On Starting a New Chapter

Words by Sara Panton

Photography by Gordon Nicholas

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It seems like just yesterday that we officially said goodbye to the space we had been in since the inception of this company. It was more than just an office to me. vitruvi started as a passion project that Sean and I worked on late in the evenings from our apartments, which we both rented in a live/work loft building on Beatty Street in Vancouver. It was in my apartment that I came up with the name for the business, and it’s where we would stay up until one in the morning watching re-runs of Anthony Bourdain shows while filling bottles of essential oils by hand.

As the passion project grew, so did our need for space. We would corner off sections of our apartments and dedicate them to specific “departments”—mine was “Creative and Content,” and I turned an entire wall into a mood board and set up a writing station with a globe and some of my favourite tokens from my travels. About 200 square-feet of Sean’s apartment was turned into our “Operations and Packing” department, where we would fill, bottle, and label products. There was also a separate “Shipping” department, which was a long table where we’d print off labels, hand-cutting and hand-taping them to every order. Our holiday season became a full takeover of Sean’s living quarters.

In complete honesty, it’s hard to write this without tearing up—this company is something that has grown with Sean and me. There were times when we were absolutely not sure if we were going to make it, and too many times to count when we had absolutely no idea what we were doing. The drive and obsession and the way with which this company has grown from such a personal place has made vitruvi become a regular part of our central nervous systems. There are many times that Sean will wake up from sleep with an idea or having solved a problem for the business. There is an intuition and a sixth sense about a company when it comes from your home and your heart, without any expectations beyond following something you’re completely passionate about.

The character and culture of vitruvi really is that of a family company; we’ve created a work ethic paired with the kindness and lightness of relationships. The team that has grown in and now out of our previous office space has a grit and grace that is unique, and I believe that energy and perspective is reflected in the products we make, the content we create, and the vision we hold. The new space we designed inspires a new evolution of vitruvi and allows us to flex our creative muscles that much more.

When building this new space, it was incredibly important to Sean and I that it felt more like a home and less like an office. We didn’t include anything that we “thought” a workplace should have—instead, we designed the space to function like an apartment, with warm colours, layered textures, and an incredible amount of storage. We wanted the lines and design to be clean and simple, as well as effortless and functional, so that people could focus on the work—and continue making really beautiful and functional products for our community.

Thank you for being on this adventure with us. Continue to expect great things.