Newbie: Me & Jam Jar Cowork

Hello!

I’m new to this forum. My name’s Suzanne Vale and I’ve just opened a coworking space called Jam Jar Cowork in Collingwood, which is an inner suburb of Melbourne, Australia.

Below is some info about me, why I’ve started Jam Jar, the space and the community we’re building.

I’m really glad to have found this forum and can see it’s really supportive with lots of helpful, insightful advice and discussion. I look forward to joining in! I’ll also be at GCUC in Melbourne next month so hope to meet some of you there. Drop me a line if you’re coming along.

Cheers Suzanne

Why I started Jam Jar

Some of you may have met me at CU Asia 2016, in Ubud, so you’ll know that I’ve been working in offices for my whole (varied) career (admin, customer/financial services, public service, law) and that I studied architecture at one point and I love people and their creativity.

So I’ve started a coworking space because the opportunity to take on the building that we’re in coincided with me finding out about coworking and thinking that it was the coolest thing I’d heard about in ages. Coworking also addresses a long term beef I’ve had that workplaces and spaces are missed opportunities. They should be better and controlled by the people who work in them. Coworking spaces are finally doing this, and in lots of different ways that are still emerging and changing. Good times.

I’m about offering the small businesses of this neighbourhood a good quality space that they can shape and refine over time, where they can come to work together, meet new people, hang out, run events, have meetings and have the facilities they need to do these things pretty seamlessly.

The space

Jam Jar is just over 200m2 and primarily aimed at post start up businesses in the neighbourhood. We also have some decent meeting rooms (a boardroom and 3 smaller rooms) and have found that there’s been interest in them from CBD businesses wanting to get offsite for workshops etc.

We’re in a really great location in a gentrified, former industrial pocket right near Smith Street, which is well known in Melbourne for its restaurants, cafes, shops, street art and culture, and which has a tram line direct to the city.

We refurbished the building we are in, which was a tired, 3 storey office building that was only 15 years old. Our emphasis was on getting natural light in and creating lots of different types of useful spaces while dedicating most of the floor area to open plan desks. Every decision of our fit out was made with the environment in mind despite our tight budget. This meant we preferenced low VOC products, natural materials and products from companies that are ahead socially and environmentally. It also meant we reused as much as we could from the previous fit out and bought quality second hand where we could. We balanced this to create a feel that the space is new and ‘clean’ aesthetically. (Examples of reuse and secondhand included reusing the old aluminium and glass partitions to make new meeting rooms, reusing the kitchen sinks from the old tea-points in our new break out space and tea-point and reusing perfectly good security hardware, buying secondhand Knoll / Formway task chairs that are barely used ex-Tax Office and secondhand desks from Grimshaw Architects’ when they refurbished their office).

We’ve tried to create a casual but professional space that’s airy and comfortable. We’re also emphasising health in the workplace. For example we try to give members control of the space/their environs, we’ve got plants, and office dog, ergonomic chairs, the beginnings of an activity based set up.

The community

I’m a little sheepish that we opened and are now building our community. All the experience and knowledge at CU Asia said build your community first but logistically this didn’t work out for me. We have 2 open plan spaces so we’re only using the smaller of these at the moment so people aren’t spread through the building. As we grow, we’ll open the other area.

So far we’re doing ok with a handful of local people joining us as part time members over the last few weeks - a lawyer starting a new practice, a business adviser, a graphic designer just moved down from Sydney, a wine maker/wine events business, a couple of creative writers and a couple of other former lawyers who are moving into the start up space. It’s slow - we have people here each day but not a lot of cross-fertilisation because we haven’t had a critical mass on any one day.

So we need to work harder to get the word out that we’re here and to get communication happening between our members to help them form a community. We have lots of ideas that we are carrying out butwould love more ideas and to know what’s worked for other brand new spaces, especially in comparable cities. I’m finding podcasts super helpful and inspiring here too, especially The Coworking Weekly Show and Everything Coworking. Interested in others’ favourite podcasts and forums.

Our attention to social and environmental responsibility is continuing - we’re big on recycling within the space and we’ve opened our space to community groups for use out of hours, which accords with the ethos of our neighbourhood and something our members love. We want to explore more opportunities to partner with the neighbourhood in this way.

Hey Suzanne,

Welcome! I love your vibe.

One thing to consider: when you’re in early days and lack a strong sense of cohesion, you can benefit from using some clever tricks to manufacture it.

Maybe you don’t have enough people to provide a consistent community experience for 5 full business days a week… but what can you have a critical mass of people for?

If you can create a sense of a special day and time that occurs on a regular basis, you can focus your energy on ensuring that time is an awesome time.

You can funnel people into that special time, so they all start to meet and get to know each other.

Over time, that will seep out into the rest of the space and days of the week… like cultivating one plant really well, then watching it pollinate the rest of the field.

You can make a happy hour, or a special time of the week when members (and prospective) members gather to introduce each other and do a community Q&A, or any of a number of other things.

Whatever it is, pour love into it, make it fun and connective, and watch what blossoms :slight_smile:

Also, one quick other thing: personal relationships. At this point, every one of them counts. Invite people to get emotionally invested in your project; encourage leadership wherever it emerges, and get to know every person you meet as best as you can.

Just a handful of passionate, committed, caring people can carry you from this nascent stage to where you want to go.

Best of luck and keep us posted!

Tony

···

New Work Cities

*A collaborative community for people who are building better collaborative communities <3 *

*http://nwc.co *

On Jul 23, 2017, at 9:58 PM, Suzanne Vale [email protected] wrote:

Hello!

I’m new to this forum. My name’s Suzanne Vale and I’ve just opened a coworking space called Jam Jar Cowork in Collingwood, which is an inner suburb of Melbourne, Australia.

Below is some info about me, why I’ve started Jam Jar, the space and the community we’re building.

I’m really glad to have found this forum and can see it’s really supportive with lots of helpful, insightful advice and discussion. I look forward to joining in! I’ll also be at GCUC in Melbourne next month so hope to meet some of you there. Drop me a line if you’re coming along.

Cheers Suzanne

Why I started Jam Jar

Some of you may have met me at CU Asia 2016, in Ubud, so you’ll know that I’ve been working in offices for my whole (varied) career (admin, customer/financial services, public service, law) and that I studied architecture at one point and I love people and their creativity.

So I’ve started a coworking space because the opportunity to take on the building that we’re in coincided with me finding out about coworking and thinking that it was the coolest thing I’d heard about in ages. Coworking also addresses a long term beef I’ve had that workplaces and spaces are missed opportunities. They should be better and controlled by the people who work in them. Coworking spaces are finally doing this, and in lots of different ways that are still emerging and changing. Good times.

I’m about offering the small businesses of this neighbourhood a good quality space that they can shape and refine over time, where they can come to work together, meet new people, hang out, run events, have meetings and have the facilities they need to do these things pretty seamlessly.

The space

Jam Jar is just over 200m2 and primarily aimed at post start up businesses in the neighbourhood. We also have some decent meeting rooms (a boardroom and 3 smaller rooms) and have found that there’s been interest in them from CBD businesses wanting to get offsite for workshops etc.

We’re in a really great location in a gentrified, former industrial pocket right near Smith Street, which is well known in Melbourne for its restaurants, cafes, shops, street art and culture, and which has a tram line direct to the city.

We refurbished the building we are in, which was a tired, 3 storey office building that was only 15 years old. Our emphasis was on getting natural light in and creating lots of different types of useful spaces while dedicating most of the floor area to open plan desks. Every decision of our fit out was made with the environment in mind despite our tight budget. This meant we preferenced low VOC products, natural materials and products from companies that are ahead socially and environmentally. It also meant we reused as much as we could from the previous fit out and bought quality second hand where we could. We balanced this to create a feel that the space is new and ‘clean’ aesthetically. (Examples of reuse and secondhand included reusing the old aluminium and glass partitions to make new meeting rooms, reusing the kitchen sinks from the old tea-points in our new break out space and tea-point and reusing perfectly good security hardware, buying secondhand Knoll / Formway task chairs that are barely used ex-Tax Office and secondhand desks from Grimshaw Architects’ when they refurbished their office).

We’ve tried to create a casual but professional space that’s airy and comfortable. We’re also emphasising health in the workplace. For example we try to give members control of the space/their environs, we’ve got plants, and office dog, ergonomic chairs, the beginnings of an activity based set up.

The community

I’m a little sheepish that we opened and are now building our community. All the experience and knowledge at CU Asia said build your community first but logistically this didn’t work out for me. We have 2 open plan spaces so we’re only using the smaller of these at the moment so people aren’t spread through the building. As we grow, we’ll open the other area.

So far we’re doing ok with a handful of local people joining us as part time members over the last few weeks - a lawyer starting a new practice, a business adviser, a graphic designer just moved down from Sydney, a wine maker/wine events business, a couple of creative writers and a couple of other former lawyers who are moving into the start up space. It’s slow - we have people here each day but not a lot of cross-fertilisation because we haven’t had a critical mass on any one day.

So we need to work harder to get the word out that we’re here and to get communication happening between our members to help them form a community. We have lots of ideas that we are carrying out butwould love more ideas and to know what’s worked for other brand new spaces, especially in comparable cities. I’m finding podcasts super helpful and inspiring here too, especially The Coworking Weekly Show and Everything Coworking. Interested in others’ favourite podcasts and forums.

Our attention to social and environmental responsibility is continuing - we’re big on recycling within the space and we’ve opened our space to community groups for use out of hours, which accords with the ethos of our neighbourhood and something our members love. We want to explore more opportunities to partner with the neighbourhood in this way.

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Hi Suzanne,

I am new to co-working space and would love to host a co-working space in Brisbane. I would love to ask you a few questions about your experience in creating a co-working space in Collingwood, Australia. Please contact me on [email protected]. I would also love to hear from anyone else that love to share their ideas and thoughts on creating an amazing co-working place.

Thanks
David

···

On Monday, July 24, 2017 at 12:04:05 PM UTC+10, Suzanne Vale wrote:

Hello!

I’m new to this forum. My name’s Suzanne Vale and I’ve just opened a coworking space called Jam Jar Cowork in Collingwood, which is an inner suburb of Melbourne, Australia.

Below is some info about me, why I’ve started Jam Jar, the space and the community we’re building.

I’m really glad to have found this forum and can see it’s really supportive with lots of helpful, insightful advice and discussion. I look forward to joining in! I’ll also be at GCUC in Melbourne next month so hope to meet some of you there. Drop me a line if you’re coming along.

Cheers Suzanne

Why I started Jam Jar

Some of you may have met me at CU Asia 2016, in Ubud, so you’ll know that I’ve been working in offices for my whole (varied) career (admin, customer/financial services, public service, law) and that I studied architecture at one point and I love people and their creativity.

So I’ve started a coworking space because the opportunity to take on the building that we’re in coincided with me finding out about coworking and thinking that it was the coolest thing I’d heard about in ages. Coworking also addresses a long term beef I’ve had that workplaces and spaces are missed opportunities. They should be better and controlled by the people who work in them. Coworking spaces are finally doing this, and in lots of different ways that are still emerging and changing. Good times.

I’m about offering the small businesses of this neighbourhood a good quality space that they can shape and refine over time, where they can come to work together, meet new people, hang out, run events, have meetings and have the facilities they need to do these things pretty seamlessly.

The space

Jam Jar is just over 200m2 and primarily aimed at post start up businesses in the neighbourhood. We also have some decent meeting rooms (a boardroom and 3 smaller rooms) and have found that there’s been interest in them from CBD businesses wanting to get offsite for workshops etc.

We’re in a really great location in a gentrified, former industrial pocket right near Smith Street, which is well known in Melbourne for its restaurants, cafes, shops, street art and culture, and which has a tram line direct to the city.

We refurbished the building we are in, which was a tired, 3 storey office building that was only 15 years old. Our emphasis was on getting natural light in and creating lots of different types of useful spaces while dedicating most of the floor area to open plan desks. Every decision of our fit out was made with the environment in mind despite our tight budget. This meant we preferenced low VOC products, natural materials and products from companies that are ahead socially and environmentally. It also meant we reused as much as we could from the previous fit out and bought quality second hand where we could. We balanced this to create a feel that the space is new and ‘clean’ aesthetically. (Examples of reuse and secondhand included reusing the old aluminium and glass partitions to make new meeting rooms, reusing the kitchen sinks from the old tea-points in our new break out space and tea-point and reusing perfectly good security hardware, buying secondhand Knoll / Formway task chairs that are barely used ex-Tax Office and secondhand desks from Grimshaw Architects’ when they refurbished their office).

We’ve tried to create a casual but professional space that’s airy and comfortable. We’re also emphasising health in the workplace. For example we try to give members control of the space/their environs, we’ve got plants, and office dog, ergonomic chairs, the beginnings of an activity based set up.

The community

I’m a little sheepish that we opened and are now building our community. All the experience and knowledge at CU Asia said build your community first but logistically this didn’t work out for me. We have 2 open plan spaces so we’re only using the smaller of these at the moment so people aren’t spread through the building. As we grow, we’ll open the other area.

So far we’re doing ok with a handful of local people joining us as part time members over the last few weeks - a lawyer starting a new practice, a business adviser, a graphic designer just moved down from Sydney, a wine maker/wine events business, a couple of creative writers and a couple of other former lawyers who are moving into the start up space. It’s slow - we have people here each day but not a lot of cross-fertilisation because we haven’t had a critical mass on any one day.

So we need to work harder to get the word out that we’re here and to get communication happening between our members to help them form a community. We have lots of ideas that we are carrying out butwould love more ideas and to know what’s worked for other brand new spaces, especially in comparable cities. I’m finding podcasts super helpful and inspiring here too, especially The Coworking Weekly Show and Everything Coworking. Interested in others’ favourite podcasts and forums.

Our attention to social and environmental responsibility is continuing - we’re big on recycling within the space and we’ve opened our space to community groups for use out of hours, which accords with the ethos of our neighbourhood and something our members love. We want to explore more opportunities to partner with the neighbourhood in this way.

This is my all time favorite blog post on turning an empty space into a community. I link to it CONSTANTLY. https://dangerouslyawesome.com/2014/06/how-i-turned-an-empty-coworking-space-into-a-coworking-community/

Angel

···

On Sunday, July 23, 2017 at 8:04:05 PM UTC-6, Suzanne Vale wrote:

Hello!

I’m new to this forum. My name’s Suzanne Vale and I’ve just opened a coworking space called Jam Jar Cowork in Collingwood, which is an inner suburb of Melbourne, Australia.

Below is some info about me, why I’ve started Jam Jar, the space and the community we’re building.

I’m really glad to have found this forum and can see it’s really supportive with lots of helpful, insightful advice and discussion. I look forward to joining in! I’ll also be at GCUC in Melbourne next month so hope to meet some of you there. Drop me a line if you’re coming along.

Cheers Suzanne

Why I started Jam Jar

Some of you may have met me at CU Asia 2016, in Ubud, so you’ll know that I’ve been working in offices for my whole (varied) career (admin, customer/financial services, public service, law) and that I studied architecture at one point and I love people and their creativity.

So I’ve started a coworking space because the opportunity to take on the building that we’re in coincided with me finding out about coworking and thinking that it was the coolest thing I’d heard about in ages. Coworking also addresses a long term beef I’ve had that workplaces and spaces are missed opportunities. They should be better and controlled by the people who work in them. Coworking spaces are finally doing this, and in lots of different ways that are still emerging and changing. Good times.

I’m about offering the small businesses of this neighbourhood a good quality space that they can shape and refine over time, where they can come to work together, meet new people, hang out, run events, have meetings and have the facilities they need to do these things pretty seamlessly.

The space

Jam Jar is just over 200m2 and primarily aimed at post start up businesses in the neighbourhood. We also have some decent meeting rooms (a boardroom and 3 smaller rooms) and have found that there’s been interest in them from CBD businesses wanting to get offsite for workshops etc.

We’re in a really great location in a gentrified, former industrial pocket right near Smith Street, which is well known in Melbourne for its restaurants, cafes, shops, street art and culture, and which has a tram line direct to the city.

We refurbished the building we are in, which was a tired, 3 storey office building that was only 15 years old. Our emphasis was on getting natural light in and creating lots of different types of useful spaces while dedicating most of the floor area to open plan desks. Every decision of our fit out was made with the environment in mind despite our tight budget. This meant we preferenced low VOC products, natural materials and products from companies that are ahead socially and environmentally. It also meant we reused as much as we could from the previous fit out and bought quality second hand where we could. We balanced this to create a feel that the space is new and ‘clean’ aesthetically. (Examples of reuse and secondhand included reusing the old aluminium and glass partitions to make new meeting rooms, reusing the kitchen sinks from the old tea-points in our new break out space and tea-point and reusing perfectly good security hardware, buying secondhand Knoll / Formway task chairs that are barely used ex-Tax Office and secondhand desks from Grimshaw Architects’ when they refurbished their office).

We’ve tried to create a casual but professional space that’s airy and comfortable. We’re also emphasising health in the workplace. For example we try to give members control of the space/their environs, we’ve got plants, and office dog, ergonomic chairs, the beginnings of an activity based set up.

The community

I’m a little sheepish that we opened and are now building our community. All the experience and knowledge at CU Asia said build your community first but logistically this didn’t work out for me. We have 2 open plan spaces so we’re only using the smaller of these at the moment so people aren’t spread through the building. As we grow, we’ll open the other area.

So far we’re doing ok with a handful of local people joining us as part time members over the last few weeks - a lawyer starting a new practice, a business adviser, a graphic designer just moved down from Sydney, a wine maker/wine events business, a couple of creative writers and a couple of other former lawyers who are moving into the start up space. It’s slow - we have people here each day but not a lot of cross-fertilisation because we haven’t had a critical mass on any one day.

So we need to work harder to get the word out that we’re here and to get communication happening between our members to help them form a community. We have lots of ideas that we are carrying out butwould love more ideas and to know what’s worked for other brand new spaces, especially in comparable cities. I’m finding podcasts super helpful and inspiring here too, especially The Coworking Weekly Show and Everything Coworking. Interested in others’ favourite podcasts and forums.

Our attention to social and environmental responsibility is continuing - we’re big on recycling within the space and we’ve opened our space to community groups for use out of hours, which accords with the ethos of our neighbourhood and something our members love. We want to explore more opportunities to partner with the neighbourhood in this way.

<3

···

On Thu, Aug 3, 2017 at 12:09 PM, Angel Kwiatkowski [email protected] wrote:

This is my all time favorite blog post on turning an empty space into a community. I link to it CONSTANTLY. https://dangerouslyawesome.com/2014/06/how-i-turned-an-empty-coworking-space-into-a-coworking-community/
Angel

On Sunday, July 23, 2017 at 8:04:05 PM UTC-6, Suzanne Vale wrote:

Hello!

I’m new to this forum. My name’s Suzanne Vale and I’ve just opened a coworking space called Jam Jar Cowork in Collingwood, which is an inner suburb of Melbourne, Australia.

Below is some info about me, why I’ve started Jam Jar, the space and the community we’re building.

I’m really glad to have found this forum and can see it’s really supportive with lots of helpful, insightful advice and discussion. I look forward to joining in! I’ll also be at GCUC in Melbourne next month so hope to meet some of you there. Drop me a line if you’re coming along.

Cheers Suzanne

Why I started Jam Jar

Some of you may have met me at CU Asia 2016, in Ubud, so you’ll know that I’ve been working in offices for my whole (varied) career (admin, customer/financial services, public service, law) and that I studied architecture at one point and I love people and their creativity.

So I’ve started a coworking space because the opportunity to take on the building that we’re in coincided with me finding out about coworking and thinking that it was the coolest thing I’d heard about in ages. Coworking also addresses a long term beef I’ve had that workplaces and spaces are missed opportunities. They should be better and controlled by the people who work in them. Coworking spaces are finally doing this, and in lots of different ways that are still emerging and changing. Good times.

I’m about offering the small businesses of this neighbourhood a good quality space that they can shape and refine over time, where they can come to work together, meet new people, hang out, run events, have meetings and have the facilities they need to do these things pretty seamlessly.

The space

Jam Jar is just over 200m2 and primarily aimed at post start up businesses in the neighbourhood. We also have some decent meeting rooms (a boardroom and 3 smaller rooms) and have found that there’s been interest in them from CBD businesses wanting to get offsite for workshops etc.

We’re in a really great location in a gentrified, former industrial pocket right near Smith Street, which is well known in Melbourne for its restaurants, cafes, shops, street art and culture, and which has a tram line direct to the city.

We refurbished the building we are in, which was a tired, 3 storey office building that was only 15 years old. Our emphasis was on getting natural light in and creating lots of different types of useful spaces while dedicating most of the floor area to open plan desks. Every decision of our fit out was made with the environment in mind despite our tight budget. This meant we preferenced low VOC products, natural materials and products from companies that are ahead socially and environmentally. It also meant we reused as much as we could from the previous fit out and bought quality second hand where we could. We balanced this to create a feel that the space is new and ‘clean’ aesthetically. (Examples of reuse and secondhand included reusing the old aluminium and glass partitions to make new meeting rooms, reusing the kitchen sinks from the old tea-points in our new break out space and tea-point and reusing perfectly good security hardware, buying secondhand Knoll / Formway task chairs that are barely used ex-Tax Office and secondhand desks from Grimshaw Architects’ when they refurbished their office).

We’ve tried to create a casual but professional space that’s airy and comfortable. We’re also emphasising health in the workplace. For example we try to give members control of the space/their environs, we’ve got plants, and office dog, ergonomic chairs, the beginnings of an activity based set up.

The community

I’m a little sheepish that we opened and are now building our community. All the experience and knowledge at CU Asia said build your community first but logistically this didn’t work out for me. We have 2 open plan spaces so we’re only using the smaller of these at the moment so people aren’t spread through the building. As we grow, we’ll open the other area.

So far we’re doing ok with a handful of local people joining us as part time members over the last few weeks - a lawyer starting a new practice, a business adviser, a graphic designer just moved down from Sydney, a wine maker/wine events business, a couple of creative writers and a couple of other former lawyers who are moving into the start up space. It’s slow - we have people here each day but not a lot of cross-fertilisation because we haven’t had a critical mass on any one day.

So we need to work harder to get the word out that we’re here and to get communication happening between our members to help them form a community. We have lots of ideas that we are carrying out butwould love more ideas and to know what’s worked for other brand new spaces, especially in comparable cities. I’m finding podcasts super helpful and inspiring here too, especially The Coworking Weekly Show and Everything Coworking. Interested in others’ favourite podcasts and forums.

Our attention to social and environmental responsibility is continuing - we’re big on recycling within the space and we’ve opened our space to community groups for use out of hours, which accords with the ethos of our neighbourhood and something our members love. We want to explore more opportunities to partner with the neighbourhood in this way.

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The #1 mistake in community building is doing it by yourself.

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My Audiobook: https://theindyhallway.com/ten