We had the good fortune of connecting with Victoria Lise and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Victoria, other than deciding to work for yourself, what was the single most important decision you made that contributed to your success?
Knowing what success was for me. Defining it for myself so I knew where to aim. As cliche as it may be, it has been intricately linked to following what has felt real, impactful, and valuable. Following an inner calling. Success is different for everyone. For us (as a company), it has been measured by the way in which our work contributes to a cleaner, sustainable, and equitable existence. As we’ve grown, we’ve re-defined, or refined rather, what success looks like. Our idea of success continues to evolve as we do. Reducing local waste through our compost program, neutralizing water risks, and aiding in soil restoration through integrating Natural Farming techniques plus our communities support, those are shared successes. That’s what it comes down to.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
We are, Alex and Tori, the duo behind: The Maintenance Company, LLC. We started our LLC in January of 2014. Our first client was our neighbor across the street, he needed snow removal, and from there we developed a relationship taking on projects like landscaping, repairs, and maintenance. It was a priority for us to utilize our own skills and experience while also maintaining a steady work stream which had previously proved tough living in a resort town. It was risky, taking on that kind of responsibility with only ourselves to fall back on, but it was also exhilarating. For me (Tori) personally, it was a lot of new territory. While I had background knowledge/experience in management and landscaping, many of our larger projects were intimidating as I was learning on the spot, on the job. I was dedicated to learning the ins and outs of what we were doing as thoroughly as I could. Admittedly, some of the first days shoveling snow until sundown had me questioning my decision, my direction. For the first several years we offered a wide variety of maintenance services and did our best to approach all tasks sustainably. Sustainability was always our aim but definitely not always possible within the limitations general maintenance presents. Along the way, we shared information about our plans to integrate composting, and natural farming over better known, modern day landscaping. It generated quick interest and support, multiple clients even offered their yard space for us to experiment with these practices. It has always come back to the land for us. This year, between the spring snow melt, and the pandemic, we started building the infrastructure to our compost program and soil services. We use a vermiculture compost system to break down organic food matter we collect and yard debris goes into our outdoor aerobic compost piles. The worms in the vermiculture system break down the food ‘waste’ leaving behind nutrient rich material and liquid excrement to be reused on lawns, gardens, and/or houseplants. We make 100% of the inputs used in our soil services ourselves, and we harvest local indigenous micro-organisms too. All based off of JADAM and Natural Farming techniques which are organic in nature, posing no pollution threat to water resources, and helping to reduce carbon emissions, and ground pollutants through the regeneration of healthy, living soil. We also started stewarding a piece of land this year which is an incredible honor and great adventure all in one. We hope to continue cultivating resources that benefit our community and improve the environment.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
You can’t go wrong visiting the Gunnison Valley! A walk in any direction is heart stirring and joy inducing, however, a swim in Emerald Lake is something that should never be missed! As a vegetarian, some of my favorite places to eat are Sherpa Cafe, Daily Dose, Mc Gill’s, High Alpine Brewery, and Montanya. If you’re feeling extra spirited on your visit you can book an astrology reading with me! (victorialise.com)
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Hankyu Cho, who founded Korean Natural Farming (KNF), his son Youngsang Cho, founder of JADAM (Ultra low cost organic agriculture), and their translated texts/webinars. Natural Farming and JADAM technology are the foundation to how we have approached our land based practices. Alex, my partner in life and business, has been invaluable since the start. He’s the spine of our operations, and there’s no one else I’d rather meet the challenges and triumphs of everyday with. As well as, our community, friends, family, and their continued support, the Ute’s for whose land we live and work on, known today as Crested Butte, and our greatest teacher, Nature, for without our work would not be possible.
Alex Theaker, Victoria Lise