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Whistler BizBeat: Bronte Simon of The Velvet Underground

Pique’s new series profiling local businesses and their employees who go above and beyond
The Velvet Underground storefront co-manager, Bronte Simon.

Welcome to BizBeat, Pique’s newest web series profiling Whistler businesses and their employees who go above and beyond.

Each week, we will profile another resort employer and one of their staff, who have each agreed to answer the same questionnaire that has been sent to businesses and employees across the community.

After yesterday's first BizBeat entry profiling vintage shop Velvet Underground, we chat with one of the store's star employees and pre-loved fashion guru, Bronte Simon. 

The following interview has been lightly edited for grammar and clarity.

Pique: Tell us about yourself and how you landed in Whistler.

Bronte Simon: I first came to Whistler during my summer break from uni in Ontario. I had lots of friends who had already made the move. I loved it right away and was already looking for jobs and housing by my third day of visiting. I moved here officially right after I graduated.

Describe your current job and what you do at the company.

I co-manage the Velvet Underground storefront, our inventory processing, and our in-store sewing projects, such as upcycling and repairs. I also run my own clothing brand, Chë. I create handmade clothing from recycled materials! Find it on Instagram @che.shoppe

What do you like best about the job?

I love that Velvet is mission-driven. It motivates me so much knowing that we are filling our racks with items that are diverted from landfill, that we stock the shelves with primarily locally made clothing from small businesses that share our values, and that we try our best to cultivate a welcoming and inviting atmosphere for people to explore their personal style in a sustainable way. 

What is your housing situation? How did you find it?

I live in a flat in Blueberry. It’s a great spot that I was lucky enough to know the leaseholder at. 

How do you try to strike a healthy work-life balance in Whistler?

Striking a balance for me is just about making sure I’m keeping up with myself, my self-care routines, my friends and my energy levels. I don’t mind working hard but it’s always good to check in on yourself to make sure you’re taking care! 

If you were mayor for a day, what single policy would you implement in Whistler to best support local workers?

Off the top of my head, I’d probably either provide a cheaper public transit option for locals so they can get around at a more affordable rate. Or maybe, provide more locals-only parking at a reasonable rate. Having to pay for parking literally everywhere is kinda ridiculous. 

What’s a memorable moment or customer from your time on the job?

I always remember the people that ask about how we source our items. It opens up such a great space to talk about our mission and how much time we spend on curating our place. It’s lovely chatting with people who appreciate that we are trying to provide an alternative to buying new and it’s great to educate people about the huge amount of waste involved in the clothing industry! 

Any advice for young people trying to make it in Whistler?

I’d just tell people to find a job that makes them happy and try not to get burned out! There’s always a lot going on here and it’s easy to get swept away by all the activities. Just make sure you don’t lose yourself in the hustle and bustle! 

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Got a business or employee you'd like us to profile? Email reporter Brandon Barrett at