Kiem Schutter can thank a snowboarding accident for leading him to his career.
The 39-year-old owner of Qi Integrated Health fractured his left hip on the slopes in 1998 and was told he would never ride again. He was living with Dirk Brinkman and Joyce Murray at the time of his recovery. Murray, the future provincial and federal Liberal politician, suggested that he try acupuncture treatments. To Schutter’s surprise and delight, it worked.
One week he entered on crutches and exited needing one crutch. The next he was going in with a cane and leaving with a limp.
“That’s what sparked my interest,” Schutter said. “What is this magic that’s happening?”
Schutter decided to explore alternative healing, particularly the Chinese variety. In 2004 he graduated from the Academy of Classical Oriental Sciences in Nelson. Two years later, he founded Qi. From 2010 to 2012, he was president of the BC Association of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
When he embarked on his own practice, he was determined for Qi to be different from the rest.
“It didn’t seem to me that a lot of clinics were healing environments. I love my environment; I love being somewhere that has a clean, functional, simple way of being, a very natural feel. A lot of places that I’d went seemed to be converted from a mining firm or an accountant’s office.”
The 5,000-square-foot Qi on West 7th Avenue has a full slate of practitioners, from massage therapists to chiropractors. It has been described as medical service in a spa-like setting.
Qi has grown from six to 40 practitioners and almost doubled its annual revenue from $1.1 million to $2 million in 2015. Schutter said it is on track to double again in 2016, and a second location, in downtown Vancouver, is in the works.
“I had very lofty, ambitious goals with it,” he said, looking back on the decade. “It’s not a surprise, but it’s very reassuring because when I started and I had signed a lease and was going to do this whole thing, so many people that were close to me were going, ‘What are you doing? It’s totally crazy.’”
Join us to celebrate the 2016 Forty under under 40 Awards January 25, 2017 at the Vancouver Convention Centre. For tickets and event info visit www.biv.com/events/40under40.