THE RAW VEGAN RESTAURANT ALMOST TOO BEAUTIFUL TO BELIEVE
If you have lived in Los Angeles, you either know first hand or have heard about how things have changed downtown. Case in point, the neighborhood is now exclusively known as "DTLA". Unlike other metropolitan cities where downtown has always been the epicenter of cool, LA's downtown has only drawn interest in the past 5 years or so. Now we all patiently await the announcement of a new coffee shop or indie boutique, but very few brick and mortars have created as much a buzz as the opening of The Springs. Part raw, organic, vegan restaurant meets juice and coffee bar meets yoga fitness studio, with a section devoted to selling beautiful crafts from local artisans, all encased in one of the most beautifully designed buildings we've seen ever. Don't believe us? See for yourself and read about the inspiration for the space directly from owners Jared Stein & Kimberly Helms.
Read on to see why Jared & Kimberly of The Springs are our Daring Creatives of the week.
We'd love it if you could tell us about yourself:
JARED: My partner Kimberly and I were living in New York working on Broadway shows, she was a company manager/producer and I was a music director/conductor. So, we were on tour with a show and came to LA for 6 weeks. We drove through the arts district one day and I was like, “Hold the phone, this is it”. It was this very clear moment in time. We absolutely loved the area and knew this would be a perfect place to open what would come to be known as The Springs.
KIMBERLY: For much of my life, I’ve been an avid yoga practitioner, and I became a vegan in 2009. Jared and I knew we wanted to open a space dedicated towards community, wellness and personal growth, and once we visited the Arts District, we knew it would be the perfect place to open The Springs.
When did you decide to pursue your current career path?
KIMBERLY: I became a vegan in 2009, and Jared was already vegan and was experimenting with going completely raw. The idea sprung from an accumulation of both of our lifestyles. One day, a few years back, it dawned on us that we wanted to create a one-stop-shop for people to go to rejuvenate their minds and bodies. That’s when the initial concept of The Springs arose.
JARED: This is my lifestyle. I’ve been vegan since 2005, and I was vegetarian for 12 years before that. I was living in New York at the time, bouncing all over the city and I thought, “Why isn’t there just one place to go where you can do everything – eat well, practice yoga, and reset?” So that’s how the seed was planted. I just felt like if you created a place that has a communal aspect, there’s a connection. You can start a conversation with people.
How did you go from idea to execution?
JARED: Well while we were in L.A. we wrote a business plan and then finished the tour. Two months later we went back to New York, packed our things and moved out here to the Arts District. We chose to live here so we would be a part of the community. And we were here for a full year tweaking our business plan, raising money, and securing the property. We moved here October 2012. October 2013 we got this building. October of 2014 we opened. So it was a year and then a year.
KIMBERLY: I think our theater background helped a lot because we approached it much like you would produce a Broadway show, it’s all about building a team. Just like in a Broadway show, you have to think about who’s your director, your costume designer, your lighting designer. It was the same thing for opening The Springs – who’s our chef, our director of yoga, our practitioners. We’re all a family here and every individual plays a key role.
How does Los Angeles influence your creativity?
JARED: The Springs is located in the Arts District, so that alone gives a very unique vibe that both inspires us and makes our creativity click. It’s a very up-and-coming neighborhood. LA in general is very cutting-edge when it comes to wellness practices, so it has been amazing to watch the community truly enjoy what we have to offer. The feedback has been indescribable. And it inspires us to stay on top-of-the-game, and to continue offering things such as live music, educational workshops, wine tastings, and unique treatments and classes that our customers want that may not be offered elsewhere.
In your words, what does it mean to be a “creative”?
KIMBERLY: I would say creativity stems from your soul. To be creative means to do what feels right – whether it’s painting, or jotting down new ideas, or venturing off the well-worn path to do something that’s true and feels right to you.
JARED: To be creative is to think outside of the box, and bring whatever that idea is to life.
What do you consider to be your biggest achievement to date?
JARED: Opening The Springs was so outside of our comfort zone, we had never done anything like this before and came from a completely different background in musical theater and production. To see our idea come to life and thrive has been amazing, we couldn’t be happier.
How do you deal with critics?
KIMBERLY: Thankfully, we haven’t really gotten any negative feedback! We make it our priority to make sure everyone walks out the door satisfied.
JARED: I think our concept is so unique and intriguing, yet you know what to expect when you come in. You’re going to get great, healthy food that tastes as delicious as it is good for your body. You’re going to walk out of The Springs feeling centered and refreshed. That’s our goal. We strive to keep a very positive environment that’s fun and enjoyable. Usually our critics or skeptics, have never gotten the full Springs experience. We welcome them in with open arms and always look forward to pleasantly surprising people.
What do you do to get through your day?
JARED: Eating right is the best way to get through each day. Ever since I began following an entirely organic, vegan and raw diet, I have noticed the biggest different in my overall health and energy levels. If I feel a bit rundown, I’ll have one of our fresh pressed juices – The Northstar has spinach, kale, and lemon (among other delicious ingredients), that helps to nourish my body with protein and gives me a bit of an energy boost.
What advice would you give to someone who wanted to pursue the same career as you?
KIMBERLY: Research, know your target demographic, and come up with a strategic approach of how to bring your idea to life.
JARED: If you’re really set on something, keep pushing forward. We had so many roadblocks along the way from finding the property to raising the capital to secure city permits. Pushing through that can be very challenging. But we did, and we’re here. If you really want something and you can see your goal, just keep pushing for it.
What is the best part about your space?
KIMBERLY: The best part is that there are so many different concepts, all in ONE space! The Springs is a 13,000 square foot “urban oasis.” We have a yoga studio, a wellness center, a juice bar and restaurant all in one. We also have extra tables for people to sit on their laptops, work, or just hang out. We have enough space to host live music in our lounge. There really is something for everyone here, and no matter what you come here for, you leave feeling a little bit better.
JARED: We also have a small marketplace in the front of the store, featuring unique gifts and goodies made by local artists and merchants. Keeping things local is very important to us. I guess the best part is that we are very community-focused. Everything we do ties into making the community a better place.
Do you have any advice about creating the best possible work environment?
KIMBERLY: Hire positive, passionate staff that share your vision.
JARED: People who love what they do produce better results. And people who are happy rub off on other people. That way, a positive environment is maintained and everyone is happy because they are doing what they love. And trust me, this is passed down to the quality of their work and is the recipe for great service.
Is there something happening in your career that you are looking forward to? Any exciting projects on the horizon?
KIMBERLY: We are looking forward to the continued growth of The Springs. The whole project from start to finish has been a dream come true, We don’t always know what’s next for us, and that’s part of the fun!
Finish this sentence:
I feel most powerful when:
JARED: a customer tells me how much they love The Springs.
KIMBERLY: I finish an intense yoga session.
My biggest frustration is:
JARED: traveling and not being able to find vegan food on-the-go.
KIMBERLY: not being able to think of something I’m frustrated about!
I couldn’t live without my:
To learn more about The Springs, please visit their website at: www.thespringsla.com
Photos courtesy of Jared Stein & Kimberly Helms.