Meet the Wood Shop Co-op
In our Co-op series we’re introducing local businesses, to celebrate Co-op Week 2016! The Wood Shop designs and manufactures one-of-a-kind wood furniture and interiors out of upcycled and re-purposed wood from the Lower Mainland of BC. We asked Jessica Valentine to tell us more about the Wood Shop.
What is the Wood Shop Co-op?
95% of the materials we use is wood that is considered “waste” in this city, including construction, demolition and renovation materials, discarded pallets, box spring frames and Arboriculture. We source our materials locally and with sustainability in mind! Environmental devastation, growing inequality and social dislocation are serious problems not only here in Vancouver but globally, sometimes in far more dire ways than what we witness in this city. At Wood Shop, we try not to gloss over these realities, but meet them head on in as many ways as possible. This is why we incorporated as a Worker’s Cooperative. This is why we source and use recycled/upcycled materials. This is why we reach out into the community to support and engage in local initiatives and projects.
Our small worker co-op is not the solution to all the world’s problems. Rather, we try to be a small but important cog in an engine for social change, organizing differently and partnering with like-minded organizations and people, within and without Vancouver. We see an opportunity to be a choice for people who are looking for alternatives to wasteful consumption.
Who is involved in Wood Shop?
JV: The Wood Shop was founded by Chris Nichols and has 2 additional members Jessica Valentine and Maxim Piche. We have many friends of the Wood Shop as well who are not members of our co-op but who volunteer at special events, share our space for their own projects, and who work with us on bigger projects when we need the extra helping hands.
Can anyone become a member, how can you get involved?
As a worker’s co-operative our primary mandate and objective – above and beyond making reclaimed wood furniture and interiors – is to provide meaningful, sustainable and empowering employment to our members. We open up membership opportunities when we are able to full fill our mandate and co-op objectives. So to answer the question simply, membership opportunities arise when we grow as a company! That being said we have many Friends of the Wood Shop. Those friends, volunteer at our Work Shops, are hired on to work on special projects/jobs, help out at Events like the East Side Flea markets/Culture Crawl and much more. If you’re interested in chatting with us about volunteering, working with us send an email our way to firstname.lastname@example.org
You’re part of the Eastside Culture Crawl, what is your favourite thing about the Crawl and which studio is your not-to-miss?
We love the Buzz we get when getting ready for the crawl. The process really pushes you to explore your process, your ideas, your creative goals and of course, it’s a great opportunity to get out the Shop Vac and suck up a little more saw dust out of the corners than usual. Not to miss studios…that’s easy: we Love our neighbours at the Arts Factory Studio at 281 Industrial Ave!
Your most valued co-op principle?
Hands down…Democratic Member Control.
Your advice for small local co-ops just starting out…
“Just keep going” Reach out to the Co-op and Change Maker community in Vancouver and beyond in good time and challenging times. It’s an ideal time to create a co-operative, change is coming to the traditional model in which we work, consume and participate in the world and co-ops have a big role to play at having a substantive impact.
Meet the team at this year’s Eastside Culture Crawl or check their Shop Class Sessions and create your own wood furniture or home decor item! As a special offer during Co-op Week, Modo members get a $10 discount and a free crate if you purchase 2 or more crates at the Shop.