It was a rainy Thursday morning, I was sitting by the large open windows at Trees Organic Coffee in Gastown casually watching the bustle on Water Street and pondering how I should conduct the interview with Clio. Clio De La Llave, the Founder and President of Booje Media, a Boutique Marketing Agency has been making waves in the world of digital marketing and design.
Then I spotted her, walking briskly into the cafe in a sporty yet elegant ensemble topped with a cheery pink vest. She quickly came to meet me greeted with a firm handshake and a warm smile. After discussing how the interview would best be conducted, she proceeded to start the tale of her entrepreneurial path and running her company at one of the most sought after co-working spaces in Vancouver: The Profile Coworking Business Club.
Clio had envisioned herself working at a large marketing agency after graduating from BCIT’s marketing communications program in 2009. Although, she had a fantastic experience interning for six months at an international communications agency, she realized working for large agencies wasn’t her calling. The epiphany had motivated her to pack her bags and travel as a means to clear her mind and find her vocation.
After her soul searching journey, she began to brainstorm how she could utilize her marketing skills to jumpstart her career. It was through social media that she saw her opportunity. She noticed businesses were looking to promote themselves to their target market online, and her contact at an acting agency had confided that their clients were looking for ways to promote themselves.
In an industry such as film where an actor’s fan base and online following has the power to dictate their projects success or failure, film directors were digging at their social media profiles to gauge their popularity and influence within the digital space. Booje Media was thus born.
Being pragmatic, she started by specializing in social media through developing social media strategies, content creation and account maintenance. Although her schooling and internship had taught her a great deal about marketing, Clio had agreed the first two years were the most challenging for her and Booje Media.
She had to constantly learn and adapt to the ever changing digital world and some prospective clients were reluctant to setup a social media presence as Twitter and Instagram were still viewed as novelty applications. In the end, however, her tenacity and grit pulled her through and Booje Media started hitting its stride. As she accumulated experience and expanded her skill set, Clio would start to offer more services to Booje Media’s pool of clients.
Starting with original content creation, Clio created blog posts and newsletters which would feed traffic back to a client’s websites; she then expanded her services to online marketing and search engine optimization. As Booje Media started offering more comprehensive services, clients started seeing even better results which led to more business and opportunities to expand their services into other industries. Initially working with only the public sector and mining companies, the demand for Booje Media’s services led them to grow into industries such as event planning, food and beverage, real estate and fashion.
Diversifying into new industries gave Booje Media the opportunity to learn the needs of different markets, expand their work portfolio as well as significantly decrease the risk of working for competing clients.
In 2013 , Clio found Booje Media had a need for new talent with specialization in various aspects of digital marketing to deal with an expanding list of clients and with that a bigger venue to establish their office. Through meetings and networking events she found she had become quite fond of the Gastown neighborhood.
“There’s just such good energy here, lots of up and coming businesses, entrepreneurs and start-ups. You can really feel the hunger for success in Gastown, and it really drives you to up your game,” she exclaimed.
“We went to assess the space at The Profile, and it was what the team had hoped for; a beautiful venue that can inspire fantastic ideas and remind us why we love living in the city.”
For Booje Media, operating from a shared working space has huge perks. It allowed companies in different fields to connect, learn the other’s respective industry, collaborate and use new apps and technologies that have not come onto the market as well as feed off of each other’s motivational energy, a must have for a creative agency.
Running Booje Media from The Profile also enabled Clio to lower the firm’s operating costs, as tenants have free access to kitchens and meeting rooms anytime provided they weren’t reserved beforehand.
Furthermore, for entrepreneurs who are already occupied with managing their day to day business, having a reception personnel at the Profile who assists with the minutiae of operations such as copying documents and guiding clients to meeting rooms keeps them focused on developing their venture.
Lastly, the Profile frequently holds events on behalf of its tenants and the Gastown community. Companies working within the space are invited, and whether it’s to network, learn or celebrate an occasion The Profile makes for a beautiful venue to host events.
“We held a huge Christmas party last year at The Profile, it was a place we were so proud to show our clients and friends,” Clio reminisced. “We’ve had a couple clients looking for space and it’s such an amazing added value to be able to offer that to our clients.”
She smiled and paused as she must have noticed I was trying to picture the splendor of what she’s describing because the next thing I knew she offered to give me a guided tour of The Profile. I was not about to decline an offer from the founder of one of Vancouver’s most talented marketing firms for a guided tour at one of Vancouver’s most sought after co-working offices.
We arrived at The Profile, located on the second floor of The Landing office building. Exiting from the building’s elevator, the hallway splits into a T junction with a beautiful view overlooking the building’s lobby below with The Profile’s office space occupying the northern portion of the building on both sides of the T junction. Clio led me to the eastern side where her company’s space was located.
Walking into the office I immediately understood why Clio and the team at Booje Media would be proud to show their clients the space. It has access to breathtaking views of the North Shore, Canada Place and Waterfront station. The rain and grey weather imbued the scenery with mist which gave it a mysterious and surreal beauty.
Clio introduced me to the members of Booje Media who took the time to give me a warm smile and firm handshake as well as wishing me the best for Startup Weekend; clearly, a talented and savvy team that make new acquaintances feel comfortable and respected.
Looking around, the space was wonderfully furnished with a well stocked coffee bar, a bike room, resting lounge as well as multiple meeting rooms and one room dedicated for internet broadcasting. Heading to the west side of the building, we were greeted by the front desk receptionist Krishna.
The west side contained similar amenities, with a number of private meeting rooms, a well stocked cafe and a video conferencing room. Those working on the west side however get a different view of the world outside; the stunning scenery extends from downtown Cordova Street to Lonsdale Quay in the North Shore.
After ending my tour and taking leave, I have to agree with Clio, The Profile is a great place to work. It’s also a fantastic venue to host Startup Weekend Vancouver as there are more than enough meeting rooms to fit a number of teams, impressive amenities and tasteful decor. The participants are going to love it.
The Profile is a unique lifestyle business club and workspace. A space that inspires meaningful encounters, exchanges and connections, a workspace that is full of diverse people working on amazing ideas and businesses.
Booje Media is a Vancouver-based digital marketing agency that specializes in cultivating organic relationships with consumers through customized marketing campaigns that incorporate the most vital online media platforms.
If “great people stand on the shoulders of giants,” then epic events are created with the support of great communities. Startup Weekend Vancouver 2014 has received some of the warmest and most enthusiastic assistance from its community sponsors, keen to make this a weekend to remember. These community sponsors have pledged financial support and/or discounts for the products and services they provide. We are grateful for the support and generosity they have shown us. In turn, we would like to give a shout out to some of our community sponsors and let them know Startup Weekend 2014 would not be the same without them.
The Art Institute of Vancouver
The Art Institute of Vancouver is a post-secondary education institution offering learner centered, career focused programs in the applied arts to a diverse and engaged student body. We seek to create a stimulating learning environment where committed and talented students, led by dedicated faculty, can develop their creativity and acquire the skills and acknowledge to pursue careers in their fields of study and support personal and professional growth.
Founded in 2009 by, Unbounce is web-based software as a service (Saas) that gives marketers and the power to manage company campaigns and startup teams to validate ideas without IT. Unbounce’s template library enables users to build click through, lead generation, sales letter and video landing pages for A/B testing in minutes.
Clio is a comprehensive cloud-based practice management, time & billing and client collaboration platform specifically designed for small and mid-sized law firms. Founded in 2008 by Jack and Rian, two best friends since elementary school, Clio has grown from 3 person operation to over 90 strong with offices in Vancouver, Toronto and Dublin Ireland. Clio attributes their success to risk taking, collaboration and innovation.
Based out of Vancouver’s startup hub Gastown, PaySavvy is a national human capital management software provider that offers cloud-based payroll, human resource, and time and labour management software. PaySavvy’s advanced and intuitive platform allows clients to accomplish the most in the least amount of time. The company prides itself on offering competitive, predictable, all-inclusive pricing, and unparalleled access to exceptional customer service inspired by its mantra: People first.
Champion of the 2011 Startup Weekend Vancouver, myBestHelper matches families with most suitable sitters and nannies. myBestHelper differentiates itself from Care.com and UrbanSitter by combining social circles and AirBnB-like reputation system (to help build trust) with eHarmony-like matching system (to increase fit between personalities and values) to save families and caregivers time and effort! This year myBestHelper helper will also be providing participants onsite child care or services in their home at a discount.
Written by Charles Yu
In June 2013, Ailton Schoemeberger won Startup Weekend Vancouver with Domastay, an “Airbnb for international students seeking homestay.” This year Ailton is back to co-organize Startup Weekend 2014 and share his experience of previous year’s event and the experience of running a startup after the competition.
We took a few moments to ask him some questions on his experience and advice he would give to this year’s participants.
What advice would you give to participants with business or marketing background
Participants with marketing and business backgrounds who aren’t pitching actually have a lot to contribute and have their work cut out for them once they are inducted into a team. Whether it’s validating the idea on the street with complete strangers or helping out with presentation slides and sourcing images and relevant information — marketing and business participants have a full plate.
Speaking of pitching ideas, what suggestions do you have for those looking to pitch their ideas at the event?
There are three factors which I believe makes a successful pitch:
- The presenter has to be memorable
- The pitch needs relatable examples
- and, Post-pitch mingling is a must!
Before attending Startup Weekend 2013, I came to the realization that I might be confused with other individuals who are looking to pitch. In order to differentiate myself, I wore the Brazilian Soccer Jersey on pitch day introduced myself as a Brazilian native and explained my idea.
Another participant by the name of Ed also realized the importance of differentiation by wearing a hat and telling the audience to remember him as “Ed with the hat.” Pitching to the audience using a relatable example such as, “building an Airbnb for international students,” made it much easier for the audience to grasp the big idea.
What kept me in the minds of the audience was I was willing to socialize with all the participants exchanging our thoughts and ideas of how we can take our Airbnb for homestay concept and turn it into a working startup.
What should team leaders focus on to ensure they maximize time at Startup Weekend?
Have a clear mental picture of what you want to build and capitalize all the available resources provided by the organizers at Startup Weekend.
Teams are always excited to get started and will throw out many ideas, some of which will deviate from the original concept. Guide the team with a firm hand, it will be your responsibility to keep the team focused and stay on track.
The event provides many resources. Mentors are there to advise you and share their experience, lawyers can give legal consultation and help to get your team incorporated, and lastly, networking is a huge perk whether it’s fellow participants or sponsors promoting their services. This goes back to the importance of socializing with participants after pitching.
As a founder, you need to understand the experience and background of different individuals and their attitude, amount of passion, and perception of the idea. Getting to know people in the event may prove to be the key to your startup’s success in the future.
Winning Startup Weekend is a significant step towards taking an idea and making it into a real business. How should teams continue after the competition in order to turn their ideas into a successful start up?
Again, I want to emphasize on team cohesion and focus. They are critical factors in keeping the momentum built during Startup Weekend going. One thing I learned at Institute B’s ChangeMaker Curriculum Course after winning Startup Weekend Vancouver in 2013 was to run a lean team. In the beginning we had a staff of 11 people which made it difficult for us to coordinate nimbly around challenges. We had to let some team members go which was an incredibly difficult experience since they were not employees but partners who shared the entire Startup Weekend experience with me, although it had to be done.
We trimmed the team down to 6 people and then eventually 4. It will be your responsibility to keep the team focused on building upon the foundations which were laid during the competition and not deviate to another idea or become non participants due to personal issues. In short run it like a lean business.
Over the last couple of months, by far, the most frequently asked question has been when tickets for Startup Weekend Vancouver were going to be available.
Well, as off 9am this morning, we’re happy to say…
Early Bird tickets are open!!!
Get your ticket now!
Be quick though! We’re only releasing 30 (10 of each skill type) of the total 125 tickets as early birds at the special price of $85. Once they’re gone, they’re gone. We will have a waitlist available for people who miss the early bird special to sign-up for the next round of tickets that we release.
Selecting Your Ticket Type
While everyone wants to get a ticket, please make sure you only select the ticket type for the skill you will be providing during the weekend. For example, if you are a programmer and all the programmer tickets are gone, do not go buying a designer or non-tech ticket.
We will be reviewing all tickets purchased to try and ensure there is an equal representation of all skill types at the event. We want to include everyone but do have to make sure we have an equal number of each skill type for best results of the teams.
We’ll do our best but if you have any questions, let us know! We’re here to make sure everyone has an awesome time and gets the most out of the entrepreneurial workout that is Startup Weekend!
We told you that Squamish is a beautiful and inspiring place. But don’t take our word for it!
We spoke to over 30 local entrepreneurs who have chosen to make Squamish their office. We wanted to know what inspires them, how they work, where they work. Their responses were varied and rich, and we once again discovered how exceptional Squamish is as an entrepreneurial community.
We uncovered great new ideas for unique places to pull up the laptop in town. We discovered tips and tricks to surviving as a startup. We celebrated the successes of our local peers, but most of all were reminded of why we live where we do, and how exciting it is to be living in Squamish at this time, as the town’s entrepreneurs are rapidly on the rise.
We hope you enjoy the insights and contributions of these amazing men and women who are helping to shape and strengthen our entrepreneurial community. Join in the conversation and post your own #squamishismyoffice story!