Yoke Wong moved to Soquel three years ago and opened Bhody downtown last August. She had already established an extensive natural body care line, Avvya, over the previous 12 years, and had begun searching all over the Bay Area for the perfect place to open her own retail store. When a downtown Santa Cruz location on Pacific opened up, she just knew it was right.
Bhody blossomed into much more than a body care shop. Billed as a “sustainable and ethical lifestyle retail store for the home and body,” Yoke’s shop sells locally made goods, primarily made in California and USA labels, in addition to cutting edge fashions from around the world for men, women and children. The Santa Cruz community has embraced and supported Bhody from day one, and she wants to give back to that community.
One thing that really struck Yoke upon moving here was the homelessness problem in Santa Cruz. It’s hard not to notice, although we might get used to seeing homeless people all the time, especially downtown. Bhody supports the Downtown Streets Team (DST), which gives those without homes work and training in exchange for meals and housing.
Championed by the Downtown Association of Santa Cruz, DST is part of a multi-tiered approach to ending homelessness in Santa Cruz. All of their volunteers are those who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Most of their new team members hear about their services through peer-to-peer outreach, and they also provide professional outreach through their staff.
“This program is what the community needs.” Yoke says, “We have to be an integral part of development and change in this community.”
When she’s not working, or working on changing the world, Yoke says she’s a homebody. “I like to sit at home and play with my four dogs.” She has three Shih Tzus, a Great Dane and a cat. “My husband calls it a farm.” Her daughter and son are grown up and off to college.
What advice does Yoke have for other women in business? “Allocate your time, otherwise you’ll burn out. There’s time for work and time for play.” She also says it’s important to have a good team. “We have a great team of staff (at Bhody). In order to have the right team, we must have great benefits and pay a living wage. We want our young talents and resources to remain in our community.”
Bhody has become known in the community for the great events they host. Look for more coming in the new year. And in the meantime, stop by and say hi to our discoverHER Woman of the Week during the holidays. She’s there most afternoons. Mention “discover her” to get 15% off any one regular priced item.
Congratulations, Yoke, and thanks for all your hard work in the world and in our community!
Visit her website for more information BHODY
Written by our discoverHER blogger: Liz Hodges