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Time out with Kitsap entrepreneur Raquel Pappas

Time out with Kitsap entrepreneur Raquel Pappas

For Chicago native, Raquel Pappas, taking ownership of  Kitsap Hot Yoga  in 2016 not only marked the start of her own entrepreneurial venture—it also marked the growth of one of the region's most community-centered yoga studios. 

For Chicago native, Raquel Pappas, taking ownership of Kitsap Hot Yoga in 2016 not only marked the start of her own entrepreneurial venture—it also marked the growth of one of the region's most community-centered yoga studios. 

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.

The Kitsap Hot Yoga community is so special. Hearing from yoga students that this studio and their practice here has helped them both physically and mentally makes my feel super happy and proud.

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!

The nature of being an entrepreneur or remote worker can be very, very isolating which in turn can be uninspiring and discouraging at times. I thrive in an environment like Vibe where people are passionate, entrepreneurial and encouraged to share ideas.

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. 

Visitors to Kitsap Hot Yoga are welcomed by a hand-painted lotus pose symbol that transcends time and religion. The pose is said to have the power to settle your nerves, awaken your energy and quiet your mind.  

Visitors to Kitsap Hot Yoga are welcomed by a hand-painted lotus pose symbol that transcends time and religion. The pose is said to have the power to settle your nerves, awaken your energy and quiet your mind.  

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

RSVP: info@vibecoworks.com
Special $10 rate at the door

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Time out with Kitsap entrepreneur, Lindsey Carnett

Time out with Kitsap entrepreneur, Lindsey Carnett

In celebration of Global Entrepreneurship Week, we sat down with North Kitsap High School grad-turned powerhouse entrepreneur, Lindsey Carnett to talk big vision, real challenges and the power of giving back through business. Formerly a star NKHS soccer player, Lindsey left Poulsbo in 2001 to study Spanish and Communications at California Lutheran University, where she became Captain of the women's soccer team. Fifteen years later, Marketing Maven, the company she founded in 2009, has been named to the list of 'Best Entrepreneurial Companies in America' by Entrepreneur Magazine, and named one of the fastest growing PR firms in America by O'Dwyer's PR. With roots in Kitsap, Marketing Maven has grown to be a multi-million dollar bi-coastal operation, with a staff of 20 and offices in Los Angeles and New York. Just the kind of story we love.

NKHS grad, Lindsey Carnett, is the Founder and CEO of  Marketing Maven , recently named one of the 'Best Entrepreneurial Companies in America'.

NKHS grad, Lindsey Carnett, is the Founder and CEO of Marketing Maven, recently named one of the 'Best Entrepreneurial Companies in America'.

Vibe: What inspired you to get into marketing and public relations?
LC: It was in high school, when the North Kitsap Herald and the Kitsap Sun covered my fundraising efforts surrounding a trip to China to pay soccer. The donations rolled in, and I discovered the power of publicity. In college while working three jobs, I earned a Wall Street Journal article above the fold on a Monday morning for a tech client of mine. I'd done it from my phone, while en route to a soccer game. I knew I was skilled, and this career would allow me to travel and give voice to those who wouldn't have one otherwise.

Vibe: Marketing Maven is celebrating its 7th year in business. That's an exciting accomplishment. What are some of the things you've achieved that you're most proud of?
LC: I am most proud of my staff. We have grown together in the growth of our skill sets. It has come with a strong investment in leadership training, tactical skill development in analytics reporting, and embracing and licensing cutting-edge technology. I am also thrilled when Marketing Maven is the game-changer for our clients. Maybe they are trying to get a product into retail and need to show consumer awareness, maybe it's a non-profit where we support them in raising the final dollars necessary to serve people in need. Or maybe its the exposure that will convince the investment community to take a tech start-up seriously enough to invest. That's what excites me the most!

The clients we serve are entrepreneurial, and many of them share our same core values of being ‘trailblazers who get shit done’. We give a voice to the underdog, and we measure everything we do via analytics.

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?
LC: I am a big advocate for working in an environment that makes you thrive. The right environment can inspire creativity, improve focus or cultivate collaboration. I see the environment impact my staff in the same way.

Vibe: Tell us about the clients you take on. What makes them stand out from the crowd? 
LC: The clients we serve are entrepreneurial, and many of them share our same core values of being 'trailblazers who get shit done'. That helps us see eye to eye. We give a voice to the underdog, and we measure everything we do via analytics.

Vibe: Marketing Maven has made a name for itself by giving back to the community. Tell us about some of the causes that you support and why you've made giving back a priority.
LC: We've supported an organization called Casa Pacifica for the last four years. It is an organization that helps behaviorally challenged youth in our area. We also support the Boys & Girls ClubBig Brothers Big Sisters, the Alzheimer's Foundation and It Starts with a Girl, an all-girls school in India. Clients where we have donated additional pro-bono hours include nonprofits, WaterAidUp2Us Sports and Back on My Feet.

At Marketing Maven, having fun at work is built into the company culture. CEO Lindsey Carnett (bottom right) and her team keep things real by taking time together to celebrate their wins.

At Marketing Maven, having fun at work is built into the company culture. CEO Lindsey Carnett (bottom right) and her team keep things real by taking time together to celebrate their wins.

Vibe: Talk to us about how you keep your team excited and inspired. What makes Marketing Maven a great place to work?
LC: We celebrate client campaign wins as they happen and more formally on a monthly basis, awarding the team member with the most significant media placements earned for clients that month. We also have a quarterly team-building event. Some of the activities we've done together include painting night, kayaking, bicycling, BBQs at the beach, comedy shows, a holiday harbor cruise and climbing to the top of the sand dunes to watch whales in Malibu.

Vibe: Marketing Maven Public Relations is headquartered in Greater Los Angeles with offices in New York. What's your take on remote working, and juggling teams and partners that are located around the globe?
LC: Since 30% of our business is international, I love having a team that covers so many time zones. We have identified very good communications practices to help us talk regularly as a team. It requires more effort to schedule, but the constant communication really makes the distance work to our advantage.

Vibe: How do you think Vibe Coworks will change the world of work for local creatives, entrepreneurs and remote workers in Kitsap and beyond?
LC: I think Vibe Coworks is a brilliant idea for Kitsap County, and will open up more opportunities for people without having to commute. Vibe will improve efficiencies, and give employers more confidence in allowing their staff to telecommute from a more professional office environment. I think it will also help more revenue stay in Poulsbo by giving local businesses more customers throughout the day. And I think Kitsap residents will experience less burnout from commuting. It might even afford people from Kitsap higher incomes, if they are able to work for bigger, better companies that they wouldn't have considered applying for before, due to the long commute. 

A company culture or work environment is anything you make it. Vibe Coworks is a clean slate, and it’s up to the people there to shape the overall feel of the space. It isn’t just a building that makes the community—it’s the people.

Vibe: What are the biggest challenges that you face as an entrepreneur, and as a CEO?
LC: As an entrepreneur, the challenges is always having your hands in too much: being the janitor, the sales rep, the customer service rep, accounting and everything in between. Over the last 7 years, I've had formal training on how to work on by business, not in my business and that has helped me get the right people in place. Right now I am focused on strategic growth over the next 5 years. What market sectors to capture additional market share, what services to expand, what new services to offer, what technology to license.

Vibe: What are you passionate about, beyond work?
LC: I love mentorship. One of the most rewarding experiences I had was working with aspiring medical professionals at Children's Hospital Los Angeles, helping them to improve their communications skills. It is rewarding to me to see what people I trained are doing now, where they've been and to hear how the advice I gave them has helped them succeed in their careers or life journeys. I have also lectured to Entrepreneurship majors at California Polytechnic University and was thrilled to hear their questions and see how they benefitted from the information I shared.   

Vibe: What's the best piece of advice that you've been given and repeat to others?
LC: If you like what you do and are good at it, you won't work a day in your life and the money will come. 

Vibe: What's your favorite thing about the Pacific Northwest?
LC: The strong sense of community, and the way that people are authentic and genuinely care about one another. 

Vibe: In your opinion, what is the future of work?
LC: It will be a more regulated work environment due to HR laws about when you can and can't contact your employees. Each business will need to be very clear about their communication mandates, working overtime, and what that means in terms of electronic communications and response times.

Vibe: Anything else you'd like to share?
LC: I think it's very important to remember that a company culture or work environment is anything you make it. Vibe Coworks is a clean slate, and it is up to the people there to shape the overall feel of the space. It isn't just a building that makes the community--it's the people!

Meet the creative mind behind Vibe's sweet new branding

Nick Johnson is a Poulsbo-based branding and marketing expert, award-winning designer, 'idea guy' and owner of  Cima Creative . 

Nick Johnson is a Poulsbo-based branding and marketing expert, award-winning designer, 'idea guy' and owner of Cima Creative

Vibe: How would you describe your approach to design?
NJ: In a word: Immersive. I like to really get to know my clients. I like to know what makes them tick. How they perceive their company, and what they are trying to achieve. I think that you have to know all of this in order to create a visual identity that not only looks 'kick ass', but accurately represents the company and correctly positions it within its industry.

Vibe: As a human, as a designer and as an entrepreneur, how does the environment that you're working in impact you and the work that you do?
NJ: A ton! When I was at a leading firm in Seattle, we had an extremely collaborative environment that was fantastic for bouncing ideas off one another. When I went out on my own and got a private office, I realized how important that aspect is to the creative process. Not having it makes my job much harder than it needs to be.

I’ve always thought of moving to a coworking space for my business. This seemed like a great way to learn more about it.

Vibe: When Vibe Cofounder, Alanna Imbach, first approached you about designing a 'kick ass' logo for Vibe Coworks, what was your reaction?
NJ: I liked that fact that she swore in her email. It made her stand out. I mostly work with larger companies, and they tend to be a bit more... reserved. It's fun to work with a client that you can act a bit more casual with.

Vibe: You're a busy guy, and are very selective about the clients you take on. Why did you decide that Vibe was a project that you wanted to sink your teeth into?
NJ: A few reasons. My favorite projects are when I get to develop the foundation branding and visual language for a company, which fit this project perfectly. I also immediately felt that Alanna and I would work well together, and that I understood what Vibe was all about. Lastly, I've always thought of moving to a coworking space for my business and this seemed like a great way to learn more about it.

Vibe: Talk to us about Vibe's cool new logo and branding. What was your inspiration? What's the story? 

NJ: After our kick off meeting I felt that I had a really good sense of the tone and personality of Vibe. Modern, Fresh, Approachable, Professional...

The first thing I did was to research the term 'Vibration'. I especially liked what I found when looking at mathematical equations and the relationships between displacement, amplitude and time. I next looked into sound waves and ways to visually represent them. Lastly, I played around with creating a logo mark that could also serve as an abstract letter 'V' that would work well in social media and other smaller applications where you can't fit the entire company name.

I think the final logo is a great combination of these three elements, and is right in line with the tone and personality I was trying to hit. I'm also really proud of how the logomark lends itself to some really interesting visual motifs with the organic lines and repeating patterns. I'm excited to see what Vibe does with it.

Vibe: How do you think Vibe will change the world of work for local creatives, entrepreneurs and remote workers in Poulsbo and beyond?
NJ: Finding the right working location. I know this sounds like a plug for Vibe, but it's true. I am lucky enough not to really worry about getting clients because they seem to come my way. My main issue is that I am a one-person shop with no desire to grow bigger, but I still need an office, and there are very few options that fall within my budget and still have the 'feel' I want. Also, I get really tired working by myself, which is probably why I am at coffee shops all the time.

Vibe: What are you passionate about, beyond work?
NJ: My family. I love spending time with my girls (wife and two daughters). Beyond that I daydream about classic cars and motorcycles more than I probably should.

Vibe: What's the best piece of advice that you have heard and repeat to others? 
NJ: Over deliver. I never want a client / friend / family member to feel like I didn't do everything I could to help them.

Vibe: What's your favorite thing about Poulsbo?
NJ: The community. I love that when I walk down the street I know people and that I feel like I am part of the city.

Vibe: In your opinion, what is the future of work?
NJ: I think it will get more and more virtual, but that people will always want a home base. I can do 90% of my job virtually, but I know that I won't get much done if I work from home. I don't think I'm alone in this.