Shares Culinary Passion Through Cooking, Classes, and Cannabis

Mary White spent more of her early adult life talking, selling, and cooking. She combined her expertise in radio, film, TV, and cooking to share her experiences with you. As a kid growing up in Seattle, food is something she was always excited about, especially mom's cooking! Good was something that would always bring happiness and make uplift a situation.

After working in sales for a while she was later introduced to some broadcasting work on the radio and immediately fell in love. Till this day she still does some radio work, a little bit of acting, and also teaches classes on cooking with medical marijuana.

Hi Mary, Can you introduce yourself and tell us more about the experiences that you offer through Verlocal?

I’m Mary White, Seattle native, and lifelong foodist. After a long career in broadcasting, I get to do what I love – helping people learn to love their food. I teach Kitchen Survival, Cooking with Cannabis, and Cooking with Cannabis 2 and Cooking with Cannabis 3. There’s also Girls Night In, 50 Shade of Food, and others. Food = love!!

Tell us about your background: When did you first become inspired to do what you love?

After my radio career ended I wanted to expand my small cooking classes. Around that time I also began using cannabis for some intractable medical issues. Now, thanks to cannabis, I’m quite healthy. I love helping people learn their way around cannabis; now that it’s legal tons more people can learn about the incredible health benefits of this ancient medicinal (and FUN) plant.

What does your passion mean to you?

My passion for cooking means that every day I focus on how I can help people – to learn to take care of themselves, to save money and eat well, and to quit eating crap and get dinner on the table with a minimum of drama.

What made you want to pursue your passion and become a host?

After years spent broadcasting to lots of people, becoming a host means I can interact directly with people. Hands-on is really important to me, so all my classes are about getting in there and taking charge of your food.

What was your biggest challenge when you first started your business?

The challenges in running a small business are huge; one thing I like about Verlocal is that I don’t have to advertise as much and I attract people that might not have found me otherwise.

What are your goals for the future?

My goals include getting more people to class! I sincerely want to spread this knowledge around; whether cooking with cannabis or becoming the boss of your kitchen, being aware and in charge of what goes into your body is hugely important for your physical, mental, and financial health!

What advice can you give to people who want create a business from doing what they love? 

To anyone that is starting a business that involves interacting with other humans, I’d def recommend Verlocal; huge audience, great support, and cool people.


To learn more about Mary White take one of her "Cooking with Cannabis" classes or check out her blog!

A Short Review: Poke Restaurant

This month, I decided to take a trip to the Upper East Side to try Poke Restaurant, which is all the rage in NYC nowadays. New York City is known for pizza, cheesecake, deli, bagels, pretzels, and much more… but not sushi. For a while, I’ve said that I’ve had much better sushi on vacation that I have at home here in New York. That all changed when I tried Poke Restaurant on the Upper East Side.

 I walked in at around 8:00 pm on a Thursday night and was told the wait was an hour. Because of fomo, I knew I had to wait. While I was waiting, I ran to the bank because this casual, BYOB joint is cash only. I was really excited to try this restaurant because if it lived up to the hype, it’d be perfect- a casual, yet tasty sushi place that is desperately needed on NYC’s Upper East Side. And spoiler: it most definitely lived up to the hype.

When I sat down, before even opening up the menu, I ordered the spicy miso soup because it was something I have heard about from some friends. After tasting it, I was upset because it didn’t reach my expectations. Then I ordered the tuna tataki as an appetizer, and it was probably the best tuna tataki I have ever had -- no overreaction here. But, what really made this the best sushi meal I have ever had was one thing in specific.

I ordered a few rolls. They were all fresh and delicious. But, nothing stood out to me like the Truffle Roll. This sushi roll combined two of my all time favorite foods- salmon rolls, and truffle oil. This was one of those foods you order multiple orders of because it tastes unlike anything else you know off, not because you're hungry. Whenever anyone asks me for a restaurant recommendation in New York, this automatically pops into my head.The name is misleading, however, because the restaurant does not serve any sort of poke bowls. The downsides here are that you may be waiting a while for your food, the space is very loud, and the portions are small. But if you have time to wait, do not pass up the opportunity to try Poke Restaurant. It’s a must!

A review: What you CANNOT miss at this year’s Smorgasburg

With the return of summer each year, we all look forward to something else. What I look forward to is the return of Smorgasburg. This year, as soon as the market opened in April, I made sure to spend an entire Sunday at Smorgasburg in Prospect Park. Although it’s been around for years, the festival remains popular because it is any foodie’s dream come true, with perfect picture lighting and new vendors each year! I had to walk through the market a few times to strategically choose what I was going to try because I knew I couldn’t try everything. Even though I didn’t have every single item at the market, I did try a lot and these are my top five favorites at the SUNDAY market, in no particular order

1. Edamame Soy Dumplings from Destination Dumplings

These are probably the best dumplings I’ve ever had. The only place to try them is at the market because they do not have a shop yet. They are worth the rage and the commute.

2. John’s Juice

Looking for something photogenic and delicious? At this vendor, you can choose from a variety of fruits. The fruit you choose is then cored and blended so that you can drink all the juice, straight out of the fruit. As they say “ all juice, no cups.” It’s delicious, fun, and refreshing when you’re outside in the park all day!

3.  Mushroom Egg Rolls from Lumpia Shack

I have always loved mushrooms and egg rolls but never thought about having them together until I saw Lumpia Shack. They were truly delicious. Any mushroom lover could eat hundreds of these. Either stop by the market or Lumpia Shack in the West Village, but make sure to try these!

4. Spicy Tuna Tacos from Takumi Tacos

I tried these for the first time at Smorgasburg in April. Now, all my friends know about my love for Takumi Tacos. I travel to Chelsea Market on my lunch break just to get these. The crunchy wonton shells make the taco delicious, and it being filled with fresh Tuna that tastes great each time, makes it better..


5. Rose with Cinnamon Roasted Almond Ice cream from Malai

This stuff is the real deal. When I ordered this, I didn’t know I would be craving it randomly for months to come. This doesn’t taste like your average rose flavored water or candy. The handmade ice cream is sweet, floral and spiced. I can’t really describe the unique taste, but trust me on this one -- it’s worth every cent and every calorie.

A Short Review: Loco Coco


Why drink a smoothie from a cup when you could spoon it from a bowl? A bowl gives you toppings, duh. Acai, pitaya, coconut, and kale bowls have appealed to health freaks for a while now, but are finally starting to spread to those who aren’t as healthy. The first time I tried a smoothie bowl was in New Jersey, and I fell in love.

I tried acai bowls from all different places in New York, but none of them hit the same spot that my first bowl did until I tried LOCO COCO. Loco Coco, a newly opened smoothie bowl shop on 63nd and Lexington Avenue, is absolutely amazing. These delicious, vegan, and kosher bowls are blended perfectly and topped with fresh and exotic toppings, such as edible flowers and golden raspberries. Loco Coco serves acai and pitaya smoothie bowl blends, as well as delicious smoothies and juices! My favorite was the ‘Mint Condition’ bowl. No visit to Loco Coco is complete without a picture in front of the neon “Loco Coco” sign! Get there ASAP and get ready to finally love the taste healthy food.

The best pizzas you need in your life right now

In New York City, which is already full of a variety of amazing and well-established pizza spots, it is hard to create something new that is worth talking about. But the hype which surrounds Emmy Squared, particularly on social media, is well earned. This Williamsburg spot offers detroit-style pizza – a thick, square pie with sauce traditionally on top of the cheese. Its name cleverly represents not only the shape of the pizza but also it being Matt and Emily Hyland’s follow up to their original thin crust pizza restaurant, Emily.

The dimly lit restaurant may feel slightly cramped at first and the wait at its busiest hours may not seem worth it, but one bite into a slice will make you completely forget about any concerns. The unique aspect of an Emmy Squared pie is the combination of its insanely crispy corners with its fluffy, cheesy center. It truly makes it like no other. My favorite pies include the Classic and the Vodka. Although Emmy’s classic and margarita pies are more than satisfying, they’ve also got you covered with a variety of crazy and cool combinations. These include the “Angel Pie” which is a white pizza with mozzarella, ricotta, mushrooms, and Truffleist mushroom cream.

Overall, Emmy Squared is one of my favorite restaurants and, definitely, pizza spots to go to. Yes, the wait and the cramped space is a bit of a turn-off but trust me when I say that the pizza is worth it! Check out a few of my favorites to get at Emmy Squared!!

My favorite items on the menu:

Cheese Curds

These are the perfect appetizer to snack on while waiting for your pizza to arrive. The crispy, crunchy outside contrasts with the melted, gooey cheese on the inside. It is served with two delicious dipping sauces to spice things up.


Classic Pie

It really lives up to its name. It really just is a deliciously, classic pizza pie. What is not classic about this pie is as mentioned before, insanely crispy edges which transform your normal pizza experience to an Emmy experience.


Vodka Pie

A twist on the classic pie with vodka sauce! Ever since it was officially added to the menu at the beginning of this year, it has been my Emmy go-to.


“Le Big Matt”

If you visit Emmy Squared on a Friday or Saturday night, you will have a chance to experience their burger bar. It has an exclusive menu, and is only opened on these two nights. The primary burger on their menu is the “Le Big Matt”- a beef burger topped with american cheese, pickles, and Emmy’s special “Sammy” sauce. I would put this burger in my top five burgers ever tried. This burger has been named one of the best in the city and when initially released, had a limited amount made which caused people to line up to experience a taste. 

Top 5 Chelsea Market Must-Eats You Need to Try

New York’s Chelsea Market is one of every NYC foodie’s favorite places to go. On average, the 1.2 million square foot food court is visited by nine million people per year. The market, which is also home to offices, shops, TV studios, and raw food providers, makes it busy at any time of day. With so many people and so many food options, how do you know which to try? In our opinion, if you leave Chelsea Market, without trying these FIVE MUST EATS, you’ve done it all wrong.

1. Doughnuttery

Although pricey, there is something for everyone at the Doughnuttery. Once your mini donut is made in front of your eyes, you can choose how you want to top it from 23 flavors. Served hot, these small donuts are packed with lots of flavors.

Photo: Spoon University

What to order? The fruity cereal doughnuts. These aren’t too sweet, nor too filling, making them the perfect snack for any time of the day.

2. Takumi Tacos

Takumi Tacos is definitely one of our top five favorite food places in the entire country. Serving burritos, tacos, and bowls, Takumi serves food similar to chipotle. Takumi Tacos perfected “Japanese inspired Mexican food.”

Photo: The Dishelin Guide

What to order?  Spicy tuna tacos. Don’t even think twice. These fresh and tasty tacos, served in a crispy wonton shell, are absolute perfection.

3. Giovanni Rana

What’s cool about Giovanni Rana is that there are two parts o the restaurant. You can choose whether to sit down at the restaurant, or order at the quick service stand. We decided to try Giovanni Rana when we heard about their chocolate ravioli. When you sit at the restaurant, you can choose to order a single pasta, or take a pasta adventure, tasting either 3,4, or five kinds of pasta of your choice.

Photo: Manhattan Sideways

What to order? Definitely the truffle mushroom ravioli, and the spinach-ricotta ravioli.

4. Seed & Mill

Seed & Mill is any sesame lover’s dream. From tahini ice cream to multiple flavors of halva, Seed & Mill is extremely unique. We have their delicious tahini at home and find any excuse to eat it. However, the best thing they sell is the halva that melts in your mouth. When you get to Seed & Mill, you may be overwhelmed by all the different flavors or halva in front of you like we were. While they are all delicious, we had to choose one favorite.

Photo: La Boite

What to order? Our favorite, the Pistachio Halva.

5. L’Arte del Gelato

If you love ice cream, you understand the art of gelato — the texture, consistency, and unique flavor. L’Arte del Gelato serves up flavors for all — sour, sweet, and salty. Gelato doesn’t seem like anything that can be served unique, right? You expect a cone full of the flavor of your choice. Not at L’Arte del Gelato. They allow you to get more unique.


What to order? The Affogato alla Cioccolata Calda — al Mascarpone Gelato with hot Italian Chocolate and whipped cream.Photo: L’Arte del Gelato

Have you visited the Chelsea Market in New York before? Share your favorite eats there with us in the comments below!

Terms and Conditions for Verlocal Ambassador Program

Please read these Terms and Conditions (“Terms”, “Terms and Conditions”) carefully before signing up for the Verlocal Ambassador program operated by InstQuest Incorporated (“us”, “we”, or “our”).

These Terms apply to all applicants of the Verlocal Ambassadors program (Service).
If you disagree with any part of the terms then you may not access the Service.

Our Service may contain links to third­-party web sites or services that are not owned or controlled by InstQuest Incorporated. InstQuest Incorporated has no control over, and assumes no responsibility for, the content, privacy policies, or practices of any third party web sites or services. You further acknowledge and agree that InstQuest Incorporated shall not be responsible or liable, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with use of or reliance on anysuch content, goods or services available on or through any such web sites or services.

Verlocal Ambassador Privileges

Enrollment in the Verlocal Ambassador program qualified you to enjoy the Verlocal Ambassdaor Privileges. These privileges include but not limited to: One Free Verlocal Experience A Month, Buddy Discount, Verlocal Ambassador T-shirt and our best efforts to share your content on our social media channels.

The One Free Verlocal Experience A Month refers to an experience that worth $100. If the experience chosen exceeds $100, you will have to pay the excess after a $100 rebate is given. Each month, the $100 will be disbursed in the form of a voucher code that can be applied to any Verlocal listing.

Buddy Discount refers to a 20% discount code that can be offered to your friends or partners who are attending the sponsored Verlocal Experience under the Verlocal Ambassador program. It is in good faith that we administer this discount code and up to our discretion to determine the number of times the discount code can be applied and for what listings.

Verlocal Ambassador T-shirt refers to the one single free  Verlocal Ambassador T-shirt that will be mailed to you at a convenient date for InstQuest Inc. However, we will try our best to send it to you at soon as possible.


We reserve the right, at our sole discretion, to modify or replace these Terms at any time. If a revision is material we will try to provide at least 30 (change this) days’ notice prior to any new terms taking effect. What constitutes a material change will be determined at our sole discretion.

Content Delivery and Parties’ Responsibilities

In consideration of the privileges as a Verlocal Ambassador, you shall deliver the Content to us by the relevant Delivery Date in accordance with the Content Description including the relevant Brief. Time is of the essence in relation to any Delivery Date. The Delivery Date will be communicated with you once this Contract is executed.

If you are accepted into the Verlocal Ambassador program, you are expected to create four high-quality digital content every month. The standard of quality is up to the discretion of InstQuest Inc. and determined if it satisfies the minimum requirements of what constitutes high-quality digital content.

As a Verlocal Ambassador, you are also expected to join the Verlocal Ambassador Facebook Group. Each month, you are to comment on or share content posted by Verlocal Ambassador Facebook Group administrators. Once a post is uploaded on the Verlocal Ambassador Facebook Group, you are given 36 hours to engage on the post.  Failure to comply will result in immediate termination of Verlocal Ambassador privileges.

Your Verlocal Ambassador privileges will be renewed at a quarterly basis and at the discretion of InstQuest Inc.

In the event that you breach the confidence of the contract or fail to deliver the content and meet the responsibility of engaging in Verlocal social media requirement, InstQuest Inc. will have the right to terminate your Verlocal Ambassadors privileged immediately.

You shall cooperate fully with us and any third parties appointed by us as necessary to deliver the Content in accordance with this Contract.
You shall notify us prior to delivery, if any Content contains any content in which any third party claims or might claim any intellectual property right (“Third Party Content”). If so, you shall be responsible for obtaining all necessary rights and permissions, including intellectual property rights or waivers thereof, and contractual documentation in connection with its use. If possible, you shall assign to us all intellectual property rights in the Third Party Content in accordance with clause 3.1 below, or if not possible, you shall ensure that the intellectual property rights in such Third Party Content are licensed to us on an exclusive, perpetual and royalty-free basis for our full use and exploitation.
You agree to notify us immediately if you become aware of any event or circumstance that has caused or may cause a delay in the completion or delivery of the Content to us.
You shall be solely responsible for promptly remedying, at your own expense and to our satisfaction, any non-conforming Content.
Our rights under this Contract are in addition to any applicable statutory terms implied in our favour by the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982 and any other similar statute.
If You fail to deliver the Content as required by us, we may, without prejudice to any of our other rights or remedies under this Contract or law:
(a) terminate this Contract in whole or in part;
(b) refuse to accept any subsequent delivery of the Content;
(c) purchase substitute Content from elsewhere; and
(d) hold You responsible for any loss and/or additional costs incurred as a result of such failure.
The provisions of this clause 1, clause 3 and clause 4 shall be without prejudice to any acceptance or payment by us and shall extend to any substituted or remedial services that you provide.
We shall have no obligation or responsibility, to review the Content (including any Third Party Content) to determine whether it could result in any liability to any third party and if we reasonably believe in our sole discretion that it may, then we may remove it from publication and withhold payment of the Fee from you in full or in part. We will inform you in good time whenever we take this action.
In the event we are not satisfied that the Content delivered to us by you complies with this Contract (including without limitation the Content Description and relevant Brief) we will notify you and, subject always to compliance with the relevant Delivery Date, we will give you a reasonable opportunity to amend and resubmit the Content. For the avoidance of doubt, we are under no obligation to publish, distribute or otherwise use any Content you deliver to us whether or not it complies with this Contract.

Intellectual Property Rights

You hereby assign to us with full title guarantee by way of present assignment of present and future rights and free from all third party rights, all rights (including without limitation all copyright and any other intellectual property rights) in and to the Content (including any Third Party Rights if applicable subject to clause 1.3 above) and any other materials created or developed by you in connection with your performance of this Contract, together with all accrued rights of action in relation to any past or existing infringement of such rights.
You will, at our request, promptly do (or procure to be done) all such further acts, including the execution of all documents, as we may from time to time require for the purpose of securing the full benefit of this Contract.
We may edit, copy, adapt or translate the Content at our discretion and you undertake to procure irrevocable, waivers of any and all moral rights in the Content from all persons who may have any moral rights in the Content.
All materials provided to you by us in connection with your performance of this Contract including without limitation all documents, text, images, data and other content of any kind (“Contract Materials”) and all disks, tapes and other media on which the Content and Contract Materials are stored, are owned by us or our Client and nothing in this Contract has the effect of assigning or (save as expressly set out in this Contract) granting any right to you in or to the Contract Materials. You must not use any Contract Materials for any purpose other than providing the Content to us. You undertake on completion of the Content or when otherwise requested by us to promptly return all Contract Materials to us, without keeping any paper or digital copies.
You may not reproduce the Content or use the Content for your own purposes (including publicising your services) or use the Content or any of the Contract Materials in relation to any of your other clients or otherwise distribute or syndicate the Content without our express prior written consent, which we may grant or withhold in our absolute discretion.

Warranties and Indemnity

You warrant and undertake to us that the Content:
(a) shall be original and created solely by you and shall not have been copied, adapted or reproduced in whole or in part from any other work;
(b) shall not infringe or violate the any right of any third party in any part of the world including, without limitation, any proprietary right, intellectual property right, right of privacy, publicity or confidentiality or breach any contractual right whatsoever;
(c) shall conform with any and all descriptions and specifications set out in the Content Order Form (including without limitation the Content Description and any Brief) or as otherwise provided by us;
(d) shall be created and provided in accordance with, and shall not violate, any applicable law, statute, ordinance, regulation, code of conduct or guideline (including without limitation the laws and regulations governing export control, unfair competition, anti-discrimination and false advertising) from time to time in force; and
(e) shall not be inaccurate, offensive, obscene, defamatory, trade libellous, unlawful or contain anything that could otherwise be deemed harmful to us or our Client or any of our respective brands.
You further warrant and undertake that you and any sub-contractors providing any part of the Content:
(a) shall create and provide the Content using reasonable skill and care, in accordance with best industry practice and standards and in any event, to our satisfaction;
(b) are suitably qualified, have the necessary skills, experience, resources and all necessary consents to provide the Content and fulfil your obligations under this Contract;
(c) neither you nor any of your employees, agents, consultants, partners, representatives or subcontractors (“Associated Persons”) have at any time engaged in, or presently engage in, any activity, practice or conduct which may constitute an offence under any applicable fraud, anti-bribery or corruption laws or regulations, including but not limited to all local and international laws and regulations concerning fraud, bribery and corruption, including but not limited to the UK Bribery Act of 2010 and the United States Foreign Corrupt Practices Act 1977 (“Anti-Corruption Laws”);
(d) shall provide a safe and healthy working environment for your staff and will comply with all applicable laws, rules and regulations regarding (i) human rights as defined by the United Nations, (ii) the protection of the environment, and (iii) the community in which you operate and other stakeholders. You shall as part of your internal measures to ensure compliance with this clause 4.2(d), maintain and implement policies and procedures to monitor, assess and prevent the risk of non-compliance by you or any of your Associated Persons which shall be made available for immediate inspection upon our written demand and failure to implement policies and procedures which are, in our sole discretion, adequate shall be deemed a material breach of this Contract. You shall, immediately upon discovery, notify us of any breach or suspected breach by any employee or Associated Person of this clause4.2(d);
(e) have right to enter into this Contract and the assignment at clause 3.1 and have not previously assigned, licensed or otherwise disposed of or encumbered any of the Content; and
(f) are entitled to give all assurances, confirmations, waivers and agreements set out in this Contract to enable us and/or our Client to exploit the Content without making any further payment to you or any third party other than as expressly set out in this Contract or otherwise expressly agreed by us in writing.
You shall indemnify us on demand and hold us harmless from any and all claims, liabilities (including loss of profits, loss of business, depletion of goodwill and similar losses), costs, proceedings, damages and expenses (including legal and other professional fees and expenses) awarded against, or incurred by us or, where applicable, our Client, as a result of or in connection with:
(a) any alleged or actual infringement, whether or not under English law, of any third party’s intellectual property rights or other rights arising out of the use of the Content;
(b) any liability arising from your breach of your warranties under this Contract or other failure to perform your obligations as required by this Contract; or
(c) any liability arising as a result of your acts or omissions (or the acts or omissions of your Associated Persons).
The provisions of this clause 4 shall survive termination of this Contract, however arising.


You undertake, for the duration of this Contract and afterwards, to keep strictly confidential all confidential matters disclosed to you by us relating to us, our Client or the Client’s products. Confidential matters will normally include (but are not limited to): your engagement by us and the terms of this Contract, details of the campaign for which the Content is required, all information concerning the Client’s products which are not already in the public domain and all information related to the Client’s advertising and marketing plans. You undertake to ensure that all Associated Persons and other third parties to whom it may be necessary to disclose confidential matters for the purposes of performing your obligations under this Contract undertake to keep such matters strictly confidential.


We may terminate this Contract for any reason upon thirty (30) days written notice to you, in which case we will pay you an appropriate proportion of the Fee for any Content created and delivered to us up to the date of such notice.
Without prejudice to any other rights and remedies available to us under this Contract or otherwise, we may terminate this Contract immediately if:
(a) you are found to be in breach of an obligation under this Contract and, if the breach is capable of remedy, fail to remedy the breach within five (5) days of receipt of a notice from us requiring remedy of the breach;
(b) a petition is presented for an administration or winding up order against you or a receiver, administrative receiver or manager is appointed over any of your assets or an order is made or a resolution passed for your winding up or if you enter into any composition with your creditors or if any of these appear to us to be likely to happen;
(c) for any other reason whatsoever it appears to us that you may become unable to perform your obligations under this Contract or to perform them within the agreed time period.
In the event we terminate this Contract under clause 7.2 you shall reimburse to us all additional costs incurred by us and/or by the Client in obtaining the Content from an alternative supplier.
Termination of this Contract, howsoever arising, shall be without prejudice to the rights, remedies and duties of the parties prior to termination.

Anti-bribery and corruption

You shall ensure that, in relation to this Contract and general business practices, neither you, nor any of your Associated Persons, engage in any activity, practice or conduct which may constitute an offence under any applicable Anti-Corruption Laws. In particular, you shall not, and will ensure that any Associated Persons do not offer or pay to, or solicit or receive from any other person (including public and government officials) or company, any bribe with the intent to obtain an advantage in the conduct of the business or cause another person to improperly perform their duties or to induce any person to perform those duties which they are required to perform in the course of their employment.
As part of your internal measures to ensure compliance under this clause 8, you shall maintain and implement policies and procedures to monitor, assess and prevent the risk of breaching Anti-Corruption Laws by you or any of your Associated Persons. Such policies and procedures shall be made available for immediate inspection upon our written demand and failure to implement policies and procedures which are, in our sole discretion, adequate shall be deemed a material breach of this Contract.
You shall, immediately upon discovery, notify us of any breach or suspected breach by any employee or Associated Person of this clause 8 and/or any Anti-Corruption Law.


Except as agreed by us in writing, no element of the performance of this Contract may be sub-contracted by you and you may not assign or otherwise transfer any rights and/or obligations under these terms without our prior written consent.
These Terms and Conditions shall apply to the exclusion of all other terms and conditions contained in any document, which have not been authorised and signed by us.
Nothing in this Contract is intended to, nor shall be deemed to, constitute a partnership or joint venture of any kind between the parties, and no party shall have authority to act as agent for, or to bind the other party in any way.
No variation of this Contract shall be valid unless it is in writing and signed by, or on behalf of, each of the parties.
A waiver of any right under this Contract is only effective if it is in writing and it applies only to the circumstances for which it is given. No failure or delay by a party in exercising any right or remedy under this Contract or by law shall constitute a waiver of that (or any other) right or remedy, nor preclude or restrict its further exercise. No single or partial exercise of such right or remedy shall preclude or restrict the further exercise of that (or any other) right or remedy.
For the purposes of this Contract, all notices, invoices and other communications shall be transmitted to the parties at the addresses in the Content Order form or as otherwise notified to the other party in writing from time to time.
Unless specifically provided otherwise, rights arising under this Contract are cumulative and do not exclude rights provided by law.
This Contract may be executed in any number of counterparts, each of which when executed shall be an original and together shall constitute one and the same instrument. This Contract shall not be effective until each party has executed at least one counterpart.
This Contract and any claim or dispute arising out of or in connection with it (including non-contractual disputes and claims) shall be governed by and construed in accordance with English law and each party irrevocably submits to the exclusive jurisdiction of the English courts.

Contact Us

If you have any questions about these Terms, please contact us.

Adding the Verlocal Calendar on Your Facebook Business Page

Want your Facebook audience to seamlessly check your availability and book right away? With the Verlocal calendar, this is simpler than ever before.

In just minutes, add the Verlocal calendar to your Facebook page to display your availability and provide a super-quick way for your customers and clients to book.

Just follow these steps and you’ll be converting your Facebook audience into loyal customers in no time!

1. Go to and sign up for a Facebook Developer account when prompted.

  1. With your account set up, click on the green “+ Add a New App” button.

2. A pop-up window will appear, name the display “Calendar”, enter in your email address, select “Apps for Pages”, and click on the “Create App ID” button.

3. Once you create the App ID, you will be taken to a new page.

Open your note-taking application and copy the App ID as seen on the top of the website and paste it your note-taking application. Leave this note-taking application open as you will need to reference this information later.

Next, on the left side of the page you are taken to, click on “Settings”. Then, click on the “+ Add Platform” button near the bottom of the page.

4. A new window will pop up. You will have to set up two of these platforms, but first click on “Facebook Canvas”.

5. Next, let’s go to to get your Verlocal Calendar URL.  Click on Copy or Embed Code button and copy the URL of your Verlocal Calendar. The url will look like this:

Copy your Verlocal Calendar URL and paste it into the note-taking application that you have opened.

Next, come back to the page that you were directed to after click Facebook Canvas. Paste your Verlocal Calendar URL into the field underneath “Secure Canvas URL”. Then, click on “Save Changes”.

6. Scroll down and click on the “+ Add Platform” button again. This time, click on “Page Tab” when the pop-up window appears.

7. Paste your Calendar URL again onto the “Secure Page Tab URL” field, name the tab (what your audience will see when they visit your Facebook page), and click on “Save Changes”.

8. Now, with your note-taking application opened, let’s make changes to this URL below:

Copy and paste the URL above into your note-taking application.

  • Delete the YOUR_APP_ID portion and replace it with your App ID that we copied down in Step 3.
    (If you can’t find your App ID, you can always go to
  • Delete the YOUR_URL portion and replace it with your Verlocal Calendar URL that we copied down in Step 5.

9. Copy the link you have edited into your browser. It will look like the picture below and click enter.

10. You will be taken to a confirmation page to add your page tab. Click on the “Add Page Tab” button.

11. You should now be able to see your Calendar tab in the page directory on the left side of the page.

12. Go to your page settings and arrange your tab ordering so that the “Calendar” tab is where you’d like it to appear in the order.

13. Go back to and click on the Calendar app. Choose “App Review” from the menu on the left and toggle the “Make Calendar public?” button so that it says “Yes”.

14. This is the final product when you are finished!

Have questions? Need help?

Contact our support team at!

Verlocal Calendar: The Only Calendar Booking System For Your Business

Introducing Verlocal Calendar

Verlocal Calendar is one of the first business software tool we are releasing as part of our goal to empower individual and local businesses. Having worked with thousands of one-person, local and small businesses, we understand that managing schedules, bookings and communicating with your customers is one of the most time-consuming business activity.

Beyond a marketplace, Verlocal have been continually developing and providing online business tools to help you succeed in your venture. We are proud to announce Verlocal Calendar as our effort to provide a one-stop booking system solution for your business.

With Verlocal Calendar, you can:

  1. Have total control and organization of your events
    Easily manage your event’s availability, booking dates, and times directly on your own website.
    Change a date or availability?  Automatically see changes updated everywhere including Verlocal Marketplace.
  2. Reach an endless potential of guests
    Whether the user is a Verlocal user or not, they are able to purchase and sign up for your event directly through Calendar.
  3. Improve your guest’s and your own booking experience
    Get an intuitive Calendar that users can easily browse and purchase events from – and where you can quickly update event details.
  4. Integrate the calendar in less than 5 minutes.
    Get started right away with a link and have a beautiful Verlocal Calendar directly integrated to your website.


This is an example of our calendar being integrated into a host’s website. Without the need to login onto other platforms or websites, the host can directly edit the bookings, availability and scheduling.

An intuitive booking experience for all customers and Verlocal users

Customers can book on your website with seamlessly and an intuitive user interface.

Try out a live calendar for one of our host, Urban Sprouts:


If you require further technical assistance, feel free to contact us as

Through her struggles she discovered her true passion

“I keep moving forward because I don’t have a choice. If I’m not helping people and pushing the limits I feel like I’m dying. Who wants to feel like that?!”

Lane Kennedy was born and raised in San Francisco, CA. She gained a modeling contract that lasted for more than two decades and was earning more money than she can ever need. Needless to say, she became successful at an early age and was living an extraordinary life but that soon changed.

In the year 1996, it seemed that life perfect and everything was going her way, except for her failing health. She began to feel sick all the time, started missing work, dealing with life and daily task were becoming a drag. She began to get depressed and couldn’t get anything done and didn’t know what was the source of her sickness. She visited many of the best doctors in Beverly Hills and all of them told her the same thing, “Not sure why your white blood count is so low, not sure why you are so achy…not sure why you are actually living, all arrows point to A.I.D.S” and she would end up heading hope confused and with no answers.

One day she decided to do some research and made the decision that she was done with traditional doctors. She started hacking her internal system, gave different types of vitamins and potions a try to see if they would help improve her health. Nothing was working until 2003 when she starting changing her diet to better fulfill her nutritional needs. She began to understand how what she put into her body affected her health and she began to feel better!

She started to heal her own body! Over the years doctors told her should wouldn’t be able to do certain things because of her health issues and said that she wouldn’t be able to carry a child but in October of 2009, she gave birth to a healthy baby boy. She ate what her body asked for and through better nutrition she was able to improve her health! Through her struggles, she discovered that her true purpose in life was to help people become better versions of themselves and bring out the best out of them. Thus she created Upgraded Woman and became a Certified Bulletproof Coach.

Hi Lane, can you introduce yourself and tell us more about the experiences that you offer through Verlocal?

At the end of the day, I’m a wellness advisor with 20+ years of biohacking experience which has led me to help 1000s of people every month as a Certified Bulletproof Coach.  If you’re walking around tired, stressed out, broken, and can’t quite figure out how to feel better while your doctor tells you you’re fine… I’m going to help you find a way with one of my classes:

•Bulletproof your Meal, Change your plate change your health  — we spend 3+ hours cooking together talking about your body’s bio-individuality and it’s needs to become more resilient, healthy and strong.

•Values + You = Fulfilling Presence Based Life — we spend 2.5 hours together where you learn how to destress your life at any given moment about any subject. Traffic has you stressed, NO MORE.  Kids have you stressed, NO more…

•How to be the sexiest person in the room! This is a fun two-hour class where you learn the skills of owning the room and making an impact.

Tell us about your background: When did you first become inspired to do what you love?

I have been in business my whole life, started in the fashion world, modeled, built businesses, consulted, and then got very sick which led me on my health journey. Helping people has always been a priority for me, and I understand the subtle difficulties that we face every day when we are not feeling right. I love helping women find their own “right”!

What does your passion mean to you?

JUST DO IT. It means everything- If I’m not helping people change I’m not doing my job and I feel horrible! Being a Coach and creating Upgraded Woman reaches women in a positive way, allowing everyone who is in it know that they are not alone in figuring out their way to health and happiness.

What made you want to pursue your passion and become a host?

I was tired of women asking the same questions, and hearing the same symptoms. “I’m tired, I’m stressed, I can’t lose this weight…” I love sharing with women and watching the lights come on, so to speak, with how easy it can be to change habits and become the healthiest, brightest, woman in the room, and not be stressed out anymore. Being a host allows me to have a personal connection with others, I love it!

Tell us about your biggest achievement since you started Upgraded Woman and Bulletproof Coach.

There are so many. Helping a woman become fertile, and getting pregnant, that’s a highlight. Creating a community of women who share a common goal, seeking their own wellness. Um, what else, oh, saving a woman $125,000.00 on a business decision, and watching her confidence grow as she became aware of her strengths and Presence. That was a really great experience!!

What was your biggest challenge when you first started your business?

Announcing what I do and educating people on what it is that I can do to help them achieve more in their life. People tend to think, oh she’s just another LIFE Coach, and there is nothing wrong or bad with being a life coach. My training and experience are beyond the typical life coach, I deal with an individual’s brain and the empirical case studies and science on changing the neural pathways. This changes everything!

What inspires you to continue building and improving your business?

We, our society is sick. I see it every day, people are tired, stressed, over teched, and eating food that is not feeding the body properly. We need change, and I only hope to inspire and help people make the personal change that they need to live a healthy satisfying life.

What are your goals for the future and what advice can you give to people who want create a business from doing what they love?

Making sure that everyone has an opportunity to be healthy. Create the Upgraded Woman Retreat! Dig in and don’t stop. Keep pivoting until your business hits the sweet spot with people.

What does Verlocal mean to you?

Awesome people and community. I love being a part of the community and sharing with like-minded local. I truly believe in the front porch theory and this is kind of like getting back to it.

Join Lane this Saturday, June 24th and learn how to listen and take care of your body at her Wellness Unplugged class – hurry there are limited spots left!!

Her love for plants as a child led her to pursue her passion and bring greenery into urban life

"I get a lot of satisfaction out of being able to show someone something new that they didn’t know before...For me, that’s teaching people to be confident about caring for plants."

Getting her hands dirty in the garden was a common sight for Jen ever since she fell in love with gardening at a young age. With a special spot in her mother's vegetable garden specially designated for her, Jen started growing veggies, flowers and all greens growable. Her strong passion for planting and growing eventually led her to take the next step in life, where she went on to study Environmental Sciences in college and was even involved in several non-profit projects like farmland preservation and urban food production.

And it's not just about all things green for Jen - running her own business has always been on the back of her mind as well. With her inner DIY-er and entrepreneur self, a successful shop on Etsy selling star-shaped lanterns was launched. Not long after, Jen proceeded to take on a management role in a wholesale garden supply company. Though it was a valuable opportunity, something about the office life was just not for Jen. This realization became a turning point for Jen as she decided to quit her job, and pursue her true passion for plants and running her own business!

With this goal deeply rooted in mind and months of hard work, Jen launched a successful fundraising campaign and realized her dream of making peoples' lives greener in her very own shop. Keep reading to learn about Jen's story of how her passion led her to build a career around what she loves in her classes today!

Hi Jen, can you introduce yourself and tell us more about the experiences that you offer through Verlocal?

My name is Jen. I’m the owner of Urban Sprouts in downtown Renton! Urban Sprouts is a combination of all the things I love: organic gardening, crafts, plants, community, and hand-made treasures. My mission is to make it easy and fun for people to bring greenery and DIY into urban life. It can be difficult to know how to care for and incorporate plants into our small busy urban lifestyles and the benefits of having them around are boundless!

We offer fun hands-on classes, post-care support and oodles of fun and easy ways to display and care for plants; and 3 - 4 classes a week on a variety of topics meant to be fun and inspiring! Our most popular are living succulent frames, terrarium building, soap making, bonsai, kokedama,  and our yoga, mimosas and terrariums class. We love being a part of the Verlocal community to not only help our customers find other great experiences offered by other hosts in our area but for others to find us as well.


Tell us about your background: When did you first become inspired to do what you love?

Ever since I was a little kid I’ve loved being in the garden. Up to my elbows in dirt whenever I was able, my mom always gave me a spot in the garden that was mine to do with as I please. I grew everything and anything I could get my hands on. Flower, veggies, shrubs, you name it. This is where I found my love for plants and gardening.

In college, I studied Environmental Sciences and focused my studies on urban agriculture and sustainable resource use. I did numbers of internships where I worked with non-profit organizations on projects such as farmland preservation, wetland conservation, urban food production and more. These in combination with playing key roles in small businesses in nearly every employment position I ever held gave me the background and the tools to inspire me to start something of my very own.

I fell in love with small business as a hard-working kid around 8 years old. Babysitting, dog walking and house cleaning turned into supervising landscaping and house painting crews, being the assistant manager of a gift shop, and then running my own side business making and selling star-shaped paper lanterns in a fairly successful shop on Etsy and being featured in shops around town and doing private installations for weddings, nurseries, parties, and making custom light fixtures. The cherry that topped it off was being hired as an operations manager to run a wholesale garden supply company.

In 2015 after leaving my position as operations manager and being inspired to create something that I could get behind and that would benefit others, Urban Sprouts was born in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle, Washington (then under a different name). After 8 months the building the store called home was surprisingly announced to be torn down to make way for new development and we re-opened in the bigger more centralized location we now call home in downtown Renton.


What does your passion mean to you?

My passion is for helping others bring plants and handmade craft into their lives. Plants bring life, air quality, and joy into our concrete landscapes.

What made you want to pursue your passion and become a host?

At its formation, Urban Sprouts didn’t offer any classes. This came along a few months later when I decided it might be a good way to bring people into the store. But I’ve always loved teaching people and soon after starting to offer classes at the shop it became a major part of what we do!

I get a lot of satisfaction out of being able to show someone something new that they didn’t know before and to increase their confidence on a topic they may not have been very knowledgeable in. For me, that’s teaching people to be confident about caring for plants.

How would you describe the link between your classes and the community around you?

One of my very favorite parts of offering these classes is the community it builds around my business and in my town! Our location in Downtown Renton is an up and coming area and it's really amazing to be a hub in this community for people to get together and learn and make new connections.

We offer a place for people to get together and learn something new and be creative while getting expert hands on help. We also host private events and we’ve had some amazing birthday parties, baby showers, team building events, bachelorette parties and even parent-child events!

How long have you been living in Seattle? What would you recommend to someone who just moved to this city?

I’ve lived in Seattle my whole life. I was raised in Wallingford and have lived in a number of neighborhoods all over the area. Seattle is a great place is you love to explore and adventure. My best advice for someone who just moved here is to just get out and try some of the great things the city has to offer!

No matter what day of the week or month there’s always something fun to do. There’s amazing hikes, parks, museums, classes, shopping, dining, games.. you name it. Even just hanging out in a coffee shop and doing some people watching is a good time and you’ll learn a lot - maybe meet some great new friends!


Tell us about your favorite moment/ biggest achievement since you started teaching your classes.

I’ve really loved working hard and watching the size of our classes grow. Over time we’ve expanded our topics offered, brought in new instructors and really perfected our craft. I really love it when we get repeats. I am so in awe of the fact that we regularly get people who loved the first class they took with us so much that they take another and another. That’s been a really proud moment for me as both the business owner and one of the instructors.


What is your favorite piece of work & story behind it?

Every piece I make with plants has its own story. I love creating landscapes that emit different moods. But my favorite piece of work is the store itself. It's a place where I hope people feel at ease and happy and like they can learn and enjoy the aesthetics.

If you had unlimited materials/time, what would you create?

If I had all the time and resources in the world I would create a huge space that is a hybrid classroom, retail shop, and beautifully landscaped atrium! I love creating an experience for people who come into my store and being able to create a breathtaking space to learn, be inspired, create and building a community would be my ultimate goal!

What are your goals for the future?

Right now Urban Sprouts is still pretty new so everyone works really hard. I’d love to be able to compensate everyone for the tremendous amount of support and hard work we’ve put into making this become a reality. Soon we are expanding to have more of an online presence, offering more inspiration and even kits that mimic our classes for those living outside of our area. I also hope to open a second location eventually - I’m guessing that will take me about 5-6 years.

What does Verlocal mean to you?

Verlocal is a great platform for connecting people to great experiences! Verlocal has been a wonderful partner in making it easy for people to find our classes - and I love that it makes it possible for my customers to discover other wonderful topics to explore that are outside of my arena of expertise. I’m all about building community and I think Verlocal has been a great part of making that happen.

Do you have a quote that resonates with you the most? Share it with us and tell us what it means to you!

I don’t have a direct quote per say but I try to live by the motto that life is what you make of it. So every day I work to build the life I want to live and create a space that inspires me and others.


If you are a host on Verlocal and would love to feature on host spotlight, send us an email at with a short paragraph about why you want to be featured!

The Art of Keeping Cool

One simple question is the end all and be all to the art of keeping cool. But before we get into that, let’s begin by understanding how and why to apply it.  There comes a time, or more likely many times, when one is faced with circumstances that try his or her patience, nerves, or confidence. If you're like me (i.e., a chronic over-thinker with a lot of emotions and/or character flaws, depending on who is talking), these events occur on a rather regular basis.

Throughout my childhood, I was a bully's dream. I reacted to anything and everything, and vehemently. My intense reactions to stressors were nothing less than self-destructive. As a college student, I realized the error of my ways.


When I was in middle school, my local public library had a used book sale every afternoon. (Actually, they probably still do, but that is irrelevant because this story is set in circa-2004) Quite often, I would stop by on a regular basis and impulse buy as many $1 to $2 books as I had money for.

One such book was called The Art of Keeping Cool.

No, it wasn't a self-help book. It was some little-known fiction novel. And I actually never read it so this piece is not about what I learned from this book. What it is about is this: The Art of Keeping Cool.

Discover Relaxation & Rejuvenation Experiences Near You Now

From my 20-some years of experience being part-firecracker, part-Energizer bunny, the most valuable lesson I have learned is The Art of Keeping Cool. I only became a novice in this art in the last, say, 18 months.

But this skill, and some yoga, has been correlated to an immense increase in my own personal happiness and in that of my amazingly tolerant family and friends, who no longer have to spend hours reassuring me that so-and-so was completely out of line or that X is probably not mad at me because I said I was going to that social gathering and then I didn't go.

I call it, Practicing Perspective (patent pending).

"What the..." you say, as you wonder why you're taking advice from a neurotic twenty-something.

But, seriously, it works.

Practicing perspective means when you start getting riled up --- frustrated, annoyed, angry, embarrassed, disappointed, worried, guilty, etc., etc., etc. --- you stop and think:

"Will I care about this in a week? Month? Year?"

If the answer is "no" to any of those questions then whatever it is is just not worth stressing over. Practicing perspective means keeping your eye on the big picture and adjusting where your emotional priorities lie accordingly.

It's a simple method that works wonders. I imagine an incredible amount of hours a day would be more productively spent all over the world if everyone would follow this method.

So just to recap:

In the event of a stressful situation...

1.) Take a deep breath

2.) Think "Will this matter in..."

          a) One week?

          b) One month?

          c) One year?

If no, exhale, and move on.

Don't spend any further time worrying your pretty (or handsome) little head on it.
Your time can be better spent on worrying about all the things you answered "yes" to for options a, b or c!

Now go enjoy your life! Relax and keep cool with these activities:

Find Your Own Voice through Crafting with JungHwa

Have you ever had a dream — one that you’ve nurtured since childhood? This week, we met Junghwa, a NYC artist who teaches a variety of arts and crafts classes on Verlocal (from leather crafting, handmade embroidery, to seasonal felt toy making), in Brooklyn, a city where you can find inspiration everywhere and where people who look for or love art live. From her artwork, you can see the most adorable and direct expression from her heart about the love towards art, the city, and everything surrounding.

“I’ve wanted to be an artist since the very beginning of my memories,” Junghwa says. “I find and revisit my passion in arts whenever I come across an obstacle. I do get frustrated following my passion in arts & crafts sometimes, but I never give up.” Junghwa channels her artistic and innovative spirit not only to teach her skills to like-minded people in the city but also inspire and help them to find their own voice through the process.

Read on to learn about Junghwa’s story, her favorite moments from her classes, and what she has to say to all of you who want to start pursuing your own passions.

We are so excited to have you with us, Junghwa. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I am an illustrator and craftsperson based in NYC. As an illustrator, I have worked in editorial illustration, stationery, character design, and advertising for clients. Crafting is also one of my passions. I apply my tastes to objects with my boundless craft skills. I have retailers in USA and S.Korea and teach craft every weekend at Twigg’s Bindery, a bookbinding studio founded by Jonna Twigg. I mainly teach handmade embroidery and leather craft. Seasonally, I also teach toy making, felt flower, and candle making workshops. Last Spring, I taught a felt bouquet class for Mother’s Day. Also, I am going to open Christmas lantern and candle class for winter season. Instead of just teaching crafting skills, I lead people to find their purpose and character from my classes.

Where does your inspiration come from? What made you want to pursue your passion and become a host?

Inspiration is everywhere. Just being aware of where I live, what I see, and what I feel inspires me. I had had chances to teach before instructing classes at Twigg’s Bindery. Every time, my mind was filled with passion, especially about achieving an artistic goal. I am always aware of teaching opportunities. I got an email from Verlocal at the end of 2015. And I met Jonna in early 2016. These opportunities ended up with me opening class in Brooklyn and becoming a host on Verlocal.

How would you describe the link between your classes and the community around you?

The link between my classes and the community is natural. The city is one of the best places to practice art. Brooklyn is the place where people who look for or love art live. These cultures in the city represent my classes well. People who come to my classes are designers, writers, or simply fill their lives with art.

How long have you been living in New York? What would you recommend to someone who just moved to this city?

I have been living in New York since 2008. To anyone moving here, I recommend recognizing their purpose of moving to the city. This city has the best of everything: art, food, academics, finance, shopping, and etc. If you are a beer snob, try all of the bars and breweries in/near the city! Try to experience as much and meet as many people as you can!

Tell us about your favorite moment/ biggest achievement since you started teaching your classes.

Whenever my students master a specific point that they have difficulty with, I feel pleased to share in their satisfaction. Also, it is worth teaching when people create their own works with help from my instruction as well as their creativity. Though the purpose of my class is learning a particular skill, I also always focus on guiding my students to find their own voice.

What is your favorite piece of work & story behind it?

My favorite work is with flower bouquets. In spring, I launched a seasonal class for Mother’s Day. The class was about the basics of felt craft and how to apply said craft. Lots of sweet and lovely people attended the class. There were two guys in their mid-30’s who came in. They were planning to send their bouquets to Mexico and Ohio. With their huge hands, they made the most beautiful and lovely flowers for their moms. Some other impressive students were a mom and daughter couple from Chelsea. The mom made flowers for her mom and the daughter made flowers for HER mom. They all made one-of-a-kind bouquets for their most special person in the world.


What are your goals for the future?

My goal is communicating with more people in the world through my art. Living as a human means creating meaningful harmony with others. Having the ability to inspire people is a gift in life. Art contains an artist’s subconscious thoughts, whether it’s on purpose or not. And people interpret art with their own point of view. With my ability in visual language, I want to achieve my goal of inspiring others beyond using simple language.

Any recommendations to someone who wants to pursue their passion for a career?

Just do it and do not give up. Whether you fail or successfully achieve a goal, the experience and the journey are more important. Even if you fail, you can try again using what you learned on your journey.

What does Verlocal mean to you?

To me, Verlocal is an innovative and fresh bridge between the creative community and myself. Verlocal is an online community that also connects spreading communities in real life, all in one website. Verlocal also attracts a lot of young and creative people with their simple and fashionable interspace.

You can see Junghwa’s artwork across the world, from US to South Korea. But if you’re lucky enough to be living in New York or plan on visiting the city soon, you’ll be able to meet this awesome artist in person! If you’re feeling artsy, then keep an eye out for her embroidery workshop this weekend.

Keep up with her latest works by following her on Instagram andVerlocal!

All photos by Junghwa Park

Spice Up Your Culinary Journey with Chef Teena

Most of Chef Teena’s childhood was spent in the kitchen rather than at the playground. Watching the various dishes being cooked by her parents, and taking in the aromas, the creative aspect of culinary, and the spice profiles turned her on to the vast world of Indian cuisine. When she was 14, she was given a wonderful opportunity to work for a pizzeria & hoagies establishment. “My job was to make the pizza sauce. I knew then that cooking would be in my life’s journey in some capacity — one that I had yet to realize. Time would tell. And now, here I am today almost 3 decades later!”

Since then, Chef Teena has started her career as a Bay Area master chef teaching a variety of educational and belly-pleasing cooking classes (fromBasic Indian CookingIndian Street FoodNaan MakingVegan Cooking, toClassic Dessert). Her mission is to teach students dishes that they thought were beyond their scope and see how delighted they are with the fact that Indian cuisine does not have to be intimidating.

This week, we reached out to Chef Teena to know more about her stories, from her childhood to how she started her childhood dream as a chef, and how she decided to share her passion by teaching classes.

Hi Chef Teena, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I began to offer professional culinary instruction in my community during my undergraduate & graduate college years, and I continued pursuing my passion for the last decade teaching vegetarian & vegan (Indian-inspired) cuisine in the San Francisco Bay Area at Stanford University as a Chef Consultant,Whole Foods Market Salud Cooking & Lifestyles School in San Mateo as a Chef Instructor, and I have taught many private individuals. More recently, I partnered with Verlocal to offer culinary experiences. And in May of this year, I launched my passion project; a cooking school called Explore Culinary Arts in Redwood City, CA.

I am so happy to be able to share my knowledge and obsession of providing an awareness of plant-based foods and the medicinal benefits of Indian spices, holistic eating for mind and body, sustainability of wholesome foods, and giving your body the nourishment & essentials that it needs. Cooking is quite simple — use fresh & seasonal ingredients, add spice, and feel nourished. I can certainly help you with your curiosity of Indian cuisine and create the presence & appreciation of Indian food in your cooking repertoire for your loved ones. I keep things simple and create enthusiasm throughout the whole process. Indian food doesn’t have to be intimidating to cook. Bring it, I’ll teach you!

Where does your inspiration come from? What made you want to pursue your passion and become a host.

My family migrated from India in the 70s and my parents got involved in the food industry by circumstances. Their experience was from a multitude of cuisines from managing an interstate roadside establishment to a Steak House. Their culinary journey ended at our full-fledged Indian restaurant in the Midwest.

My inspiration stems from my parents. I was witness to their labor of love in the kitchen and the hues & scents of the food, created a passion within me and become a part of my being.

So for the past 20+ years, I have taught cooking as a hobby and have enjoyed every minute of it, especially experiencing the joys my students showed from learning about Indian cuisine. And, so partnering with Verlocal made perfect sense as it would be another platform in which I could continue to share & pursue my passion.

How would you describe the link between your classes and the community around you?

Living in the San Francisco Bay Area with diverse ethnic backgrounds, cuisines & interests in food, I believe that Indian cookery aligns well in this multi-cultural community.

How long have you been living in the Bay Area? What would you recommend to someone who just moved to the city?

I have lived in the Bay Area since 2002. I would highly recommend trying new things. Get to know your neighbors, the community, the various resources, history, arts/culture/music, the sciences, the natural beauty of the Bay Area, and of course, explore & experience the food scenes in different cultural pockets.

Tell us about your favorite moment / biggest achievement since you started teaching your classes.

My biggest achievement would be winning a national TV food competition for the Live Well Network’s Food Rush show Home Chef Showdown (summer grilling appetizer cook-off) in 2014, and starting up a cooking school in the mid-Peninsula (Redwood City) in partnership with Atherton Appliance & Kitchens this past May (2016).

I recently had a favorite moment teaching a family night class with parents & their two little children: a boy and a girl, ages eight and five.

The bonding between the parents and the siblings was heartfelt and I enjoyed the kids’ naïve nature toward cooking and their sense of pride with their accomplishments and efforts. It was a magical evening filled with learning, fun, and love.

What your goals for the future?

My long time dream is to author a cookbook and to have a plant-based cooking show on the Food Network (or some other food channel).

Any recommendations to someone who might want to start their own business?

Don’t be afraid to learn, to encounter challenges, to work hard, and to make mistakes along the way. Be patient, flexible, and consistent. Momentum is key and a positive attitude is critical. Hold onto your dream and push every day to make it a reality. Seek support from people you can trust and want to see you successful. Don’t give up!

What does Verlocal mean to you?

It’s an experience. The partnership allows me to expand & market my services to the local community. It’s an avenue to reach out to like-minded individuals that are interested in learning to cook. Spreading the word together is a win-win!

For many years, Chef Teena has fully dedicated herself to inspiring and teaching people, and sharing her obsession of Indian cuisine by providing numerous unforgettable culinary experiences to the community. Cooking has become as natural and as important as eating, sleeping, and breathing for her. For those of you who are reading, whether you’re a fan of Indian cuisine, vegan cuisine, or just cooking, it’ll be a delightful experience to learn and interact with Chef Teena. If you’re feeling hungry, then don’t forget to check out her classes this week!

What is your favorite Indian recipe/dish? Share this post & tell us below! (We will pick one lucky commenter next Wednesday to receive 1000 free points!)

Keep up with her latest mouthwatering classes and recipes by following her on Verlocal!

All photos from Teena Arora

Fuel Your Creativity with LA Jewelry Artist, Christy

“I have enough jewelry” — No One

This is our favorite quote from our featured host today, Christy Sears. It’s not hard to tell how much she loves jewelry. After Christy moved from Texas to LA, she kicked off her career and passion project at a bead store within the walking distance of her apartment. When you are the kind of person who always has lots of creative energies flowing around you, you will eventually reach an “Aha!” moment to put them all together and spark a new chapter of your life. And that’s how Christy’s story began.

As a former VP of Consumer Engagement in a corporate company, Christy made a decision to expand the limits of her creativity from a cubicle to her own jewelry studio. Since then, she has spent several years filling in blanks with personal experiences and crazy experimentation. From time to time, Christy’s Me-Studio grows into a We-Studio to offer a wide breadth of jewelryclasses — from Jewelry Skills, CastingSolderingSetting Stones, toMetalsmithing, etc. It has built up a community of like-minded jewelry artists through Christy and her students sharing their passions & experiences with each other.

Learn about her story (when she fell in love at first sight with jewelry art), the secret behind her endless creativity, and how she has been able to establish her own little community in SoCal with her students below.

Hi Christy, we’re happy to have you here. Can you introduce yourself and tell us about the classes that you offer through Verlocal?

Hi! I’m Christy Sears and I have a problem. I’m a complete metal head. Literally. I can’t get enough sterling silver or gold! Which is convenient since I’m the Circus Ringleader and Soldering Instructor at The August Axel Jewelry Studio, in Venice, CA..

The Studio and classes were designed to serve a range of skills and interests, from talented tinkerers to advanced artists. We offer Jewelry Soldering,MetalsmithingAlternative Casting Methods, Setting Stones, Cold Connections, Knotting, Wire-Wrapping, and more.

When did you first become interested/passionate in Jewelry art?

When I first moved to SoCal from Texas, I needed to find supplies to fuel my creative energy. Fortunately for me (but unfortunately for my wallet!), there was an amazing bead store within walking distance of my apartment. I took a few foundational “Jewelry Skills” classes: beading, wire-wrapping, and knotting.

Flash-forward a few years and these skills, while fun, were NOT enough! The next level of “creative-crack” was developed at OTIS, where I learned metalsmithing and jewelry fabrication. That was my Aha! Moment. I finally discovered the skills that intensely engaged my brain and hands. I was hooked!

I spent the next several years filling in blanks with personal experiences and crazy experimentation. I would constantly ask myself, “Hmm. I wonder what would happen if…”

Where does your inspiration come from? What made you want to pursue your passion and become a host?

I went from being VP of Consumer Engagement at a marketing agency to President of Creating a Better Life Balance While Pursuing My Passion. So literally, with every class that students book through Verlocal, I’m saved from the evil jaws of The Corporate Cubicle.

In addition, through the process of personal trial-and-error, I now have a wealth of knowledge to share. Since I’m the caretaker-type, I want our students to avoid the same mistakes that I made. For example, learning why you should never get cocky and wear flip-flops while soldering. Which tools are a waste of money. What glue is best for knotting. The best — and not so best — way to cure a crucible, etc.

And finally, I. LOVE. MAKING JEWELRY. Here’s my favorite quote to sum it up nicely:

“I have enough jewelry” — No One

How would you describe the link between your classes/products and the community around you?

I live and work in Venice, which is an inherently creative community. From funky to fabulous, crunchy to couture. This environment is a constant source of inspiration.

I’m also thrilled with the community we’re building through our classes. Our Verlocal students are passionate about learning and are excited to share their latest works with us and each other.

To foster this kinship in the New Year, we’re planning an Open House for students where they can connect with each other to show-off their latest work, share tips for getting noticed and deepen relationships with like-minded jewelry artists.

How long have you been living in LA? What would you recommend to someone who just moved to this city?

I’ve lived in Venice for 16 years. Maybe 17. (Hmmm. Time flies…) Long enough that I consider myself to be a Texafornian. A piece of my heart for my Home State and another part for my adopted home.

My best advice is to get out there and explore! No really, literally, get out-of-doors! We have beautiful weather all year long, so go for a hike, play in the surf, support your local farmers market, ride Big Thunder Mountain at Disneyland (and scream/giggle the whole ride!).

But my all-time, favorite thing to do is to have “The Quintessential LA Evening” at the Hollywood Bowl. So, I’m going to sound like your Mama and remind you to bring a sweater because, when the sun goes down, it gets chilly. But as a potential new BFF, I’m going to remind you to bring a few bottles of bubbly! (Trust me! You’re welcome.)

Tell us about your favorite moment/ biggest achievement since you started teaching your classes.

I’m most proud of expanding from a Me-Studio to a We-Studio. There are now 4 of us who teach a wide breadth of jewelry-related classes. Jewelry Skills, Casting, Soldering, Setting Stones, Metalsmithing, etc.

Each of our Instructors has a wealth of knowledge, loads of bench-experience, endless patience…and a wicked sense of humor!

Pam L. :: Alternative Casting Instructor, Rock-Hound and Lapidary Artist

Katherine M. :: Jewelry Skills Instructor and a strong believer in Color Theory

Wendy W. :: Metalsmithing Skills Instructor, Creative Force

Our common thread — and the fuel for many planning sessions — is that we recognize a deficit within most jewelry courses. Many teach “how” but not “why.” Let’s face it, not all artists are able to parlay their knowledge into easy-to-understand actions. So that became our major point of differentiation, which also fuels our passion. We make sure we are raising up creative, secure, safe and knowledgeable jewelry artists.

What is your favorite piece of work & story behind it?

The love of a piece really stems from the depth of skills that went into it. So with that in mind, there are 3 that I adore! (But this feels like choosing a favorite child. YIKES!)

The first is a Native American-inspired naja pendant with 3 Royston Turquoise cabs. It took 17 individual joins to complete the piece so it solidified in my mind, that I had achieved a very high proficiency level with a torch. (AKA Total Bad Ass in my own mind!)

Next is an ancient coin that was my first official prong-setting. And then, last week, I returned to the simple pleasure of metalsmithing. A friend gave me some copper flashing and said, “here, let’s see what you can make with this.” So I stamped and sawed until it became a boho-chic feather. Which then evolved into a graceful cuff. I love its simple beauty, texture and flowing lines.

What are your goals for the future?

Our short-term goal is to list new Holiday-themed classes on Verlocal, a.k.a. a “DIY Holiday Series.” So, we’ll provide the space, tools, materials and instruction to get it done. Beautifully.

Long term, our plan is to continue catering to the needs of our students. As they develop in their learning paths, and deepen their abilities and interests, we’ll develop course offerings that help them reach the next-level of success.

What does Verlocal mean to you?

Verlocal is our official partner! First, they manage the bookings and payments, while we focus on developing and teaching classes.

Second, Verlocal delivers qualified leads directly to the Studio doorstep! And the people we’ve hosted have been really cool and very interesting. They love to learn and have fun. (And frankly, we’re having a blast, too!)

Any recommendations to someone who might want to start their own business?

Every day, push your business forward. Whether it’s a small step, like tweaking your SEO, or adding to your social media streams or a deeper, more time-consuming action like building a website.

Every. Day. Boom. (Mic drop. Didja feel that??)

If you happen to be obsessed with jewelry / metal just like Christy, we recommend meeting her in person when you visit beautiful Venice in SoCal. Never tried jewelry soldering before but your inner DIYer/metal head is calling you right now? Then her classes is what you need. Keep up with her latest works by following her Website and Verlocal profile.

All photos by Christy Sears

From 9/20–9/28, comment under this post and share with us: What is the biggest “Aha!” moment in your life?

One lucky commenter will receive a 1,000 reward cash from Verlocal!

Write Your Way to a Life of Calligraphy with Seattle Artist, Sarah

People always say your handwriting says a lot about you. If you are looking at Pinterest or Instagram these days, it’s not hard to tell that calligraphy is having a big comeback right now. Forget about Helvetica (or the font you are typing in) just for a while, go pick up your pen and start creating a personal, elegant touch on the cards you’re about to send to your friends, the gift you plan on giving to your family, your wall art pieces, and more.

The moment your pen touches the paper, you will feel the joy of art again, and fall in love with the beauty of calligraphy just like our featured host today,Sarah Ward, a Seattle calligrapher (aka one of our favorite calligraphers of all time) who teaches a variety of hand-lettering classes on Verlocal.

“I took my first calligraphy class in the sixth grade — my teacher at the time introduced the class to Old English calligraphy and I was hooked!” says Sarah. “As an avid journaler, I have always had an affinity for pen and paper, and my love of typography grew as time went on.”

Read on to learn more about Sarah’s journey (from learning calligraphy art to starting her own business based on her passion), her all time inspirations, and her beautiful artworks!

Hey Sarah, we are so excited to have you with us! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’m Sarah, a calligrapher and stylist based in the Seattle area. I do calligraphy for weddings, small businesses, and editorials, and teach a variety of calligraphy classes, including pointed pen, brush lettering, watercolor calligraphy, and design.

Your works are amazing! When did you first become interested/passionate in calligraphy art?

I took my first calligraphy class in the sixth grade — my teacher at the time introduced the class to Old English calligraphy and I was hooked! As an avid journaler, I have always had an affinity for pen and paper, and my love of typography grew as time went on. A few years ago in the dead of winter I was feeling listless, looking for something to sink my teeth into and I rediscovered calligraphy with a modern twist! I studied with a renowned calligrapher and hand letterer, which really set me on this trajectory. Since the style of modern calligraphy I loved wasn’t available in Seattle at the time, I decided to create a calligraphy curriculum for the community here. Having taught piano for 10 years, I love teaching, so classes came together really organically. I’m pleased to report that over 150 people have come through my calligraphy classroom in the last year!

Where does your inspiration come from? What made you want to pursue your passion and become a host?

I am wildly inspired by Girl Bosses and people who seem to extract more hours of the day than most of us enjoy. That kind of focus and commitment is awe-inspiring. For visual inspiration, Pinterest and Instagram are my digital go-to’s. I had the pleasure of studying with Molly Jacques and I’m constantly amazed at her artistry. Every time I see her work I get lit up to try new ideas.

How would you describe the link between your classes and the community around you?

Having a creative community is an essential ingredient for me, so at the beginning of the year, I launched a calligraphy meetup in Seattle. We have free monthly meetings that are open to the public as a way to connect, inspire, and be inspired. It’s been such a treat to connect to bond with other inspiring people and to witness friendships bloom over calligraphy.

How long have you been living in Seattle? What would you recommend to someone who just moved to this city?

I moved to Seattle nearly five years ago and it’s become my home. There is such a hotbed of culture and creativity and plenty of opportunities to develop new skills. For people new to Seattle, tap into the community around you! Come to our calligraphy meetup! Get outside and enjoy the outdoors! And don’t forget to get out of dodge and take little day trips to the surrounding cities — Vancouver, Canada (my hometown!), Victoria, BC, and Portland, OR.

Tell us about your favorite moment/ biggest achievement since you started teaching your classes.

It’s always a treat to have students return to my class for an encore and, lately, I’ve seen some remarkable work come from my students! I’m so proud of them and their tenacity!

What is your favorite piece of work & story behind it?

Last year I got together with Seattle photographer Austin Tott and we created a series call #thewrittencollection, a collection of calligraphy and hand lettering that we co-styled together. It was a really organic collaboration where we began with the big picture in mind and then went backwards to find the quotes and lettering styles that would support the vision. Austin is one of my favorite creatives in Seattle and it was a true pleasure to co-create this imagery with him.

What does Verlocal mean to you?

Verlocal is literally the lifeblood of my teaching business. Verlocal gets me in front of my target audience every day and you make it so easy for people to make the decision to learn a new skill. I owe so much of my success to this phenomenal platform and am thrilled with the results and growing momentum! I’m always recommending Verlocal to folks who are starting businesses or looking for fun things to do around town.

What are your goals for the future?

I’m excited to take my classes online, create a font, and do more editorial lettering!

Any recommendations to someone who might want to start their own business?

Network, network, network! To succeed, you need to be seen and networking is a great way to connect with your community and be a resource for people around you. If you’re starting a business, don’t do it alone! Get together with a like-minded friend for business brainstorm sessions. It’s so helpful to get a second eye on your work or business plan and it will light a fire within you to press on and keep on. For the full-time entrepreneur, there are great workspaces around town that you can plug into so you can stay connected to your community.

Starting to get more interested in learning more about calligraphy? Or have you already saved a list of your favorite calligraphy works? If so, take this chance to take one of her calligraphy classes (pointed penbrush lettering,watercolor calligraphy, etc.) and meet this amazing calligrapher in person! Besides offering her regular classes, Sarah also likes to collaborate with other talented individuals/businesses to set up special workshops, so don’t forget tokeep up with her latest works by following Verlocal and her website.

All photos by Sarah Ward

Behind the Scenes with Seattle Leather Artist, Caitlin

Today, we visit our host Caitlin at her studio in Seattle to observe a day in the life of a leathercraft artist and see what her classes have to offer.


About Caitlin:

I’m a full-time leathercraft artist, mother, and author of “Leathercrafted.” I’m a certified leathercraft master.

I started Moxie & Oliver in 2014 out of a desire to create leather accessories that were as durable as they were beautiful. After eleven years making leather goods, and with the original pieces still in use (and looking amazing), I have accomplished that and so much more. Teaching leathercraft classes out of my studio allows me to share my love of the craft, my knowledge of the process and history, and my original techniques for adding pattern and color, with interested students.

Classes are open to anyone age 12 and older. My unique process allows anyone, artistic background or not, to be able to create a beautiful, functional, leather good in an afternoon, a day or a weekend. Come with an open mind and a rough idea of what you’d like to accomplish — with your inspiration and my guidance, YOU will make something wonderful!

Classes Offered by Caitlin:

Small Project Workshop — Leathercraft

Handbag Making Workshop

Introduction to Leathercraft

Journal Making Workshop

5 Ways To Make June Gloom A Little Less Gloomy

With all the excitement over it finally beginning to be summertime the days that are gloomy can be a total bummer. Los Angeles is notorious for June Gloom, whether it burns off in the afternoon or, like most days lately, when it lasts the whole day. Here are 5 ways I’m breaking out of the June Gloom funk this season.

1. Netflix with friends

Remember those slumber parties you had when you were a little kid? Slumber bags, popcorn, movies? Well, it just so happens that this year's June Gloom coincides with the release of season 5 of Orange is the New Black. That’s right ladies; our favorite Ladies of Litchfield are finally BACK! What better way to spend a gray weekend in than binge-watching (and snacking) with your best girlfriends?


2. Try a new café

Nothing beats gray weather more than cozying up with a hot cup of tea or coffee. Why not make the most of this drab weather and try out a new local café? Sometimes it’s nice to break the routine and it’s easy to switch it up by trying a new coffee spot! It’s never fun to feel awkward when adventuring alone, but a café is a great place for this; you can bring your computer and sit with a hot drink while shooting out new emails in this new environment without feeling like you're all by yourself. It's a bonus that you'll get a feel for the ambiance of the place and who knows you could find your new go-to digs! An easy way to do this is type “café” with your city into your phone. Recently I was visiting San Diego for work and had a few hours to blow so I typed in “café San Diego” and found a cat café! I got to do some work emails while surrounded by adoptable cats for a few hours. It was a purrfect way to try a new adventure.


3. Get fun in the kitchen

When the weather isn’t all too bright outside, brighten up your insides with a new recipe! It's the perfect time to get creative in the kitchen without feeling guilty for not being out in the sunshine. I’m into experimenting with different soups lately as I'm totally loving this bone-broth trend. There are so many fun recipes online! It's exciting dabbling into something new and learning to prepare a new treat (and it's yummy too!).


4. Pinterest Boards

When I need to get out of a funk I try to prepare fun things to do when the weather perks up. My Pinterest board has been growing with new travel plans! There’s no better time to prepare for new adventures for sunny days than when I’m curled up inside escaping the gloom. It makes the gray season feel shorter when there’s something to look forward to. Right now my Pinterest is abuzz with local adventures here in Los Angeles, from the Old LA Zoo in Griffith Park to find a new read in The Last Bookstore! We finally had a sunny day recently and I took advantage of one of my Pinterest board activities - a hike to the top of the Hollywood sign! It felt so good to wake up to the sunshine and already have an adventure prepared.


5. Verlocal class with friends

Gather up your friends and try something NEW. That’s what Verlocal is for, isn’t it?! If you’re feeling down in this weather you can bet your friends are too so why don’t you plan a fun, new activity for everyone to try. Have you ever been glass blowing? What about a day learning how to make fresh French cuisine? The options are limitless with this website and that’s my favorite thing about it; there’s always something to fit my mood! Recently I checked out a pottery class and had a BLAST! Now I have two new beautiful plant pots in my house. Such a treat in this crummy weather!

Dinosaurs, Tall Tales, and Gem Heists: Museum Hack Tour of the Museum of Natural History

American Museum of Natural History. New York City. Meet in front of the giant dinosaur in the main lobby. In the midst of people milling around looking to get into the museum, our Museum Hack tour guide Emily Hoff greeted us, gave us our tickets and whisked us past the lines.

My husband and I were joined by another couple. Once we got to a quiet location, Emily gave us the lo-down on the museum and had us put our hands in like a pre-game rally."Muuuuu-seum!" we shouted. Partly embarrassed and partly excited for this unconventional way of seeing the museum, I knew this tour was going to be a bit different. I admit I was a bit skeptical at first. Geared towards millennials and corporate team-building for tech companies, Museum Hack is about changing the way we experience museums, hopefully boosting patronage and support from the next generation.

On paper, I thought it was a great idea for other people. Despite being at the tail-end of the millennial "definition," I definitely am used to the "old school" way of seeing museums. You walk around, admire some exhibits, read some signs, learn something and keep going.

I'm an introvert and am not exactly into the highly experiential, socially interactive way of being. To me, a day at the museum is a quiet time to relax and not talk to people.

So it was with a bit of apprehension and a sense of open-mindedness that I threw myself into the experience.

Boy, was I pleasantly surprised! Not only did I thoroughly enjoy Emily's storytelling, including some crazy stories about how the explorers over a hundred years ago got the specimens to the museum, I found that I retained a lot more information and had a lot of fun during our two hours together.

Even people who weren't part of our tour tried to follow us around because they were so entertained.

I decided to give three reasons why I enjoyed the tour and why even if you are apprehensive about seeing a museum in this way (especially if you've already been to the museum countless times), I'd recommend giving it a try.

Reason #1: Stories and more stories that stick to your mind.

Each Museum Hack tour guide writes their own tour. As a historian, museum exhibit creator and writer, Emily did some research to find out some of the behind-the-scenes stories that an official museum guide would never tell. Like how some of their most prized jewels in the gem collection were stolen as if straight from a James Bond movie, and the lengths the collectors and curators had to go to get some of the specimens into the building.

Reason #2: How do you best learn? Interactive is the way to go.

I'm a visual learner and also have some vision impairments that make it hard for me to read some of the exhibit placards, especially when it's dimly lit. My husband is a tactile learner and is a learning-by-doing kind of guy. Together, we discovered that we learned WAY more about everything from why Manhattan has taller buildings in some areas than others (think, schist!) to what museum administrators have to think about to maintain their collections and buildings (think, rats). Emily mixed some interactive exercises, scavenger hunts, and role-playing games that really helped us imagine we were back in the 1800s, scheming up ways to bring home specimens that people had never seen up-close before.

Reason #3: See the highlights of the entire museum in two hours.

You forget how big the American Museum of Natural History is until you get there and start walking around. We zoomed through the exhibits, stopping at specific points to gather close and hear Emily's stories before zooming off to the next one. By doing this, we were able to pack in all the highlights -- dinosaurs, ocean animals, gems, space rocks, and all the animals from different parts of the world. In fact, we even spent time at the bird exhibit which I think we never got to in most of my previous trips to the museum on my own!

At the end, we even wrote a postcard to our loved ones describing our adventure that Emily mailed out for us. It's been years since we've written a physical postcard. It brought us back to when we would make a point to share our meaningful experience with people we cared about.

I came away from this tour having learned something new, having experienced something familiar in a brand new way, and even more open-minded to try something out of the norm in the future.

Not a bad way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Can an “Open-Resource” Economy Solve Economic Inequality?

The Inevitable Wealth Gap Crisis

With the spread of Neoliberalism, many global and multinational corporations built upon the free market have flourished since the 1970s. And along with unprecedented economic growth, an unprecedented widening of the economic inequality gap happened. The gap between the rich and everyone else has been growing markedly for some 30 years, and 10% of people in the U.S. now own 90% of the the country’s wealth.

With the rise of Artificial Intelligence, many economists predict that one quarter of current jobs will be replaced by automation software or robots by 2025, and the wealth gap will increase even faster. Multinational corporations like Google and Uber have already developed commercial technology for self-driving cars, and Uber has already launched its self-driving fleet in Pittsburgh. In short, the situation will soon get worse for America’s middle and lower class households.


The Cause

The fundamental reason for the wealth gap and economic inequality is an asymmetry access to capital and information. Capitalism allows for individuals to pass their wealth down to the next generation and so on, causing the asymmetry of access to capital. Over decades, the concept of private property has proven to have a positive effect on economic development. However, when combined with the asymmetry of access to information and knowledge, it creates an unfair advantage against those who are not able to attain information in the same vein or as easily as others, causing opportunity inequality.

Here is a simple formula to represent how people can pile up their wealth.

Based on the formula, you can see that people can continue to accumulate wealth or lose it, depending on how they utilize given opportunities. At a first look, there doesn’t seem to be any particular issue with the formula. However, due to unequal access to information and knowledge, the operator is different for each person. This phenomenon allows for only a certain group of people to exponentially increase their wealth. When the formula for determining a person’s potential to generate wealth is different for each person, the concept of “fair play” becomes a moot point and could collapse the fundamental system that our credit based modern society is built upon.

Even though society cannot (and should not) interfere with inherited wealth and opportunities taken personally (implying risk), ways to utilize given capital resource and opportunities should be equal for everyone. 

The Solution

Since the introduction of the internet, extensive knowledge and information that used to be available only to a certain group of people have been published for the public. The internet and the following flow of free information online should help us solve the asymmetry of access to information and knowledge, right?

Contrary to expectations, it has worsened the wealth gap. Thanks to the Internet, corporations and large organization now collect information in vast quantities. Furthermore, because these parties have capital to begin with, they have resources to utilize the information that they are able to collect. For example, even though thousands of researchers have been working on Artificial Intelligence, only few entities such as Google and Uber are able to take advantage of the academic research. On the other hand, while individuals have access, they don’t have the resources to effectively make something of the information.

The solution isn’t as simple as making it easier for people to access information. We need to create a new type of infrastructure that provides a way for individuals to utilize resources in the same way that corporations and large organization can.


Efforts So Far

To address the issue at hand, new business concepts have been suggested.

For example, sharing economy-based businesses like AirBnB and Uber have been trying to tackle this problem by helping individuals utilize their physical assets, such as vehicles and properties. However, these businesses require people to own/lease vehicles or properties in the first place in order to add more value. Because of this reason, even though both companies have been able to successfully help individuals increase their earning potentials as a group, individuals are still limited by the fact that they need to own/lease a physical asset to start earning through the sharing economy. Consider this: what percentage of people in the U.S are home and vehicle owners? Because people still rely on initial capital to utilize the sharing economy concept, the wealth gap problem will persist. The problem will be closer to being solved when individuals are able to fully maximize their intangible assets as well.

People also consider freelance economy as another example of the solution. However, the freelance economy, in most cases, helps individuals market simple services, rather than helping them develop their skills and establish an individual brand. For example, many businesses taking advantage of the freelance economy list and market menial services, such as handyman or cleaning services.

The freelance market is highly dependent on the demand; the barrier to entry is low because there are too many people who can provide simple services. This prevents freelancers from being able to increase their market value, improve, and increase the potential value of their business. If someone needs to drive and clean for over 10 – 12 hours each day in order to make a living, they cannot invest their time and efforts to discover and develop their skills and talent. In the end, this cannot be a sustainable model, as these simple services will soon be tasked to AI.


Is It Possible to Reduce the Wealth Gap with Open-Resource Economy?

The sharing economy and freelance economy were created based on the needs of people suffering from economic inequality. In the case of both AirBnB and Uber, they were able to utilize a population that was still absorbing the effects of the recession. There wasn’t much of a choice for people who needed to continue to make a living at the time the two companies were established. Despite their success, AirBnB and Uber do not address the fundamental cause of economic inequality. While they have been able to contribute to reducing the wealth gap by helping individuals generate extra income, they are not the solutions, especially as their origins were an effect of the problem instead of attempts to solve inequality.

For this reason, there needs to be a new paradigm addressing the wealth gap – one that satisfies two conditions: 1) sustainability and 2) ability to help the population utilize intangible assets as well as tangible assets. We would like to dub this new model the “open-resource economy.”

Open-resource economy will be a new type of activity and movement encouraging individuals to utilize available resources in order to add value to society and their communities by creating and developing unique values and branding.  The concept not only covers utilizing tangible assets, but also embraces utilizing intangible assets. Its main purpose is to help individuals fully maximize their potentials by building their own brands and businesses, so that they can generate as much output as established businesses.

The current problem that society has is that only corporations can take advantage of new technologies developed and researched by others, while society expects the corporations to distribute their wealth to others. However, most of the wealth in society is being used to generate more profit for corporate shareholders. Furthermore, we cannot and should not force them to redistribute wealth.


New Efforts

The fundamental solution to this problem is to educate more individuals and help them realize their business potentials while convincing both individuals and corporations alike to put an effort toward building an innovative, sustainable market to prepare for upcoming changes. We think that we will be able to accomplish this by developing a sustainable market for individuals’ intangible assets. At the end of the day, donating hundreds of millions of dollars will not solve global poverty. We need to invest in individuals’ potentials by building and improving educational and social infrastructures.

In order to validate this idea, we started a business based in San Francisco two years ago. We first built and launched a completely open marketplace, where people can monetize skills based on their passions. Within one year, we have been able to help people generate significant revenue through our website and while helping them continue to develop their skills, create new services, and expand their businesses to include teaching, selling handmade products, and services. We’ve helped a pottery artist sell out classes every week and expand to selling his own handmade ceramic pieces online. He has generated around $100,000 in revenue within the past two years just by dedicating  8 – 10 hours per week. We’ve also helped individuals market their skills and teach drawing or jewelry making classes at local cafes, connecting them to others with similar passions and allowing them to continue to improve and develop their skills. Every provider on Verlocal has been able to leverage both intangible and tangible assets in order to maximize their potentials.

By following our company’s mission, we have been able to build our community in over 40 cities in the U.S., with thousands of talented individuals and local businesses helping us grow and turning open-resource economy into reality. We aim to become the largest open-resource marketplace and pool for both intangible and tangible resources. For us, this is just the beginning. We believe that more individuals and corporations need to pursue social impact and consider contributing to the open-resource economy.


New Opportunity

This challenge could be another opportunity for us to reduce the wealth gap as long as we prepare for the upcoming change.

Until now, physical and capital resources have been considered as the main economic resources. Since the industrial revolution, we have observed that the price of crops and physical goods was dramatically lowered due to the mass production. In the upcoming Information and AI Era, we will be able to observe the growth of intangible assets, such as skills and knowledge based on creativity.

When we empower individuals’ potentials by building new infrastructures that people can use to fully utilize both intangible and tangible assets in the economy, we will be able to see a more balanced society.

Our civilization has constantly evolved by overcoming challenges. Now, we need to be aware of this upcoming change and prepare for it, so that we can help the next generation thrive.

Read more about how we are empowering individuals and helping them prepare for some inevitable changes on The Huffington PostTech.coEntrepreneur, and