In celebration of Global Entrepreneurship Week, we sat down with Vibe Founding40 member and Poulsbo business owner Raquel Pappas to talk community, leaps of faith and the undeniable impact of the environments we're surrounded by. As if that alone were not enough, we're even more stoked to be talking with Raquel ahead of this Friday's special Global Entrepreneurship Week event, Vinyasa for Visionaries (all welcome!).
Born and raised in Chicago, with stints living in LA and NYC, Raquel moved to the Pacific Northwest in July 2016 when her boyfriend was stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma. Her 9-5 job with a major payroll and HR solutions company keeps her plenty busy, but—like any good student of Business Entrepreneurship (Raquel's degree is from Loyola Marymount)—working for "the man" just wasn't enough. Entrepreneurship is in her blood. Fast forward to one unexpected encounter with a sign at a closed yoga studio in Poulsbo and the rest, well, is history.
Vibe: You’ve just celebrated your one year anniversary since taking ownership of Kitsap Hot Yoga. That’s an exciting accomplishment. What are some of the things you’ve achieved that you’re most proud of?
RP: Thank you—I am really excited about it! What I am most proud of is the community that has developed here at Kitsap Hot Yoga (KHY). I've cultivated amazing relationships with both local instructors and the yogis in this special place, and seen others build strong connections from coming to classes. Hearing from yoga students that this studio and their practice here has helped them both physically and (even more so) mentally makes me super happy, and proud. I never knew all the amazing things that would come from the start of my personal practice, and I'm proud to be able to spread that to others and foster a yoga community in Kitsap.
Vibe: Tell us about the KHY community and the people who come to KHY to practice. What makes them stand out from the crowd?
RP: The KHY community is so special. People don't just come to get their physical practice in and then get right out. They bring their friends, their family, or build relationships with others in class that they never knew before coming here. So many of the students have amazing passions that they offer to the studio from the kindness of their heart, like photography, flower farming, etc. It's such a dynamic group of people and I genuinely feel that all feel welcome, which was my goal. We have everyone from the young college student, to the mid 20s young professional, to the Navy husband and wife, all the way to grown adults who come from all walks of life with the common value of cultivating health of body and mind... and everything in between!
Vibe: KHY has made a name for itself by _____________________. How and why?
RP: By not being afraid to crank up the heat, and by having an eclectic group of instructors resulting in classes to suit everyone. We have power yoga classes and even hot classes that incorporate weights for those looking to get a hard core workout and sweat in. We have non-heated classes, beginner classes, restorative classes—I love listening to what the community wants and making yoga accessible to everyone who has an interest in trying it out.
Vibe: What inspired you to own a yoga studio?
RP: Ever since I started yoga in high school, it's been a very personal practice and a consistent passion in my life. I went to college in LA, which was yoga studio galore, with some of the best instructors. It was there that I got even more into yoga. I'd entertained the idea of opening a studio someday in my business classes, but it was always just a thought. After college I followed my dream to go to India and practice yoga there for one month. Right after I returned back to Chicago, a friend was opening a fitness studio and I helped her with the yoga program, which required me to get my actual teacher training. Up until then I just practiced for my own sake, but suddenly I fell into teaching and absolutely loved it. When I moved to WA two years later, I came across Kitsap Hot Yoga which had a sign on the door that it was for sale. Even though I knew very little about the community, I just got this excited feeling that this was the time to make some of my abstract dreams a reality!
Vibe: What are the biggest challenges that you face as an entrepreneur and as a business owner?
RP: I have a full-time job working for another company outside of my small business, so a big challenge I face is having time to make all my ideas into a reality, and having the time and bandwidth to really focus on growing the business. With that being said, I think I thrive on having that mixture of running a business and working for another company—at least for now.
Vibe: As a human, as an entrepreneur and as a business leader, how does the environment that you’re working in impact you and the work that you do?
RP: I thrive in dynamic environments that allow for creativity and are not rigid. I've always been attracted to companies of a creative nature, and also cities/towns where those around me have an open mind. I think that's why I find Kitsap to be a great community to have my studio in. There's not a studio on every corner like there are in major cities, and it [Kitsap] has this really authentic feel where I can really listen to my instincts and feel the freedom to express. I find when I am in a more peaceful, somewhat laid back environment I thrive and have more creativity than I do when I'm in an environment that feels like a rat race.
Vibe: You're a Founding40 member here at Vibe Coworks. Why did you decide to join? How do you think Vibe will change the world of work for local creatives, entrepreneurs and remote workers in Poulsbo and beyond?
RP: When I heard about the concept, I was instantly inspired and needed to learn more. It goes back to your question about how environment influences my work. I thrive in an environment like Vibe where people are passionate, entrepreneurial and encouraged to share ideas. The nature of being an entrepreneur or remote worker can be very, very isolating which in turn can be uninspiring and discouraging at times. Having a unique place like Vibe Coworks creates a community for these type of people to come and continue their passion in a really positive, forward thinking environment. I think people will meet here who were just meant to meet and share amazing ideas and make cool things happen!!
Vibe: In your opinion, what is the future of work?
RP: I think our generation is already a lot more open to alternative work environments and methods of work, rather than the standard 9-5 in an office concept. We'll see a lot more people working from home. What excites me the most is having the ability to take all of your random passions and put them together. That's why coworking is going to be such an important, successful model because even though we are very independent, entepreneurial-focused, we all crave and thrive from authentic connection with others, and physically being around other people rather than solely communicating via technology.
Vibe: What are you passionate about, beyond work?
RP: Obviously yoga is a true passion of mine and more times than not it doesn't feel like "work" at all. Travel is probably one of my other biggest passions. My parents took [my siblings and me] around the world from a young age, and this curiosity has never left me. I love traveling and truly experiencing new cultures, learning new languages, and of course exploring local foods... food is considered a passion, right?! Finally, the outdoors/nature is another passion... hiking, surfing, snowboarding, and so on, which is why I love it up in the PNW!
Vibe: Speaking of love for the PNW, what’s your favorite thing about Kitsap?
RP: I've lived most of my life in big cities... Chicago, LA, NYC briefly... so at first I was taken aback by the more quiet, quaint pace of life but I've come to really enjoy it. I love that we have such easy access to Seattle which is an amazing city, then to the mountains, the ocean... on top of having really genuine and adventurous people, it's a great combo!!
Vibe: Do you have any superstitious beliefs or rules that you live by?
RP: Hmm... I don't think I'm a very superstitious person but I'll have to think about that! Rules I've come to live by are just allowing yourself to be open to new experiences. I guess I do believe in fate a bit or at least things happening for a reason, like me stumbling upon the sign at the closed yoga studio in Poulsbo and following my instinct to pursue it. You never know where one decision can lead you and it keeps life exciting!
Vibe: Anything else you’d like to share / get off your chest?
RP: I'd love to just thank the community for being so supportive! If you're curious about yoga at all and haven't tried—you may be surprised what you'll find from it! I look forward to getting to know the amazing individuals in the Vibe community a lot more!
Vinyasa for Visionaries:
A Vibe x Kitsap Hot Yoga Event
Come get your flow on with the Vibe Coworks community as we take time out from the daily grind to quiet our minds, relinquish control and try our hand at yoga together in celebration of Global Entrepreneurship Week. Raquel will be leading us through this special low/no-heat session. Whether you're a practicing regular, or a complete yoga newbie, this escape is for you!
Friday, Nov 17 // 3:30 - 4:30PM
Kitsap Hot Yoga
20714 State Hwy 305, Suite 3C
Special $10 rate at the door