Lauren Duke, Founder of Be + Well and Gather Encinitas
I am an educator, FOREVER student, writer, mind enthusiast, athlete, wife, friend, traveler and entrepreneur.
I believe in the power of “together.” Our business models at Gather and Be + Well are communal and cooperative. My first motivation for this project was “Is this needed?” and “Will this work if we do it together?”
I believe in hard work. I was raised by a single mother and rarely had things handed to me. In this respect, I was set up for success because I’m not afraid to get messy and face a challenge. Some people say I’m a “tough love” kinda girl (including my husband) because of this.
I don’t believe things come easy. I know how many pieces of the puzzle need to come together to manifest a sweet existence. Life is difficult. I have worked across a hundred industries. Broke my back. Got let down. Got up—kept going—cause that’s what we do as women and as humans. But one thing I know for sure—my work and relationship life drastically shifted when I finally realized I cannot do any of this alone. Together is the only way.
Success happens because we have the capacity to get creative and resourceful. When we have the humility and willingness to ask for help. When we turn towards each other, not just the dollar bills. I believe business is personal, and the relationships we have with co-workers and customers matter as much as our family and friends do. Relationships should be our top priority. Ideas and products are not sustainable without relationships and community. Take care of what matters the most first. The money will follow.
We need to feel connected to our work, and rethink and restructure the personal and collective work paradigm. We can love our lives and our work. It’s better to love both than separate those domains of self. That ends in illness.
Perhaps the first few questions we should ask ourselves about our work are, “Is this authentic? Can I tolerate how it makes me feel? Do I find inspiration in this? Do I love this? Do I want to share this with my community?”
And my answer to all of those questions about Be + Well and Gather Encinitas is “F@#! YES!” So, here we are. Let’s have tea (or wine).
Be + Well
After searching for places in the Encinitas area to work on a book project, I couldn’t find anything that inspired me. My productivity is directly proportional to how inspired I feel by what I’m working on and my environment. If I’m not inspired by the space, I may end up just sitting pondering other things that have nothing to do with what I am working on.
So when the space next door to Gather opened up, we jumped on it to create a clubhouse + workhouse. A comfortable indoor + outdoor space with great style for women to get shit done. We created a platform for women to connect, communicate, collaborate and create together. A space where women could thrive. Inspired by the places we have enjoyed on our travels from Lisbon to San Fransisco, Austin to LA, Ojai and Santa Barbara... and also what Encinitas was lacking.
Here we are, a sanctuary in our sweet little town, so women can continue to support their lives in a way that nurtures them and their families. Pretty simple stuff. We are just trying to live, make things work, and be well.