Business owners across the world and those right here in Vancouver are experiencing a whirlwind of changes right now.
Many of us are working from home, trying to figure out new daily routines that work for our schedules. But it’s easy to feel overwhelmed without the typical structure that we’re used to, and you might even struggle to stay organized. At this point, you might even miss your daily commute.
We’re all navigating uncharted territory, unsure of when a degree of normalcy will be restored. During this time, it’s important to remember that local businesses are still here to support you in Vancouver, and you can support them, too.
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Vancouver-based STIL, a company for women, by women, specializes in planners, journals, digital products, and accessories — including a work from home kit to inspire productivity and keep you accountable while you work remotely. The company was founded in 2015 by Swiss-born Marissa Cristina Grootes to empower women to be their best, organized selves.
Although STIL’s Cambie Street store is temporarily closed due to the ongoing pandemic, you can connect with the brand and browse its full range of planners and totes on Instagram. STIL has also created a private Slack channel where the team is sharing tips on how to be your best self at home and beyond.
Communication is key right now, especially if you’re dating virtually or in a relationship. The good news is Vancouver-based Swoon Cards is here to help. Swoon is a deck of 52 question cards that have been designed for modern dating, to cut through the BS and get down to what matters.
Creative director Savannah Golding co-created Swoon Cards with the company’s business director, Reza Houshmand. Their goal was to create a product that would enhance their own dating lives, help other people find love, and create a culture around being open and real in romantic relationships. Fun fact: The deck was inspired by an article by The New York Times that went viral.
Mala the Brand
The more time we spend at home, the more we want to transform our homes into functional sanctuaries. Local businesses like Mala the Brand can help make this happen. The handcrafted candle company was founded by Melody Lim and inspired by the romantic lifestyle of Europe she experienced while travelling.
All products are made using natural soy wax, wood wicks, cotton wicks, and essential oils. Fill your home-meets-workspace with scents like chai (clove, cinnamon, and vanilla) or succulent (citrus, coconut, and sandalwood) and bliss out. Mala the Brand has partnered with Tree Era and Plant the Peace so that with every purchase, a tree will be planted across the globe.
Trips to the grocery store or going outside for brief exercise are inevitable, and the last thing you want to come home with is wet shoes. Vancouver-based Vessi Footwear created the world’s first waterproof knit shoes to save us from this kind of thing.
Supporting Vessi lets you give back to the community at the same time. The company launched a Choose What You Pay initiative with up to 40% off products, in which profits are being donated to the purchase of medical masks for Canadian and US organizations in need. So far, the initiative has raised enough for over 300,000 surgical masks. Profits from the sale of Vessi shoes are also going towards purchasing additional PPE to donate on the shopper’s behalf.
The Bad Academy
It’s hard not to think about your cancelled plans and schedules right now, but if you’re looking for ways to stay inspired or to learn something new while under quarantine, The Bad Academy can help. The Vancouver-based organization, founded by Amanda Kao, hosts engaging workshops where “bad womxn” can develop new skills and connect with others.
Workshops that have taken place so far this year include Personal Finance and Roller Derby 101. You can support the organization by purchasing a tee or by donation on The Bad Academy website. Get the latest updates on Instagram about when the next (likely digital) workshop will drop.
Being at home means we’re seeing a lot more of our beds. While we try to resist the temptation to work from bed, we’re thinking about details like our bed linen. And there’s a local company that specializes in affordable and breathable French linen home goods: Flax Sleep.
The brand was founded in 2017 by Anna Heyd, Vivian McCormick, and Oana Papuc and named based on their shared love for a good night’s sleep and appreciation of beautiful things. If you didn’t already know, linen lasts longer than cotton and it keeps you cool in summer yet cozy during winter.
Chance Dog Fitness
During the current crisis, some Vancouverites are getting to spend more time with their pets, but for those working on the frontline, things are a little different. Rochelle Clarke, a local dog fitness coach and the founder of Chance Dog Fitness is offering help to first responders with discounted dog walking.
In the two last years, Clarke worked as a sales rep and part-time dog walker, and since she was laid off from her job in March due to the outbreak, she’s managing her company full-time. Chance offers one-on-one runs and walks for high-energy dogs in Olympic Village, Downtown, Kitsilano, and surrounding areas. New clients get the first dog run or walk free. Partial proceeds from services will be donated to the SPCA every month.
Vancouver Candle Co.
It’s easy to feel a little disconnected from your community right now because you can’t physically go and meet friends at your local coffee shop or even have them over for dinner. But you can bring the essence of your community inside with help from Vancouver Candle Co.
Nick Rabuchin founded the local company in 2014, fascinated with the power of scent and keen to create a brand rich in tradition. Every handcrafted candle made by the brand uses ingredients like premium soy wax, pure cotton wicks, and natural essential oils and fine fragrance. Whether you live in Gastown, Mount Pleasant, the West End, on the North Shore, or beyond, there’s a beautiful scent to match the place you call home.