reflect in your company culture and inevitably your bottom line. Human potential can only be maximized if we generally care about their wellbeing.
Who’s a super interesting human you’ve met through Werklab?
Werklab has brought some phenomenal humans into my life. Bree Melanson has been a peer that I met through Werklab who continues to send me the right messages at the perfect moments in time. Bree is a spiritual medium who resides in Carmel.
Outside of work, how do you take time for yourself?
Walks by the ocean. I have an eucalyptus essential oil bath every other night, with no electronics in site.
What’s your mantra?
Through discomfort comes growth.
Photos by Brit Gill.