IN PARTNERSHIP WITH
STORY + VIDEO EDITING BY RACHEL SCHWARTZMANN – DISCOVER THE ELK – PHOTOS + FOOTAGE BY BRIDGET BADORE FOR THE STYLE LINE
Claire Chan of THE ELK
has learned a lot over the years, and when it comes to business, she contends that there’s still a lot more ahead. While the path to success may not always be set in stone, fortunately, there are tools like Squarespace that help alleviate some of the stress that comes with building a digital-first business. As the go-to website-building platform, Squarespace empowers creators of all kinds to seamlessly build a beautiful website on their own terms. The all-in-one platform is accessible in the sense that it provides a user-friendly experience, a dynamic variety of templates, and marketing tools to understand and engage with your audience – all while empowering its growing global community of users. With that said, today we’re thrilled to announce our partnership with Squarespace which will feature women in our community who are making their businesses in style. Enter our follow-up interview with Claire.
You may remember our initial story with Claire following THE ELK’s anticipated opening in the West Village in 2015. Claire invited us in with open arms, and since then, we’ve had the privilege of collaborating with Claire and her team on other stories and initiatives (read: our second birthday party!). Naturally, a lot has changed for us both so we were thrilled to have the opportunity to catch up with Claire while in her element and get a peek inside her gorgeous home where she indulged in a few pre-work rituals.
During our visit, we also chatted about the importance of personal style in the workplace, creativity as a form of problem-solving, and honing in on your business and values. As Claire mentioned, “I believe creativity is ultimately a mechanism of problem-solving, and if we can solve problems on a macro and micro level, then there’s always forward movement. I hope that THE ELK offers a space for other creatives and provides a place of refuge, where creative minds can gather and hone their expertise so that they can then share it with the world.”
Without giving too much away, read on to experience Claire’s day-in-the-life and enjoy exclusive imagery and footage captured by our lead photographer Bridget Badore for The Style Line.
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My name is Claire Chan, I’m the
founder of THE ELK. The line between my personal and professional life is constantly blurring. Perhaps this is the nature of having your own business: It becomes such an integrated part of you! But outside of my true “work-life” my number one priority is spending quality time with my loved ones. They give it meaning. Since my initial feature in 2015, I’ve seen some successes and some failures (and learned a heck of a lot along the way!). Plans are underway to open my second business in early 2018, in a new neighborhood and with a completely different offering. I’m excited (and nervous) to explore some uncharted territory with this new venture.
Having access to tools and resources as a small business owner is key. How has building The Elk on Squarespace enabled you to cultivate awareness and excitement around The Elk’s retail presence and brand story?
THE ELK is my first business venture, and so having a tool like Squarespace to build my website was incredibly empowering. Before my guests have a chance to visit us in person, they can visit our website and see what we’re all about – it’s such a powerful tool. Squarespace made it easy and comprehensive to build a website so that I could focus on the content instead of all the technical stuff.
What is one question you wish people asked you more often?
I wish more people asked me what my sign is! I’m pretty into astrology, and so I love it when I come across others who want to dig into it with me.
“The Elk makes it easy to enjoy the simple things.”
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We use personal style as a lens to tell our stories. With that in mind, we’re curious to know what your personal style is like when it comes to running a business and how it has evolved since you first opened. How do you hope you’re changing the landscape for fellow women-led businesses?
I’m constantly running around, so function and comfort are key (but that doesn’t necessarily mean boring!). I believe personal style speaks volumes, not only to how others perceive you, but how you feel about yourself. So, I think it’s important to feel good in whatever you have on – it gives you the confidence to take on whatever the day brings.
I could never pretend to be changing the landscape for women-led business, but I do recognize that there’s a shifting dynamic with how women present themselves in the professional world, and I’m so inspired by all the unique personal styles that exist out there! I admire the growing number of boss ladies who are unapologetically themselves and doing things their own way.
How do you think creativity contributes to some of the world’s bigger conversations and how do you hope The Elk plays a role in this?
I believe creativity is ultimately a mechanism of problem-solving, and if we can solve problems on a macro and micro level, then there’s always forward movement. I hope that THE ELK offers a space for other creatives and provides a place of refuge, where creative minds can gather and hone their expertise so that they can then share it with the world.
How would you advise the next generation of small business owners to leave an imprint in the world simply by doing what they love?
If you do something you love, you’re being the most authentic version of yourself. Authenticity will help people, businesses, and society thrive. Everybody has something important to say and offer the world, so go out there and express it!