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.