In spring 2012 I was ready for a change. I worked on a couple of projects from my little home office while my kids were at preschool. I had a really hard time focusing on my work as a self employed part timer and felt lonely. I always had a lot of fun with my coworkers and working by myself with no one to laugh, go for lunch or brainstorm an idea felt really wrong. What do to?
I crafted a little business plan about a space I could go to, to meet with other people that don't like working from home. A space with a childcare in one wing of the building, a sewing workshop, a fitness room, a kitchen, an art studio and a nice backyard with benches, a little garden and a playground. I knew this is what I wanted if I could have it all. I met with a couple of Mom friends for walks and on playgrounds to talk over my idea and got some great feedback and support. I entered in a business competition to win some money for my vision and also to get some advice on how to do this. I was on a roll.
At one workshop I shared my idea with the participants and ended up with an email address on a napkin by the end of the day. This contact led me to Jessie from Ellie's (Works Progress) opening a Coworking space with childcare in the North of Seattle. We kept contact and after the summer she connected me with someone she met in her space who wanted to open a work space in West Seattle. I was very curious and met with Stefan at Uptown Espresso early October 2012.
We shared our ideas, talked about all the options, our motivation, personal goals, frustration about working in a home office and agreed to look into some properties and to visit a Seattle Collaborative Space Alliance meeting together. We wrote our mission statement and skipped the childcare idea, as it was too challenging to start out with. We also knew from Susan and Jacob from Office Nomads we would have to start looking for people interested in sharing a work space first and met with Tracy from the West Seattle Blog. She wrote a nice blog post about our idea. The ball started rolling.
We met with about 30 people during our 4 different meetups at Uptown Espresso in the week after the blog post went online. We felt really optimistic about the interest in our wonderful community and met weekly at Uptown while Stefan and I looked at about 35 properties to find a fitting home for our work community. Desperate to find a space we connected with Krystal from Mind Unwind and arranged Coworking sessions for 2 days a week at her gallery in February. A temporary space for our idea was way better than no space.
In Mid-March we finally found a great new space in a great location on California Ave that was beautiful, light, professional and homey with a great roof deck and kitchen. We were very excited to get started with an idea that was just a theory for so long. We invited everyone for a tour, followed by a work party to assembly IKEA desks, followed by a free Coworking week before opening our door to West Seattle's First Coworking space on April 1st.
For the last 7 month we met lots very friendly, compassionate people that all shared the need to connect to others. We held many fun events to create a supportive work community and a space where people meet and collaborate. We started with a Wine Tasting, a work party at the Bee Garden, our obligatory Coworking Meetups, Art Walk, Cooking classes, Night Out, Entrepreneur & Women Networking, PTA meetings, Fundraiser, Board Game Night, Open House, Chamber After Hour, Krypton, Nutrition class, Board Meeting and Whiskey Night. We facilitated a lot of conversations about work, life, goals, projects, ideas, theories and tried to fix many challenges together (the latest on how to fix the West Seattle Bridge). We are very happy about all the connections that formed in our wonderful space.
Starting with our 2nd year, we will work even harder to get the word out about Coworking and the Office Junction as a great event space. We have some fun events lined up, like a Non-Profit Mixer, Sushi Making, a Map Jam, Cheese Night, a Obama Care Info event, Improv Night, Private Chef Dinner Parties, Business Speed Dating and hope to make the space profitable soon, so we can keep up our mission to bring the West Seattle community closer together. We have already seen how many great things can happen if magic falls into place.
Please help us spread the word for the Office Junction!
Christine and Stefan, Co-Founder