Today as a part of our Behind the Seams with A.K. Rikk's series, we would like to introduce you to our Chief of Staff, Ilze Vizulis! Ilze is the latest addition to the A.K. Rikk's family and we are thrilled to have her! We asked her what brought her to A.K. Rikk's and what makes her tick during her Behind the Seams interview with A.K. Rikk's!
Where are you from?
I was born and raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I was raised in a Latvian household, speaking the Latvian language and following cultural traditions. Over the years, I have had a chance to visit the country several times, and also lived there for a brief period of time.
What made you decide you wanted to work at A.K. Rikk's?
I am very passionate about human potential in the workplace. I spent a few years studying positive organizations and their ability to empower employees through empathetic, humanistic cultures, and drive performance and engagement. Exposure to this research really impacted what I was looking for in a company. It was very important to me to make sure my values aligned, and find an environment that allows employees to bring their full selves to work, feel "alive," valued, and empowered.
What's your favorite brand (that we carry in-store) and why?
I think my list of favorites could go on and on. I'd say that I naturally gravitate towards bright colors when I walk into a store - which brings me to this season's Alice and Olivia's collection. It is full of fun prints, flirty florals, giving the brand a bold, youthful energy.
What is your favorite part of working at A.K. Rikk's?
First of all, I love how many diverse personalities we have at A.K. Rikk's. Employees are encouraged to own their unique qualities, which is really cool to see. Second, I really enjoy the fast paced environment. It keeps every day new and exciting. I also love how much time and energy leadership devotes to employee learning, growth and development!
If you could host a dinner party for three guests, what would you serve and who would you invite?
I'd say Beyonce, Emma Watson, and Oprah? That would be one badass, empowering table of women.
What's the coolest place you've been on vacation? And why did it stand out to you?
I love to look at the world from different perspectives. Two of the most unique and contrasting places I have visited are Marrakech and Lofoten. Lofoten is an archipelago found in northern Norway, just above the arctic circle. I spent five days on a solo trip there, traveling from island to island, stumbling across tiny fishing villages and hiking the beautiful fjords that jut out of the crystal blue waters of the Norwegian Sea. Lofoten forced me to get used to a lot of things that were otherwise foreign for me. For example, being in such an isolated area forced me to learn to enjoy silence. At the same time it forced me to embrace any opportunity to connect with others. Since Lofoten is so far north, the sun never went down. I had never considered how much daylight effects my daily routines. It challenged me to stay in tune and listen to my body! Old town Marrakech, in Morocco could not be more different. Instead of secluded silence, I was surrounded by sensory overload. The souks were overflowing with color, fabrics, handcrafted goods, smells, rambunctious bartering, yelling, and and chaos. I was challenged to take in my surroundings, while still remaining aware of my personal space. One wrong move and you could be taken out by a tuk tuk or scooter. It was very impactful to see how proud the craftsman were of their work. It was so impressive to see how much work goes into the dying process of leathers and silks; something we rarely think about when buying a jacket or scarf.
This concludes this Behind the Seams with A.K. Rikk's Interview. Next time you stop in, be sure to say "hello" to Ilze!