On this episode of Actualize, host Rob interviews Tessa McLoughlin, the creator of Club Kwench, a culture club and co-working space in Victoria, B.C. Tessa shares her perspective on the importance of creating a sense of belonging and good culture in co-working spaces. She explains why she chose to start Kwench in Victoria and the challenging journey as a freshly divorced single mom of two, to launch this new business. Tune in to learn more about Tessa’s incredible journey and the impact she has made in her community.

“It’s spelt K-W-E-N-C-H and it stands for Knowledge, Wellness, Experiences, Novelty, Curious and Connection, Bring Health and Happiness.”

“…hitting that rock bottom that makes you go, oh, this could be so much better.”

00:01:07 Creating a healthy workplace culture.

00:06:39 Building a new life after divorce.

00:13:38 Resilience in the face of adversity.

00:23:37 Believe in yourself, take risks.

00:28:02 Entrepreneurship as art and impact.

00:32:07 Authenticity drives purposeful coworking community.

00:38:29 Creating a sense of belonging.

00:45:33 Building a community-driven co-working space.

Visit clubkwench.com

Follow Tessa on instagram and Club Kwench 

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Episodio 21 - Tessa McLoughlin

[00:00:00] ​

[00:00:00] Rob Pintwala: [00:01:00] Hi, Tessa, thank you so much for joining me today on Actualize.

[00:01:48] Tessa McLoughlin: Yeah. Thank you Rob. Thanks for asking me.

[00:01:51] Rob Pintwala: This is great. I wanted to give any listeners context around what you have created in the city of [00:02:00] Victoria, bc, uh, where I now live as well. And I think it's just incredible, um, what you've created and what you continue to create. So, um, please tell everyone about Quench before we dive in deeper.

[00:02:13] Tessa McLoughlin: I mean, so I call Quench a, um, culture club. and I, that comes from the basis for me that I think that, it's, it's like a co it's a coworking club, I guess. Um, but I call it more of a culture club 'cause I believe that people stick around when there's a cult. There's good culture. lots of. Coworking is really real estate based. and yeah, people need space, but uh, and they'll come and use it, but you really want people to feel like they belong and they're in a space that's theirs. And that's what the difference is with Quench. We're really, we're really about selling culture and. And we are in Victoria, BC mainly because that's where I live.

[00:02:54] Tessa McLoughlin: Um, definitely when I got started, people, well, when I was talking about starting it, a lot of people [00:03:00] were like, oh my God, don't do it here, do it in Vancouver. Um, but I didn't wanna live in Vancouver. So there we go.

[00:03:07] Rob Pintwala: I love that. I know there's, there's so many hints of just your conviction that I want to dive into deeper, but , I, I love that. And it, yeah. I already think you've made Victoria a better place, um, about culture

[00:03:21] Tessa McLoughlin: Oh, thank you.

[00:03:22] Rob Pintwala: when like, I. What did culture mean to you as you were growing up, you know, as an individual and, and, and, you know, when did you sort of start to kind of form 

[00:03:34] Tessa McLoughlin: Yeah, 

[00:03:34] Rob Pintwala: about culture and the importance of what it means in our lives?

[00:03:39] Tessa McLoughlin: I mean. I don't think I formed my opinion of this kind of culture until I started working in, I guess, you know, you start going to work and you realize working, uh, work environments are also cultures. Um, whereas, you know, typically, obviously you could probably tell from my accent that I'm [00:04:00] Australian. Um, you know, I think of cultures. More like, okay, someone's, you know, you've grown up in Australia. I've got the Australian culture. I'm not aboriginal, so I don't have the First Nations culture of Australia. You know, there are cultures from different countries and that's what I originally thought of it.

[00:04:18] Tessa McLoughlin: And then, you know, when you, as I said when you work in spaces that. Probably have a bad culture. That's when you realize, you go, oh, this is toxic. This is not doable. This is not maintainable. And, that's when I, that's why I've developed Quench is 'cause, you know, for me, I needed a space that could provide all these things that facilitated happiness in my life. And, um, and so I wanted to start. The basis of it was, a healthy culture because you've got to be in a healthy culture to, um, thrive.

[00:04:58] Rob Pintwala: Mm-Hmm. [00:05:00] and had you in the past. I, so I understand, you know, you moved to Victoria, you know, uh, may, maybe you can tell a bit more of that story, but maybe before, like had there been points in your life where you noticed that you were in the right culture? Like it, things seemed to click, and then you may have fallen out of that and like, and you were looking for that again when you moved?

[00:05:23] Tessa McLoughlin: You know, I don't, that wasn't what I was searching for. I was searching for a way to keep myself happy . My life had taken a really shitty turn, and I was in a lot of shock. And, um, so I, I can dive into that a bit deeper, but when you talk, I think honestly when you, when I think of workplace cultures, I think of the bad ones I was in and, and they're the ones that actually for. It was maybe like hitting that rock bottom that makes you go, oh, this could [00:06:00] be so much better. You know? Um, so those were the things for me that's like, okay, I wanna, I wanna create a space where people feel seen, where people feel heard, where people can conveniently engage in the things that I believe support a happy life and engage with as much or as little they facilitate. If you, if someone wants to take a fitness class, they can. If someone wants to go to a game night, they can, but they don't have to. Um, and that's, that's where we all have that autonomy on how, how we are, how we receive these things.

[00:06:36] Rob Pintwala: Maybe you can share a little bit more about the, the sort of state you were in and, and why you're in it when you, uh, first, you know, had 

[00:06:46] Tessa McLoughlin: Yeah. 

[00:06:46] Rob Pintwala: figure out what you were gonna do, 

[00:06:47] Tessa McLoughlin: Yeah, so, um, so my background is I'm a musician and, um, and then I also worked in, uh, this sort of mental health work. So frontline work, uh, women's transition houses, [00:07:00] and, uh, youth centers and so forth. Um, but I was always doing music as well. And, um, and so back in 2024, I, you know, I was working, but also I was primarily working as a mom. 'cause I had two little kids that I had just turned three and five and, when suddenly my marriage completely imploded. It was a complete shock to me. And, I really. Was walking and I'm, I'm a really positive person and so there's not much that really knocks me down. I'm very grateful. I'm not someone who suffers from, how do I put this? I'm really grateful. My brain is abs, uh, allowed, able to adapt really quickly and, um, so I am grateful for that. Yeah, at that time I was in such shock. I had two little kids, my parents had come over from Australia to help me. The marriage was done. [00:08:00] I was stuck in, this town called Squamish,

[00:08:04] Tessa McLoughlin: and I was just like, oh, I don't wanna be in Squamish for the rest of my life.

[00:08:07] Tessa McLoughlin: Like, I was here because of my husband. Um, and I was like, what, what do I do? But still a deer in headlights and, and also having to be. Aware that everything I was feeling and um, was being directly put onto my children too. So, um, I was like, okay, we moved with the kids to Victoria. Because I honestly, I needed a place that had more culture, had more music, um, and, and sorry, Squamish has a lot of culture, but it's just not the, the culture that I'm so much in tune with,

[00:08:45] Tessa McLoughlin: with, you know, it's a mountaineering world, it's a skiing world.

[00:08:48] Tessa McLoughlin: It's all very 

[00:08:49] Rob Pintwala: Raincoats, 

[00:08:50] Tessa McLoughlin: of that Redcoats,

[00:08:52] Tessa McLoughlin: Felice, a little bit more of the hedonistic sort of lifestyle there. Um, and I, I wanted more. [00:09:00] Arts and culture, and I wanted to see people doing lots of interesting things. And so anyway, I moved to Victoria with my kids, and um, it was a hard move because I didn't know a lot of people. I didn't have the community that I had in Squamish. And I was like, okay, Tessa, you know what, you gotta turn this around girl. This is, no one else is gonna do this but you. And, um, that you've got to do whatever you can to keep yourself. Happy. And for me, I believed that was like. Keeping myself educated, staying up to date on, like, you know, just staying knowledgeable on what's going on in our society in the world and learning new things and exercising and eating well, and meeting new people and engaging in different activities. And so I started doing all these things. Meanwhile, single, newly single parenting.

[00:09:57] Tessa McLoughlin: These two little, little people that were themselves going [00:10:00] through their pain and. And I was like, holy crap, man, this trying to stay happy is making me kind of depressed because it's so busy. To maintain all this is like making you so busy. And I was just like, why isn't this all under one roof? You know, this could just be so easily under one roof. And right at that time, I was like, oh, I'm gonna build that. And I had no idea how. I was like, I don't know how to do that, but I'm gonna build that 'cause I know I'm not unique and other people must be wanting this too. and then I went on a venture of people telling me that no one else would want it. And why would people pay for that? You know, trying to figure out, I didn't know much about business except I will say that being a performer or an artist, you, you are running your own business. So, um, [00:11:00] I just sort of started like I. Applying all the things I'd learned from being an independent musician to, to, okay, how do I build this?

[00:11:07] Tessa McLoughlin: Who do I need to meet? How do I negotiate real estate? How do I find the money? What the hell is an angel investor? What do they mean? What are, you know, what, what do I want? Debt or equity, like all these things that I had no clue about. yeah. And I just started doing it. And honestly, I think that. I didn't wanna be knocked down. I was, I had been knocked severely down. And I was like, Mm-Hmm, no, you're not gonna control my life. I'm the one who's in control of this. I wanna show my kids what it is to get back up. I wanna, I want them to be proud. I want them to have a good life, really with a mom that's happy and doing things that, uh, make other people happy. 'cause it really, that is what makes us happy, isn't it? Making other people

[00:11:59] Tessa McLoughlin: [00:12:00] happy. Um, so

[00:12:02] Tessa McLoughlin: yeah. 

[00:12:02] Rob Pintwala: Well, I'm wondering where you drew that strength from, at that time it sounded very difficult and like a complete shift in your life. Um, that was about 10, 12 years ago. Is that right?

[00:12:14] Tessa McLoughlin: Yeah, nearly 12 years ago now.

[00:12:16] Tessa McLoughlin: Pretty crazy. 

[00:12:17] Rob Pintwala: Is there, were there, you know, parents or just people that you looked up to that kind of, you know, you could draw some.

[00:12:26] Rob Pintwala: Strength from during that time, or did you just muster it up from within?

[00:12:31] Tessa McLoughlin: You know, I always say my biggest asset is my family. Like, they are incredible. My parents are just like, they're just the most beautiful people. You, you've seen the chessboard that my dad's built in here and, um, you know, the, they're just so helpful and loving and that's one thing that I think I. I think the biggest asset is coming from a loving family. You know, I knew that even though [00:13:00] was far away, I didn't have any family in Canada. That was definitely part of the pain for me was that I couldn't go back to Australia. and yeah, I think, where did I draw the strength from? Look, I mean, I. Like, I'm the one that's in control of my life, so I, I'm the only one who can change the situation and, and I don't wanna gloss over it and make it sound as though it was easy.

[00:13:25] Tessa McLoughlin: It was not. It was very, it was a really traumatic time. There was a lot, you know, when you're negotiating and navigating, uh, divorce as well as co-parenting as well as trying to start a business as well as trying to heal. Like, it's really horrible and I was pretty broken for quite a few years. I would say, you know, it wasn't till year three or four, I started really. Being myself again. But I think it was that I had that purpose and I was like, okay, I'm gonna build something. I'm gonna change my life. I'm [00:14:00] gonna make this better for me and the kids. And, um, I don't know where that came from. I think I. I think, well, I'm dyslexic, which I think is, is a little part of that where, you know, you go to school people, you know, schools, they teach this way to grow this grain of rice, you know, this strand, uh, what do you call it, of, of, they're like, this is how we build kids.

[00:14:24] Tessa McLoughlin: This is how we educate them. And of course, any of us who are neurodiverse, um, we don't fall within that. And so we have to figure out ways to, to learn the things that they're teaching everybody in. And I always do. You know, so we have to come at it from different angles. Um, so I think probably I had that resilience from growing up, uh, dyslexic and just being like, okay, yeah, well, I've gotta figure it out myself, don't I?

[00:14:51] Rob Pintwala: Oh yeah. Thanks for sharing that. I, I, I love hearing more people talk about Yeah. That neurodiversity and. [00:15:00] I think 

[00:15:00] Tessa McLoughlin: Yeah, 

[00:15:01] Rob Pintwala: The dyslexic conversation is getting a little bit louder, which is fantastic to see. And you see so many successful, influential people reference that, um, which is incredible.

[00:15:13] Rob Pintwala: I'm curious about the building of Quench. Um, I know a little bit about this story just from reading and listening, but as far as, uh, you know, obviously it's expensive too. the space that you're in now is 25,000 square feet, if I understand. I guess that's expensive and you built it so beautifully. Um, so, you know, it's not necessarily a bootstrapped venture, um, necessarily.

[00:15:38] Rob Pintwala: So how, you know, how did you, maybe you can share a little bit about them, like influential partners and investors that you've able to gain along the way and maybe even some of them. You know, disappointments that you had to get through and rejection that you had to get through along the way, um, to achieve those, 

[00:15:57] Rob Pintwala: partners that you did, did get on board. Just [00:16:00] a quick interruption to chat about my company. First session, have you had a less than ideal experience looking for a therapist? There are lots of options out there, but it's hard to know where to get started and who to trust. My company's first session focuses entirely on creating the best experience finding a therapist.

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[00:16:37] Tessa McLoughlin: yeah, it was incredibly frustrating. It was a real journey. I mean, I'm not, I'm not Yeah, people know that women, we know through studies that women don't get given money. Typically when we go to the bank, we're asked to have more assets, and then we get a high, a [00:17:00] lower rate, a lower amount of loan, and we're at a higher interest rate compared to men. we know that, uh. With any sort of venture capital money only 2% of that goes towards women. So finding the money, especially as a single mom with no assets, uh, and no job was incredibly difficult for me. Super frustrating and you know, I got to this, you know, when you get in that sort of head space and you can't unsee things. And so I just kept seeing all the inequity and I just kept seeing the double

[00:17:39] Tessa McLoughlin: standards everywhere and. It would frustrate the hell outta me. Like I'd see these, these young tech boys come in and you know, get given a couple of million million for an idea and. I had, like, while I was building this location, I [00:18:00] already had another location that I was running and it was profitable, but no one would give me money still because, you know, it, it wasn't that sort of deemed as, I guess that unicorn sort of, um, business and no one understood it. So it was incredibly frustrating. I had to get to a point where I just had to accept it. Um, I didn't sleep much at all for two years. In fact, I was talking to a friend about it the other day and it still brings stress through my body. Um, you know, I was, my kids were. When was this? So my kids were like eight and 10 or seven and nine. I was, you know, single parenting 90, 98% of the time.

[00:18:45] Tessa McLoughlin: I didn't, I slept maybe three to four hours a night for probably about two years.

[00:18:51] Tessa McLoughlin: Because I was just desperately trying to find the money, trying to understand what people were looking for, trying to understand why they didn't wanna [00:19:00] invest in what I was doing. I would get, luckily I had these two, beautiful friends that were neighbors, and they had been watching me just work like crazy. And they're both artists, and they just loved what I was building. They really believed in what I was building and, and, they, ly put in some money at the beginning and they were the ones that really got me, got me going. and then it came time to have to sign the lease on this building. And I had a clause in it that said, um, if I hadn't found the money, which I needed to raise about one point. Two or 1.3 million. And if I didn't have that money by the time that I actually had to sign the lease, that I could pull out, and I was, oh man, Rob.

[00:19:54] Tessa McLoughlin: I was just like, seriously, like I have tried Everything. [00:20:00] I've gone to every bank, I've talked to every investor. I've made connections with these people. I've gone to the Women's Equity Lab, I've gone to, you know, all these things, and I just, I just couldn't get the money. And, um, so it came time to sign that lease. And, uh, of course, my realtor and my lawyer and my parents were just like, darling, you can't, you can't sign it. Don't sign the lease. And I, I remember going to bed that night and I was just like, you know what, universe, I don't think that you've got me this far without wanting me to be here. So if I don't get a sign from you tomorrow that you don't want me to sign that lease, I. I'm gonna sign it because I'm gonna trust that you've got something in store for me, So anyway, I went to bed, I didn't get a sign, so, I signed the lease and I mean, so it was definitely [00:21:00] really nerve wracking and um, I was putting a lot of trust in, I don't know what the universe, karma, I dunno a god, whatever you wanna call it. yeah. And luckily about. A month later. Later, oh God, it still brings stress up in my body. It's so interesting how that happens. Hey. But um, yeah, about a month later, um, a guy came into the, my old location was just like, I just love what you've built here. It's so amazing. And I was like, yeah, yeah, thanks, you know, and he's like, I wanna help.

[00:21:32] Tessa McLoughlin: I work, you know, for Scotia Bank. And I was like, good luck buddy. 'cause the bank doesn't like this. Like, I've tried. And he was incredible. He was just like. Leave it with me. And I said I don't have time to apply for bank loans. And he was just like, leave it with me. I, I'm gonna, I'm gonna help you. And, um, and he did it.

[00:21:53] Rob Pintwala: My goodness.

[00:21:54] Tessa McLoughlin: He got me the rest of the money. I know. It made me really realize, you've gotta get someone who's on [00:22:00] your side who's advocating for you, who's, like, he would be pushed to get me that money. And, and he got it.

[00:22:09] Rob Pintwala: Like, it's amazing to hear that, first of all, this whole story is so badass... That's amazing. I love that you saw, I love that you signed the lease, uh, after being told by everyone not to do it. That is amazing. And it's equally frustrating and magical that this person walked in and worked for one of the biggest banks in Canada while there are only five of them.

[00:22:32] Rob Pintwala: Right. and it's like, well, all of them . Structured approaches that you're supposed to do don't work, and you just happen to, you know, it's like magical, but also frustrating at the same time. Right. Well, I need to have some person, you know, to get me across the line and, well, the whole time you've been telling this story and with this rejection and with the just inequity like everywhere that you can't stop seeing.

[00:22:57] Rob Pintwala: Right. I think about how you built Quench [00:23:00] as a member myself, and how you have such inclusivity built into it . You know, bones of the, of the space. You know, I don't know what you were like before all this rejection, but I imagine some of this rejection might've provided you motivation to lift others up and make them feel, you know,

[00:23:19] Tessa McLoughlin: Absolutely.

[00:23:19] Rob Pintwala: included.

[00:23:20] Tessa McLoughlin: I've always been, I've always been someone, my mum used to say that I would always stick up for the underdog and you know, I got blackboard dusters thrown at my head, sticking up for people. And um, so I've always done that. But I think that, yeah, I think this is one, one thing it's made me do is really sort of trust my own, not instinct, but trust that, you know, that I know.

[00:23:47] Tessa McLoughlin: What to do. 'cause often during the building process I kept going, well, I don't know what to do. I'm a musician. And you know, and 'cause people kept telling me that too. Oh, well have you built a business before? Oh, well good luck with your hobby kind of [00:24:00] thing. And so you're being told that you don't know what to do and then you're told you can't afford loans, you're told you all this.

[00:24:07] Tessa McLoughlin: And, so what it's made me realize is like, no, I do. I'm gonna keep building what I want. 'cause once again, I'm not unique. so other people want this and so I just keep building, you know, we've added the gym in. I want a gym there. I've always wanted a gym there. Like, let's make, make accessing, um, staying healthy easy, you know?

[00:24:34] Tessa McLoughlin: So, yeah. I don't think I really answered your question there, but.

[00:24:38] Rob Pintwala: No. I mean, one thing that strikes me, well, two things that strike me is, again, just, it sounds like the conviction that you have has just been built up over, you know, day after day. Right. Um, and just being told that, you know, I. Basically coming from one identity of musician to now you're an entrepreneur that you [00:25:00] can 

[00:25:00] Tessa McLoughlin: Yeah. Weird. So 

[00:25:02] Rob Pintwala: know, of course, the mother and, and friend and leader and all those things. but yeah, I think it's just some people's ability to shy away from that sort of shift in. Belief in themselves and holding themselves too small because I think that they haven't done it, like everyone does it for the first time, the first time, right?

[00:25:26] Rob Pintwala: Um, But 

[00:25:26] Rob Pintwala: It's so hard. But even at your, you know, age, you know, , like, you know what I mean? That's like a misconception in a society where, you know, if you're at that stage of life, you know, you can't be taking those risks. Um.

[00:25:38] Tessa McLoughlin: Oh, and I think that's, I think you bring up a really interesting point. There is, you know, often you see these best under 30 and best under 40, but this is a side note too. I look at the women who have kids, and I'm just like, holy crap. The amount that they juggle, the amount that I was dealing with, with, [00:26:00] you know, expo, you know, things weren't smooth. I would get emails from him about it. Things while I was trying to get money for Quench. So I'd have to then navigate, and put on my hat for that. Then having two kids that you're trying to navigate, then, you know, then you're like, okay, how do I build this company? How am I building trust within the community? and I think I've kind of lost my train of thought there, but it's, um, it's, it is, it's a, it's a stressful thing and, and honestly, I think that if I hadn't lost the. I predictability of married life and, because it all just got pulled away with one, like, it was like a frying pan over my head. So it all just got me, my life as I'd seen it was just gone. And I think that I was kind of like that. Well, what have I gotta lose? Like, you know, keep my kids close. I've got a family that loves me. [00:27:00] That's the most important thing. So, yeah, if I, if I build something and it doesn't work, at least I tried, you know, at least I tried to do it. And that's, I had a neighbor that said to me, I was like, I really wanna do this.

[00:27:12] Tessa McLoughlin: And he's like, well, Tessa, you're always gonna regret not doing, but you're not doing it, but you're never gonna regret doing it, so just do it. So, 

[00:27:20] Rob Pintwala: I love that. Yeah, I think, I think what we were talking about before is like, you know, what you were saying is that the, the sort of like 30 under 30 list is, you know, people make it out to be so impressive, but at the same time, like, what else do these people got going on in their twenties, you know?

[00:27:34] Tessa McLoughlin: Yeah.

[00:27:35] Tessa McLoughlin: And I think it's amazing. 

[00:27:37] Rob Pintwala: you know, people with kids and single parenting.

[00:27:40] Rob Pintwala: Like that is the list that, you know, should be the front page of Forbes or whatever magazine you, you wanna 

[00:27:47] Tessa McLoughlin: especially when they tell us, oh, you know, it's like over 40 then, you know, what use are we kind of thing. yeah, I think it's, I, you know, I've got other entrepreneurs, mother friends, women, and [00:28:00] um, and I look at them. The massive amount of stuff they have to balance. And you know, it's what keeps us, it's what keeps us good at what we do, quite honestly.

[00:28:12] Tessa McLoughlin: 'cause we're used to doing

[00:28:13] Tessa McLoughlin: that. It's like we're not single-focused. It's like, okay, how, oh, this isn't working. Okay, how can I adapt quickly to something else?

[00:28:24] Tessa McLoughlin: Or, and how do I not hold ego to that thing that's not working,

[00:28:29] Rob Pintwala: Tessa, I'm probably not the right business partner for this, but I think you just conceptualize a new business,

[00:28:34] Tessa McLoughlin: Oh, did I?

[00:28:36] Tessa McLoughlin: What was it?

[00:28:37] Rob Pintwala: entrepreneurship, you know, none of this. 30 under 30, 40 under 40, but let's 

[00:28:42] Rob Pintwala: celebrate single mothers building businesses and communities and giving back to their communities. That should be the biggest award, ranking of the year.

[00:28:52] Tessa McLoughlin: They're pretty,

[00:28:54] Tessa McLoughlin: yeah, they do 

[00:28:54] Rob Pintala: as a 

[00:28:55] Rob Pintwala: sub, a sub-project. 

[00:28:57] Tessa McLoughlin: Okay. 

[00:28:57] Rob Pintwala: Here's one more thing for you to do in your busy life.[00:29:00] 

[00:29:00] Tessa McLoughlin: Yeah, 

[00:29:00] Rob Pintwala: Um, I wanted to talk to you a little bit about the concept of sort of entrepreneurship as art, like when you're speaking and creating, like when 

[00:29:14] Rob Pintwala: you're speaking, like you speak like a true artist and creator, and I think that's special.

[00:29:19] Rob Pintwala: Whereas I'm, I come from, I mean, I did business in school and I, a lot of my friends went into finance and I started thinking that I had to go and work at a bank or a consulting firm, and it was just like such a terrible fit. Um, which I didn't realize at the time, but, 

[00:29:33] Tessa McLoughlin: That's so interesting. Yeah. And now look where you

[00:29:36] Rob Pintwala: Yeah… but I, you know, I had to try and just kind of be uncomfortable.

[00:29:41] Rob Pintwala: Again, I think it was the culture piece. I was like, what is this? People wearing these suits and like trying to do these things for these big companies. But, um, you know, you're, if you're in the business, you know, as you, I think you alluded to like tech bro or whatever, you know, finance culture. It is just like people speak about [00:30:00] businesses in a money first way.

[00:30:03] Rob Pintwala: They speak about it in a numbers first way. I've never heard you speak about your business in that sense at all, and I think that's refreshing. And I'm wondering how you've been able to maintain that even though you've had too like to raise money and, you know, show like pay yourself and pay your staff and like, you know, have the accounting and finances.

[00:30:24] Rob Pintwala: Like how do you maintain this, how do you not get corrupted by the finance people?

[00:30:30] Tessa McLoughlin: Yeah, I mean, look, we, we have to make money, like to be offering the things that we do. We have to make money and, you know, we are running a business. It is a business and we have to be profitable. And, I definitely want to make it. Money for those people who took a risk with me. so my investors. But, look, we're a B Corp, I know you've just spoken to Jill and she's a B Corp too. Um, she was with Fatso. It's really important [00:31:00] to me that the primary focus is how we're making an impact. So we have to make money and we can, we can make more impact by making money. That's the beauty of it. But the primary focus of a B Corp is, is society, our impact on society and the environment. And third to that is then, A profit for your investors. So I really, I love that. I'm part of that and it was my investors who told me to go, um, to become B Corp. So I'm really lucky that way.

[00:31:37] Rob Pintwala: not to interrupt, but I, I find a lot of brands do the B Corp thing. I'm sure there's like mostly, you know, or I shouldn't judge here, but like the intentions are often good, but I think a lot of people do the B Corp in the consumer type product to kind of. Gain the marketing kind of chops and, and, 

[00:31:55] Rob Pintwala: and, and the appeal.

[00:31:56] Rob Pintwala: But like, 

[00:31:57] Rob Pintwala: you know, you, it's not like you're putting B Corp on [00:32:00] the front door of Quench or anything like that, right? It's just something that you wanna 

[00:32:02] Rob Pintwala: do. 

[00:32:03] Tessa McLoughlin: yet. We probably should, but I mean, it's definitely, we sh, someone said to me the other day because. I was like, oh, well I don't really like shouting from the rooftops. What we do, like, we do lots of sponsor sponsorship for the indigenous community and the bipoc community, the queer community. But I don't shout.

[00:32:22] Tessa McLoughlin: If they wanna shout it, go for it. And, and someone said to me, oh, you green blushing. That's what you are.

[00:32:29] Tessa McLoughlin: That term is called green blushing. And I like oh, oh, there's a term for it. So I mean, we should, I think we will at some point start to sort of talk about more of the things that we do because maybe it'll inspire other companies to do it.

[00:32:44] Tessa McLoughlin: I don't know. I, I love, I like being a B Corp. I, you would be asking about the purpose, the drive, the art of it. I just think if you're being, it's that authentic thing, isn't it? Like if you're being true to [00:33:00] what you feel here, then it will show like it's authentic. It shows when you come in here, like when someone comes in looking for an office in Quench, um. If I don't think that that office is what they need, even though I need to sell that office, I'm not gonna sell it to them. I don't want someone in here who's like, oh no, we're in a one-year lease and we shouldn't even be in here. Like, that's not what it's about. We want this place to be authentic. We expect our members to be, be, true, inclusive, and authentic. And, um, yeah, that's why I have to lead with that,

[00:33:33] Rob Pintwala: Yeah. Yeah. I don't think we've covered the acronym of Quench yet.

[00:33:39] Tessa McLoughlin: Oh yeah,

[00:33:40] Tessa McLoughlin: that?

[00:33:41] Tessa McLoughlin: was a funny one. So, it's spelled K-W-E-N-C-H and it stands for knowledge, wellness experiences, novelty, curiosity and connection Bring Health and Happiness. So. When I was coming up with the name, I [00:34:00] had those pillars. I had, well, I had knowledge, I had wellness. Um, obviously I had connection and community, which are the most important thing for, um, leading a happy life., and I played. so when I, when I finally came up with the, when I saw the word quench spelled differently, I was like, oh, well let me, let me substitute play for novelty. but yeah, I came up with some interesting words. It was like months of us talking about this the other day.

[00:34:28] Tessa McLoughlin: One of them was ki because I also wanted, um, I. Because of knowledge. But I also knew that K is a pretty unique letter to use in, in marketing and,

[00:34:40] Tessa McLoughlin: and brands because there aren't that many and they're all quite noticeable. so, uh, yeah, ki was one of them. And, and it's a Yiddish term for, uh, I can't remember now, but it's, I think it's a Yiddish term for like community or plumbing together or something like that. And uh, so I'd say to people, oh, I think you're gonna [00:35:00] call it ke and people would be like what, and I'd be like, um, ke And they're like, how do you spell it? And I'd go, oh, So, or another one was Hark. I wanted to call it Hark. So I had the happiness, I knew, and, and then people were like, yeah, no, that, it just sounds too hard.

[00:35:21] Tessa McLoughlin: The Herald Angels sing. And, um, so anyway, it's just so, and then when. I mean, I still have the piece of paper where I finally wrote down, um, quench and I was like, there, it's, it's so great. And you know, you, I have to say, 'cause you brought it back to that, that creativity thing, almost everything that I do at Quench or building Quench, I relate back to music. It's so funny. And, uh, so when I was, Developing like a pitch deck for Quench. I kept saying, I've, I've got the, I've got the lyrics, I've got like, I've got the tune, [00:36:00] but I don't have the luck. Like I don't have the, I don't have the thing that's, that's catching people. And I needed that like one tagline, but to me, it was like, what's the lick?

[00:36:10] Tessa McLoughlin: What's the lick that's gonna catch everybody's attention? You know, there were just so many other things that I did that I kept relating back to writing a song. Like, okay, how would I see if I was writing a song, how would I do this? So, you know, what is, what is the bridge here? Like, what's that

[00:36:27] Tessa McLoughlin: the part that's gonna join these two concepts together?

[00:36:30] Tessa McLoughlin: Which is exactly what you do in music. You know, what, where's the bridge that's joining the verse and the, you know, with the chorus and yeah.

[00:36:38] Rob Pintwala: I love that. I love that analogy. it's so clear that just the, I mean, I have worked in, I think I've told you this, I. Before, but I've worked in other coworking spaces from WeWork to some other ones back in Toronto 

[00:36:51] Rob Pintwala: and, and uh, and it's just, yeah, the feeling is, is unique and, and I think the more people come to quench the, the more [00:37:00] they realize.

[00:37:00] Rob Pintwala: So, um, a couple more. 

[00:37:02] Rob Pintwala: I got a Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. It's incredible. It's incredible. Um, I have a couple more questions for you. you've done, you've been at this now for. Number of years. I mean, you even 

[00:37:14] Rob Pintwala: Even I heard soon after you moved into this space, covid hit, right? 

[00:37:19] Tessa McLoughlin: four months.

[00:37:20] Rob Pintwala: yeah. 

[00:37:20] Rob Pintwala: That's terrible. Um, terrible timing.

[00:37:23] Rob Pintwala: And, uh, like all the several years of like three to four hours a night of sleep. You know, my question is now that you're sort of, maybe you feel like you're past the, you know, first mountain, uh, or maybe second Mountain, you know. How do you, like, what do you get out of it? What keeps you going?

[00:37:44] Tessa McLoughlin: Oh. Like comments like you just said, or you know, I love it when I see relationships that have been built that I've had nothing to really do with, except creating a space [00:38:00] like the moment. So, you know, when you're designing something on. Paper, paper. And I'm like, okay, this is how I want this because this is where I feel those water cooler moments will be. and you know, we have a really big island in the kitchen where everybody, like 12, 13 people can sit around it. And I remember the first. Time, it makes me a little emotional. I walked into the building, we didn't actually have our front stairs built yet, so we came up the side and I just remember hearing quite a bit of like PE members were in and, and sort of walking past and I just sort of looked over and there was like a team of people just like sitting, chatting, talking. And I, I, got really emotional because I was like, oh my gosh, there it is. There's those moments that, you know, that's the stuff that keeps me going. People come to me and say, I was so depressed at home. I didn't know how lonely I was, and now I come to a community [00:39:00] and, and, I feel like I really belong.

[00:39:02] Tessa McLoughlin: People who walk in the front door and say to me, your team is so amazing. They know my name. That's the stuff that I love. I love hearing when it's really impacted people's lives in a positive way, because that's what it's here. That's what we're here for. Yeah. We're here to also, you know, ensure that you could work well and, and, and meet people and be part of something, but it's when it actually impacts their life to a point where they're like, my mental health is so much better. Like, I'm a better person.

[00:39:38] Rob Pintwala: And how do you balance your own? Like super high attention to the member experience, like showing members the best possible experience, creating the best possible experience with managing your own team and making sure that their culture, your internal culture is, you know, what you want it to be 

[00:39:59] Rob Pintwala: and, and, [00:40:00] you know, because you care so much, how do you, you know, how do you 

[00:40:05] Rob Pintwala: Hire for that?

[00:40:06] Rob Pintwala: How do you, you know,

[00:40:08] Tessa McLoughlin: I think, I mean, we attract a certain type of person for sure. I don't know the answer. I, I think I'm still learning, you know, we are looking, as, you know, we've been looking at locations to move to in Vancouver and Toronto and Hamilton. But, um, you know, at the moment Vancouver's on our, on our list, and yeah, I definitely get nervous 'cause I'm just like, oh, how are we gonna, are we going to be able to carry this over? And, 'cause that's the biggest thing people ask me, how can we, how can you replicate you? And I'm not a hundred percent

[00:40:46] Tessa McLoughlin: sure yet 

[00:40:47] Rob Pintwala: an investor question.

[00:40:48] Tessa McLoughlin: that's an

[00:40:50] Tessa McLoughlin: investor question. but it's like, how do we set the tone? How do you know?

[00:40:55] Tessa McLoughlin: Okay. I remember this moment in Fort Street when we were over there and [00:41:00] I used to sit at the front desk. So I did everything back there. I cleaned everything. I was cleaning on the weekends. I was, um, front desk. I was doing everything. And I remember sitting at the front desk at one point and there was a new member in the kitchen, and one of our older members came in. And just stumped at this. Well, hey, how are you? Oh, you, you, you. And they did what I typically do, which is, uh, oh, hey, I haven't met you yet. Are you new here? Okay. Or What, what's your thing? What do you do? Like, oh, they, you know, and I heard them doing it, and I was like, oh my gosh. Now they're, they're doing what, what, my job would be.

[00:41:43] Tessa McLoughlin: So the members are actually the ones. Facilitating and, and setting the tone, which was incredible.

[00:41:49] Tessa McLoughlin: And I mean, I have this story, um, if you've got time where my son got really sick, with [00:42:00] meningitis when I had Fort Street and I was the only one there, I was the only one working. And I literally had to be in isolation with him. And I didn't know. I was like, oh my God, what do I do? And so I called one of our members and I. Could you open the club for me? And all of the members came out to help. Yes. So-and-so's gonna open it. So-and-so's gonna close it. Um, this is what's, you know, gonna happen now. Oh, by the way, we got two new members and you know, so I was, I was away for like four days.

[00:42:30] Tessa McLoughlin: They opened and closed the club and they got two new members. New members. That's amazing.

[00:42:35] Tessa McLoughlin: To me,

[00:42:36] Tessa McLoughlin: that's like, Yeah, 

[00:42:37] Rob Pintwala: no, that's, that is incredible. On that point, do you feel? Um, based on kind of the, the stage of your, your kids, you know, uh, the age that they're at and, and their 

[00:42:49] Tessa McLoughlin: Totally 

[00:42:49] Rob Pintwala: um, now are you, has that motivated you to sort of set your heights to a new level? Like is the expansion now for a reason because [00:43:00] your kids are older or are there other reasons?

[00:43:02] Tessa McLoughlin: Yeah. Look, I mean, look, the expansion was supposed to happen a while ago, but then we got hit with a pandemic for a few years and, and now we've got interest rates that are knocking everyone for six. I just realized that term is probably.

[00:43:17] Tessa McLoughlin: Not a Canadian term? but anyway. That's okay. I think cricket

[00:43:21] Tessa McLoughlin: A six. Um, anyway, um, I, yeah, they're at a totally different age. Like, they don't need me around if I, if I'm late home from work, they're happy. Um, you know, I can go and be in Vancouver for the day and a night and they, they love it, kind of. I mean, they're still teenagers and they still need me, but definitely not

[00:43:43] Tessa McLoughlin: as much. That's good. I think for me, I mean, I would really like to move back to Australia, for some time or at least have some of my year in Australia. And so, um, there was always that, um. [00:44:00] To open up in Australia too, so, you know, get a great network in Canada. You know, whether or not we expand to the States, we just stay in Canada and then we go and open some in Australia. I don't wanna be, I don't want Quench to be a. A WeWork or a Regis or an industrious. I think what's really important for me is keeping this culture, and for me, culture is built on trust, and trust does not grow fast. Trust. Trust is built over time. So you know, saying, oh, great, you've gotta open up 12 locations in a year. That doesn't work because I'll go to Hamilton, and no one will know who I am. They're not gonna, they're not gonna believe in the brand. They're not gonna believe, you know? So for me, it's not a rapid growth, but a really strategic and, and, um, thoughtful growth.

[00:44:57] Rob Pintwala: And, besides wanting [00:45:00] to, you know, sort of reward your investors and the risk-takers 

[00:45:04] Rob Pintwala: who believed in you early on. what do you think you'll get out of it? Assuming that you can expand, you know, places that are flight, distance away, possibly Australia flight distances away. I mean, I know Australia, you likely have a lot, you know, family there.

[00:45:21] Rob Pintwala: But for example, moving, like moving across the country, Ontario, is it just seeing your baby grow or what, what else do you think? Foresee getting out of it. Um, be, you know, besides the 

[00:45:33] Rob Pintwala: financial gains.

[00:45:35] Tessa McLoughlin: I love the impact too. I've seen the impact that Quench has made on Victoria, and I love seeing that. I love seeing people thriving in here and how much the quench community means to them. And we have people from Toronto coming in, going, oh my gosh, I wish you could be there. And, you know, if we can build these great communities where people can [00:46:00] thrive and grow and, who knows what we do with them. From there, but I think that that's, you know, this way of working is staying. Um, I truly believe that co-working as an industry will move away from real estate. And I believe it's more a hospitality, um, play because I think. You know, people want the services. They don't want just space. I mean, I have this thing that I say in nearly every interview, but it's just like, you know, we've all been in jobs, we've all stayed in jobs that we hate the job because we love the people and we've all left jobs that we love because we hate the people. it's the people and the community that are the thing. And if Quench can, can build those, um, communities, I think that that, that's, that's, that's what I'd like. And, if I can sit back, and watch it do it, that's [00:47:00] amazing. And maybe I'll consult. A little bit and bit, you know, I mean, the big, big picture for me is I wanna get back into, um, one day into women's safety. I think that children's safety is so massive. The more loved and secure we can bring our kids up, then, then the systemic problems that come through society won't be there. And so if some way I can help. Through building Quench, we can help build that as well. I think that that'll be a win-win for me.

[00:47:38] Rob Pintwala: That's incredible. I think that's a lovely place 

[00:47:41] Rob Pintwala: to end the conversation today. Thank you so much and curious.

[00:47:46] Tessa McLoughlin: Yeah. You're welcome.

[00:47:47] Rob Pintwala: If you are showcasing any of your art or like, you know, quite a quenching website, I believe is club quench.com.

[00:47:57] Tessa McLoughlin: Yeah. Club quench, club [00:48:00] quench um.com. yeah, that's

[00:48:03] Tessa McLoughlin: where you 

[00:48:03] Rob Pintwala: Do you have a list on your website or a form or something where people can request expansion? Like expand here,

[00:48:09] Tessa McLoughlin: You know what, that is a great idea because we've just been asked in Vancouver to, to get a list of people who wanna,

[00:48:17] Tessa McLoughlin: um, who would be win, would be willing to take up residents

[00:48:21] Tessa McLoughlin: in our Vancouver

[00:48:22] Tessa McLoughlin: location. So thank you for that. I will get

[00:48:24] Rob Pintwala: maybe by the time people, uh, listen to this, they can find that and, uh, 

[00:48:28] Rob Pintwala: request quench in, in their, in their location. But thank you, Tessa. Um, we'll see you soon. 

[00:48:33] Tessa McLoughlin: Thanks, 

[00:48:34] Rob Pintwala: a wonderful day.

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