How a Co-Working Space Can Transform Downtown Los Angeles
A huge percentage of the workforce is made up of freelancers, independent contractors, and small business owners—those who traditionally work from home. I did for many years when I worked in journalism, publishing, advertising, and web development, and I don't mind admitting I would reach a point everyday when I'd think, "Oh my God, I've got to get out of here and talk to someone—just one person." I was so desperate for human interaction and new scenery I would go to Trader Joe's to buy a banana and make conversation with the cashiers. "See any good movies lately?" (I really did ask that once).
That’s where co-working comes in, and why Los Angeles desperately needs it. Co-working is going to grow bigger and bigger because there is a huge population of people who are interesting, creative, and smart but who no longer want to work at home alone—and they definitely don't want to work at the nearby Starbucks. Entrepreneurs and creative people can't work alone in silos. It's not inspiring, efficient, or fun. The desire for this community is rooted deep in the fact that we need stimulation and interaction... and a sense of belonging. Co-working gives us all those things.
Right now, we've got great partners who are helping with the renovations and build-out of the space, including Cavern Wallpaper, Smilebooth, Boxed Water, FLOR, Quirk Books, and Chronicle Books. As a creative working environment, we want it to become the space for designers, entrepreneurs, and artists, but also for events, workshops, and creative enterprise.
The space that is yet to be transformed.
Creative people are often great at what they do, but not very good at running a business. We want to help teach them those skills and have an environment that is conducive for their success. For example, we will have programming during the evenings and weekends to teach everything from social media classes to how to pitch to blogs/magazines. We will have guest speakers, book launches and signings, and our goal is to encourage people to start working together—for instance, a writer and photographer can start a discussion one day, start collaborating, and then pitch a book together. Then there will be events like cocktail mixers, potluck lunches, and business workshops. There's also the advantage of shared spaces giving co-workers amenities they would never have or be able to afford in an office just for themselves, such as a full kitchen, rooftop deck, resource library, conference rooms, lounge areas, and more.
We plan to have monthly events that involve the local community, too, like the first Arts District Farmers' Market in our parking lot. We will have programming where local residents can sign up to take a class on how to promote their artwork online, or take an indigo-dying class from one of our co-work tenants. We want the community to be as involved as possible, and we want to support other local businesses in the Arts District as much as we can by inviting them to lead workshops or hold parties at our space.