No sign of June gloom here (LA friends will get it). We sat down with our vibrant and driven new COO, June Van Heel to hear more about her, her career, and fun facts. And of course, talk Wolven.
What drew you to Wolven?
I met Kiran years ago and had many conversations about joining the team - so glad we finally made it work! I was always impressed with the quality of the products - every piece had such a soft hand-feel that I could not believe it had 84% recycled content! Most rPET products on the market have more of that swimsuit-like fabric but ours are soft and smooth.
Also, many brands out there would say they were focused on sustainability… but it became evident from just the initial discussions that sustainability was really at the core of the brand. There was also so much uniqueness in the prints that no one else in the market was offering. The amazingly talented and diverse all-women team was the cherry on top!
What is the highlight of your career thus far?
Joining Wolven! Other than that, it’s a bit difficult to pinpoint as every stage of my career has been rewarding in its own way. What’s really neat is getting to the point in your career where you can truly believe in yourself as an expert in what you do. I don’t mean this in a conceited way, but it’s really rewarding to look back on your hard work and be able to apply what you have learned in new settings. I have learned that a lot of businesses, whether big or small, have similar problems, and there are certain steps you can take to solve them and be in a better position. I don’t think too many people can say they are at that point in their careers at my age so I am grateful for the experiences that have brought me here.
How would your friends describe you?
I am often busy with work so my acquaintances may say that I am ambitious or career-driven. My close friends, though, will likely say that I am very caring. I am a bit of an over-thinker so I think a lot about what people may be feeling / wanting / needing / etc. I try to cater to them whether it’s finding the most special birthday gifts or lending a helping hand when they are in need.
Favorite place you’ve traveled to?
I loved the Swiss Alps - a completely different setting but also breathtakingly beautiful! I could never forget the moment coming down the alps on the cable car - it was one of the most peaceful and fulfilling moments of my life.
What is your ideal morning routine?These days, our 7-month old chocolate lab puppy and 6-year old white lab wake us up for breakfast every morning at an ungodly hour of 4am. Then, we go back to sleep for a couple hours until they wake up again around 6am. It’s not fun when the pup stomps on my face and wakes me up but I’m trying to cherish the moments while she’s still young.
On weekdays, I’m pretty bad about checking my phone for messages and emails early in the morning. I hear that you’re not supposed to so I try to look away and meditate even for a few minutes. I am a big breakfast person so that always comes next, typically followed by coffee. I get straight to work after that - I usually have calls and meetings all day starting around 9am.
On weekends, however, I love going to pilates and the farmer’s market in my Wolven outfit. No, but seriously - you will catch me in my Zephyr One Shoulder Top and Flare combo on most Saturdays. I usually splurge on nice coffee afterwards - the NOLA from Blue Bottle and the iced New York from Go Get ‘em Tiger are my favorites!
What is your mission as COO here at Wolven?
Increase revenue and profits and decrease costs while staying true to the brand and its ethos. I know that’s cliché but they have to be your foci for a business to be successful. I also love cultivating teams. I am really excited to learn and feature the special talents of each team member and help them grow in their careers and as people. Lastly, I am excited to introduce hard goods to complement our amazing apparel. This is going to be a fun ride!
Where is your favorite LA spot?
El Segundo! It’s a hidden gem that I’ve worked at for a long time and I finally get to call home. We have the most charming little downtown area, a not-so-crowded beach, the best school district, the friendliest neighbors and a 5-minute drive to LAX. In terms of venues, I love the Dodger Stadium - I’ve been a big fan since moving to LA nearly 27 years ago and it’s a special place for me that holds so many fun memories.
Do you find it hard to balance life and work? Especially working from home. Any tips for the rest of us?
Like many things in life, it goes in waves. I don’t find work to be challenging or stressful on its own - I really love to work and it’s a big positive in my life. Where it gets tricky is when there are multiple life events happening at once. I remember having long Covid while working from home, planning our wedding and remodeling our new home. It’s not easy but it’s important to know that everything is temporary and realize that even the difficult moments are special. Also, keeping good habits and schedules - waking up at the same time every morning, squeezing in workouts (or even walks) throughout the day / week, eating healthy (whatever that means to you), spending time with loved ones and taking time for yourself, whether it’s Netflix or taking a bath - will all help prevent burnouts.
What/who motivates you?
I’m pretty self-motivated. I take pride in everything I do and it’s important to me that what I do has a positive impact on the world in some way. I am also motivated by the well-being of my parents, family and loved ones.
Motto that you live by?
Let’s make the world a better place together.