10 to Watch 2018: GOOD

“Creative workers are resistant to business-like language and models, but we’ve been able to open people up to the idea of professionalizing in a way that feels authentic.”

Photograph by Dean Azim.

As working writers, Jill Margo and Andrew Templeton understand the challenges creative workers face in Canada.

“We believe one of the central problems is the lack of ongoing opportunities for professional training and business-like support for creative workers,” Margo says. “There are plenty of training opportunities available on how to create art but very little on how to create a sustainable living as an artist.”

For years the pair imagined running a space where they could tackle these issues and build community. The model they had in their heads was that of the traditional shopkeeper living above the shop. Within days of arriving in Victoria in 2016 — having moved back to B.C. after five years in Toronto — they found a live/work space on the edge of Chinatown that they transformed into GOOD, their member-based studio that offers workshops, weekend intensives, classes and retreats — some of which are facilitated by the region’s finest authors and creatives. They also offer co-working sessions, one-on-one creative consults and community events.

“Community building is at the core of what we do at GOOD,” Margo says. “There is a lot of romantic stereotyping around the image of the lone artist, but in truth, isolation can be harmful. We may need a lot of solitude to create, but we also need spaces [in which] to gather, to learn and to connect.”

Q&A With Jill Margo and Andrew Templeton of GOOD

What was the best business advice you received? 

Jill: It’s not advice, but we watched a TED Talk before opening GOOD and it talked about the idea of desire paths. We took it to heart. When we opened, we used the idea that we would let people show us what they wanted — we didn’t have to have all the answers.

Andrew: The desire path is sort of the opposite of the formal business plan. You set it within the structure, but you don’t define beyond that. It was our low-risk model that allowed us to have this attitude.

What advice would you give someone starting out?

Andrew: Start something that you want. If you want it, there’s high probability that there are other people like you who want it too.

Jill: I agree but would add that you need to do the pre-work. Not just thinking about your business but how your business fits into your life.

All the 10 to Watch 2018 Winners

Avalon Accounting
Club Kwench
Hyas Infosec
Island Circus Space
Stride Properties
The Cookie Guy

This article is from the April/May 2018 issue of Douglas.