The Ties that Bind Us: An Interview with Ukio's Founders about Community

Stanley and Jeremy Fourteau share their thoughts on how community impacted their upbringing and influenced Ukio.

May 27, 2024

Everything we do is rooted in community. This sense of belonging allows us to thrive, have different experience, and hopefully, emboldens us to step outside of our comfort zone to embrace living in a new place.

Founders and brothers Stanley and Jeremy Fourteau understand the importance of finding community and sat down with us to discuss how they define communal concepts and the role it plays in living where you want.

Community allows you to leave your comfort zone

What prevents people from seeking new horizons? The comfort that comes with familiarity. But Stanley and Jeremy emphasize that the greater the fear, the greater the need for change. Fortunately, leaving your comfort zone doesn’t have to be so scary when the promise of community is there.

Stanley shares how community alleviates these worries,

“You build really strong relationships when you are out of your comfort zone. Because it’s people who bring you out of your comfort zone. When you don't feel like you belong somewhere, and someone makes you feel like you do, you then become close to that person. They did something very different from the ordinary, which is reaching out and helping someone who didn't feel included.

"Moving is actually a great way to meet new people and make new communities. I think it's the best way. It's something that everybody's scared of. But it's probably the most gratifying."

“Do you guys still get that fear?”

Jeremy: “All the time, all the time. Every time I go to a new city or a new place, I wouldn't say it's fear, per se. I feel this sense of anticipation. It's no longer a mountain I have to overcome, but I see it more as an adventure. Sure, it's scary. But as soon as you get to the other side, it's worth it."

The home is the center of community

Brothers Stanley and Jeremy were always on the move growing up. They lived in a multitude of places, met a variety of people, and experienced different cultures firsthand during their childhood. The nature of their home base made it absolutely essential to feel grounded, even in a new place.

No matter the location, home felt like a retreat to Stanley and Jeremy. When the backdrop shifted, the home remained a place of security and familiarity. Stanley speaks about how his mother maintained the importance of home regardless of the city.

“We moved around to many different cities. What my mother managed to do every single time we moved, was to make the place feel like home from day one. That’s what facilitated us to assimilate and feel like we were home much more easily. She has amazing taste and design as well, which is where the inspiration to bring design as a key element came into our business.”

“So how does Ukio make every place feel like home?”

Jeremy: “For us home is the center of community and it always has been. You need to find a place where you feel safe, where you feel secure, but where you want to bring people to. This is at the center of our product ethos.”

Stanley adds to the idea of home,

“Second is the level of effort that we put into the design. Every home feels unique - containing all the elements that make it feel comfortable. All of the homes have an identity and every single home has its own story. So, it's really important that when a guest chooses their house, they become part of that story, too.

"Each Ukio home is themed from nature - and what we do is pull inspiration from regions and their communities. The concept around it is to really get people to be conscious of the importance of the environment and encourage them to take care of it. By bringing in different cultures into the home, we make ourselves more aware of different worlds that exist."

The overlap of home and community: it’s all in the details

Home is the crux of our community; it’s the foundation of everything we do. Stanley and Jeremy highlight the importance of creating a home base in order to find community. One proceeds to the next. So what makes a home feel like, well, home?

Stanley defines home as such,

“It’s about having many little elements that make it feel like your home. Naturally, you start buying a few pieces from here or there, bringing souvenirs from a trip, etc. It's these details that make a difference and that’s what we're building right now. We want to make people feel like they're part of that space.

"[At Ukio], every single place needs to have everything you need for you to be able to cook, live, and be very comfortable. So we make sure that we have bigger, more accommodating spaces. We have many two-bedroom apartments because you may want to have your friends or family come by. We want to make it so comfortable that it doesn't ever feel in any way, like a hotel. That's the antithesis of what we want to be.”

What Ukio means for community

There’s a false conviction that mobility is contrary to community. Traveling might not be compatible with a deeper sense of community, but living certainly is. Stanley clarifies this distinction by outlining the difference between “travel” and “living” in his quote:

“Community is about bringing people together that are very different and distinct from each other. In our mission, we talk about why we love building Ukio: we're actually getting people out of where they live and empowering them to live somewhere else.

"Traveling is very different because you just stay somewhere briefly and you don't become part of a new community. Whereas when you move somewhere for a couple of months, you start to discover and belong to a new community. That was part of the inspiration for us to build Ukio.”

As Ukio continues to grow, the founders believe that this sense of community will strengthen and allow all of its visitors to come together. Stanley speaks to this vision,

“The future is to have all these communities come together and give people the ability to let go of the fear of leaving their city that they've lived in all their life and jump into somewhere new because it's facilitated by Ukio. We want to build an experience where, when someone leaves a new Ukio home and feels part of their community, they share that with others and pull them into this collective.”

Finding a sense of community is what makes travel different from flexible living and what makes Ukio different from the rest. The founders epitomize what this belonging feels like in their upbringing, personal experiences, and, most recently, what they do at Ukio.