020: Meet Julia, our new designer!

Kinda unreal, but in July, we welcomed our sixth (!) team member—please meet and welcome Julia Shkatova, who is joining us as an experienced interface and product designer. We’re very excited to finally extend our design team and tackle new projects together.

Posted on Jul 27, 2023; updated on Aug 15, 2023

When we added Julia’s picture to our website the other day, we were all in awe about the six-people-grid on the site. We grew from three to six people in one year, which feels a bit unreal, but also very exciting! We were never focussed on growth as we believe in small, agile teams, but we knew that we needed to extend our design team, and we wanted to get a fresh perspective into the group.

Julia reached out to us when we posted our product designer position in November 2022, and it was—and is!—a match! Julia is working full-time (that means, four days per week) with us on all things design, from strategy to interface design. For this website and our newsletter, she answered a couple of questions for us and you to get to know her better. Enjoy the read, and let us know if you want to team up with our fantastic group of six!

1. Julia, tell us a little bit about yourself. Who are you, and what did you do before joining Village One?

As a kid, just after school classes, I used to run to the Pioneers Palace, a free-of-charge hobby centre for kids, a leftover from the Soviet Union. I’d spend my afternoons there trying countless activities. I barely stuck to one thing for too long and annoyed my teachers with constant discipline switching.

I like to think that this led me to choose Multimedia Communication for my Bachelor’s Degree at the Prague University of Economics. The program was new and felt a lot like still-in-the-making, so I got to try many things, including 3d design and film production, but also random things like statistics and econometrics. Early on, I discovered my passion for graphic design, and soon, I got my first freelance projects, mostly for print design.

At some point, I started getting requests for web and app design, but I lacked the necessary skills. I was fortunate to land an internship at STRV, a design agency whose team helped me to get confident in the digital realm. I started posting my work online, which eventually brought me to Berlin. My future design lead reached out to me on Dribbble (it was still a hot place back then), and in 2018 I joined the SAP Innovation Lab in Berlin as a Product Designer. There, I spent three fruitful years working on internal startup projects with Berlin, San Fransisco and Tel-Aviv teams.

When Covid hit, I couldn’t stop dreaming of being part of a small and cosy product team in an industry I deeply connected with. At the end of 2020, I decided to join MusicHub, a BCGDV and GEMA co-created venture for emerging artists. As a founding designer, I took care of the platform’s core user experiences, facilitated Design Sprints, established the design system and also helped marketing with branding and web. Eventually, I hired a second designer and moved into a Lead role. Then I stumbled upon Village One, and my life has taken a new turn.

2. What motivated you to join the Village One Co-op?

Having worked for product companies for the last six years, I realized I was missing a variety of projects and industries that agencies offer. However, I knew I wouldn't be satisfied working for a classical agency with its structures and no control over projects I'd be designing for. Additionally, my ambition has always been to move beyond a designer role and pursue my entrepreneurial aspirations.

When I came across Village One job post, I was mesmerized and spent a lot of time reading the Digital Garden, our knowledge base covering many aspects and values of the co-op. The co-op format was something that I had only read about in books thinking this was unattainable in real life. Seeing someone making this a reality was a breath of fresh air. After meeting the team over the interview calls in January, I felt our values and aspirations clicked immediately! Village One is about distributed power, equality, transparency, impact, professionalism, playfulness and flexibility – the right mix to challenge the status quo!

3. How does your work day usually look like?

Back in school, I never liked starting at 8 am. Already then, I made a promise to myself that I would avoid starting so early in my adult life. I'm more of a slow morning person, waking up around 8 am. I do my routines first: drinking water, exercising, taking a shower, making breakfast, and enjoying a cup of coffee. I usually start working at around 9:30 am. Mornings are when I am most focused, so I try scheduling meetings closer to lunchtime to do focused work in the morning.

Around 1:30 – 2 pm, I usually have my lunch break. If time allows, I go for a walk and might stop at my favourite bakery to get some fresh pastries. I typically have more meetings in the afternoon, and then I try to finish my day with a few more hours of focused work. Before calling it a day, I analyse how far I went with the planned tasks and what should be done first tomorrow. This helps to ease my anxious mind and to think less about work during my rest time.

4. What do you do when you're not sitting in front of a computer screen?

I'm a regular at art galleries and the ceramics studio. At the same time, I enjoy trying new things. Recently, I started learning to dance on roller skates. Some activities stay in my life for a long while, while others I only do once and never return to. I keep my mind open to new experiences and communities.

I’m also genially fascinated by how our mind and physical health interconnect, so I spend quite some time learning about this. I practice yoga, pilates, and mindful movement.

I feel at home near the water and can’t imagine my life without it. My favourite hikes always end at the beach or a lake. I swim in Berlin lakes and Copenhagen’s cold sea canals. I started surfing two years ago and have been enjoying it so far. My dream is to move closer to big water one day.

Not much has changed since I was 6

You can also find Julia here: Personal website, LinkedIn

Stronger together: Come along for the ride!

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