Over the years, I’ve had the privilege working with some incredible, forward-thinking individuals who took the leap into entrepreneurship. Their stories and products inspire me and remind me why I took my own leap and started Linden Legal Strategies. Twice a month, the Linden Blog will be highlighting some of my favorites in and around the City. Some are clients, some are friends, some are businesses I’ve worked with and a some are businesses I want to learn more about; all of them are passionate about what they do. As you read their stories, I hope you’re inspired too.
Today, I’m excited to introduce you to one of my amazing clients, Stevie Toepke. Stevie is the founder of Flourish, a local workplace strategy firm that is combining gorgeous design, behavioral theory and her love of Richmond to create amazing spaces for businesses to thrive. Enjoy!
Flourish is a workspace strategy firm. We help organizations think about the kind of culture and performance they want and then we create a physical environment designed to trigger the behaviors that will drive that culture and results. Wherever we can, we use local makers, artists and merchants to bring together a space that is as unique and beautiful as it is functional.
How long has Flourish been open?
I’ve dabbled with side engagements for a couple of years and finally went all-in in September of 2016.
What’s your favorite part about being a small business owner?
These days, everyone proudly proclaims to be a nerd and since I can’t find a more original way to say it, I’ll use that badge. The fact is, I love to learn new things. I went into this business because I believed I was very knowledgeable about one thing. It turns out, you have to be knowledgeable about a lot of things when you are running a small business, so my nerdy itch to learn is more than being scratched currently!
What is your biggest challenge right now? How do you hope to overcome it?
I think the biggest challenge is being disciplined about my focus. Most days, I am equal parts excited about what I’m building and terrified that it might fail. On the days when fear is the demon shouting in my ear, it is easy to feel like I have to do everything – say yes to every request, get to every item on the to do list, and work late into the night. Activity is the way I guard against failure (and by the way, it doesn’t work). But on the days I approach my work from a place of possibility instead of fear, I can prioritize and focus on the not urgent but oh-so important activity that will actually propel my business. It’s a daily struggle!
What are three random facts about you?
1) I am a seven-time marathon runner (New York was my favorite) 2) At any given time I have approximately 5 books and 8 New Yorkers stacked on my nightstand. I’ll get to them all eventually. 3) My super secret power is my ability to fall asleep almost on cue – anytime, anywhere. And yes, sometimes embarrassingly so.
Aside from Flourish, what are you most passionate about?
I help coach a 10k training team and teach a class about dealing with change to the men at The Healing Place, a program of CARITAS which provides recovery for homeless men struggling with substance abuse.
What’s your favorite thing about RVA?
I am in love with the trajectory of our city. I feel like there is something new and exciting being built, launched or opened every week. I think the momentum has shifted the collective conversation from the challenges faced by Richmond to opportunities + possibilities for Richmond.
Where is your favorite place to have coffee or meet a client?
Whisk in Shockoe Bottom (21st + Main) is always my first choice. For starters, the building exterior is graced by an Ed Trask mural of the fabulous Nina Simone. And the interior is bright, comfortable and feminine – without being girly or precious. It has just the right amount of energy while being cozy enough for a quiet conversation. Oh, and their croissants are to die for.
What is one office supply or business tool you can’t live without?
Fringe Notebooks. Call me old fashioned but I like to take notes. Written notes (with a mechanical pencil).
Favorite Richmond neighborhood?
Church Hill is my favorite neighborhood which is a very biased answer, since I am a resident of the Hill. I love that I can walk to 3 huge parks (two of which have the most spectacular views in the city), that I can hop on the capital trail for a run, and (most importantly) walk to 3 bakeries, 2 coffee shops, the market, or 10 really, really good restaurants within an 8-block radius.
What else would you like to share about yourself, your business or life in general?
It’s an exciting time to be participating in the life of Richmond’s business community. There are so many exciting businesses starting and growing and my hope is that we can provide the kind of support that helps their people, their teams and ultimately their organizations
This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice nor does it create an attorney-client relationship. Always consult appropriate legal counsel for specific questions related to your business. Some states may consider this attorney advertising.
Linden Legal Strategies PLLC is a Richmond, Virginia-based law firm focusing on small business law and development. To learn more about how Linden Legal Strategies can help you start, grow and protect your business, or to schedule an initial consultation, contact Stinson.