The Entrepreneur Series: Vivian McCormick, Co-Founder of Flax Sleep

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This story is sponsored by Vancitypreneur, a community chapter within Vancity HUB that brings together the entrepreneurs of Vancouver to connect and support one another. Vancitypreneur hosts meetups and events, as well as run an online community that features local businesses and shares original content related to entrepreneurship.

A first-generation Chinese Canadian, Vivian McCormick followed the path of a professional career in law.

It wasn’t until she worked at Business Development Bank of Canada when she found her true calling — helping business owners get their projects off the ground. When McCormick made the decision to leave the job, little did she know she would soon be embarking on her own entrepreneurial journey with Flax Sleep, a natural linen bedding company. 

Photo Credit: Flax Sleep

The exploration of her identity has been an important part of McCormick’s transition to a somewhat unconventional career. During the early stages of the business, she recalled having difficulty conveying what she was doing to others, especially her family.

“Anytime you transition into entrepreneurship, your identity is very much tested. Because there is the imposter syndrome piece [and] daily doubt,” she said.

In the first year, McCormick would joke with her co-founders that they just needed to not fail. 

“Identity tests generally and overall, and then layer on that the piece of familial and cultural expectation of what success looks like,” she said.

However, McCormick doesn’t let that influence her. She is defining her own success by making a positive impact on the world through entrepreneurship.

Listen to the full interview below and subscribe to our podcast on most streaming platforms

FROM FRIENDS TO CO-FOUNDERS

Woven into the fabric of the business is the unwavering friendship between the three Flax Sleep co-founders. 

McCormick and Oana Papuc, who also practiced law, have been friends for sixteen years. Six years ago, they met Anna Heyd, who was a manager at a cafe they frequented. 

Facing the challenges of a new business, the trio still puts their friendship first. During their inaugural business trip to Hong Kong, they created “founder vows” to set the tone for their relationship going forward.

“We’ve evolved our more general thoughts on how to communicate how to treat each other. Those are the most important things. If we don’t get that right, it doesn’t matter what we do with our business,” said McCormick.

CAREER TRANSITIONS

McCormick spent a decade in law before entering the entrepreneurial space, and she doesn’t regret it. In fact, it has allowed her to figure out what she didn’t want to do and develop the grit required to navigate the hardships of owning a business. 

“When you decide [you] don’t like [something], your brain starts to open up to other possibilities. You start seeing what gets your heart beating really fast. Then you start following that,” she said.

“The hard work that it took and [the] sacrifices — all of those things have really shaped how I run my business.”

And her heart beats passionately as she takes on a growing venture and the mission to raise up a new generation of entrepreneurs.

Get 10% off at Flax Sleep using the code COLDTEA until October 15, 2019 at flaxsleep.com.

Listen to the full interview below and subscribe to our podcast on most streaming platforms

HEAR MORE FROM VIVIAN MCCORMICK AT THE ENTREPRENEUR SERIES EVENT:

Date: Monday, September 23, 2019

Time: 5:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Location: D6 Lounge (39 Smithe St, Vancouver, BC V6B 0R3 – 6th Floor, THE DOUGLAS)

Tickets: $30 (September 16-22) and $35 (on September 23 and at the door)

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