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 BizBeat entry profiling Whistler's interior design, furniture and gift store, 122 West and co-owner Adele Horn, we talk with star employee and manager, Sydney Jackson.
The following interview has been lightly edited for grammar and clarity.
Pique: Tell us about yourself and how you landed in Whistler.
I am actually from Whistler! I have always been a creative person so growing up in a town highly focused on sport and outdoor activities was hard. At 20, I moved to New Zealand to dabble in fine art, digital media and architecture. At 25, I eventually found my way back and am now miraculously working in a creative environment right where I started!
Describe your current job and what you do at the company.
As the store manager of 122 West, I always have something on the go. My role ranges from keeping the store clean and organized to helping customers in the shop to sourcing furnishings and décor for quotes for customers, clients and designers. I also ensure the day-to-day running of the business is smooth and staff and customers feel welcome and accommodated in our store.
What do you like best about the job?
The people and the ability to be creative every day. I love helping customers bring their vision/Pinterest board to life within their own space, whether that be a few simple vases, or a full decorative update of their space.
There are times when I will take a whole bed or couch apart and re-style it for a customer to be able to better visualize the merchandise in their space. Those creative moments are when I realize that I am right where I am supposed to be.
What is your housing situation? How did you find it?
Fortunately, I have my family, who were generous enough to take me back in when I chose to relocate home. I honestly don’t know if I could swing it here without them.
How do you try to strike a healthy work-life balance in Whistler?
Finding a job that allows me the ability to be creative and social every day has been a game-changer for me in terms of balance. Being an artist, for many years I was in a cycle of creating day in, day out by myself and it was a recipe for burnout and loneliness. I had no social life and no balance whatsoever.
Now having a completely different lifestyle, I learned that I am most definitely an ambivert, so if I don’t allow myself time to recharge, I can I feel really overwhelmed. Taking the time to call a friend, go for a walk, ride or even just sitting in the sun, is my way of doing that.
If you were mayor for a day, what single policy would you implement in Whistler to best support local workers?
There are many areas that could be improved, most of which are long-term projects, but I feel that the concern of mental health could be more prominently addressed now.
I would implement a stronger, more advertised local mental-health support program providing local workers a way to cope until those long-term projects (housing, transit) can be achieved. In the past few years there have been a handful of incredible people who have slipped through the cracks, that could have potentially benefited from this service. We will never know if they were aware of the local services, but my hope is that this can be prevented in the future by more advertisement through local businesses and the municipality.
What’s a memorable moment or customer from your time on the job?
We have many people browse through the shop every day, but my most memorable moments are when people have come in really excited to revamp their space and play around with what we have in store. I also love when we receive photos from customers of our furnishings in their home, and how happy they with our suggestions!
Any advice for young people trying to make it in Whistler?
Try to find accomodation, a strong support system and a job that you feel fulfilled by in some way or another. You have moved here for a reason, so try to remind yourself of that, above all the things that aren’t as easy.