relationships

How sharing is good for your Vancouver business

Written by Christabel Shaler – Saul Good Gift Co. Community Manager

 

The sun was setting over the shoreline of Cortes Island as I built sandcastles with children covered in face paint and blackberry stains. It was 2004 and I was working as a nanny to save up for my next semester at the University of British Columbia. During these long summer days, I was invited to participate in conversations with the family I worked for. They were involved in social ventures and taught me about how business is able to address some of the world’s biggest environmental and social issues.

 

As I approached the completion of my undergraduate degree, I noticed that the pre-existing job market was disintegrating rapidly. I had planned for opportunities that were beginning to wash away in the recession. The competition for opportunities was so fierce that I saw my peers intensely competing for volunteer positions.

 

Despite all the impossible obstacles, I was never able to shake the idealistic ideas of social ventures. I began writing for the Vancouver Observer and learning how to listen to my city. The wreckage of collapsing systems began to give life to conversations about new economies, local economies and sharing economies. Through the process of capturing these stories, I soon realized that the vitality of our local economy depends on interconnection. 

 

Although the concept of sharing may summon warm and fuzzy feelings, it is also practical, logical and good for business. A thriving business is like an organism that needs the right environment and resources to make it thrive. It also requires reduced overhead, so that unnecessary expenses will not crush your dreams alongside your profitability.

 

From my experience working with the Saul Good Gift Co., I have directly experienced the tremendous value of sharing.  

 

modo car

 

In addition to using shared vehicles and shared office space, we also share a social enterprise fulfillment company called Starworks and a unique delivery modality called Zipments (it is like booking a carpool for gift basket delivery in Vancouver) 

 

Sharing improves the quality of our service and connects us with interesting folks in our community. Our work with Zipments has been fun and collaborative. They provide excellent delivery services. We are part of the same local business community and we both care deeply about what we do. It is a refreshingly human experience! 

 

Our shared office at the HiVE is full of great folks doing fascinating work. We can attend events and workshops that connect us with fresh ideas and valuable knowledge. 

the HiVE

According  to Tom Wynn, the HiVE “provides office space for small business, entrepreneurs and sole proprietors who would otherwise be priced out of the downtown market.”

 

Another example of shared work space is the Commissary Connect. This shared industrial kitchen is used by many local artisans featured in our Vancouver gift baskets, such as Batch Sweet Kitchen, the Candid Confectioner and Melliferra Bees. The process of sharing professional kitchen equipment and food storage alleviates the burden of unnecessary overhead expenses. By reducing start-up costs, it makes it easier for local artisans to bring unique delectable products to our food adoring city.

Sharing is positive change woven into everyday life

Our everyday actions and purchasing decisions speak louder than anything. If you want your business to thrive, you need to be able to step back and imagine your personal and professional actions contributing to the economic and cultural vitality of our entire city. You need to be willing to get over yourself and share.