Located in Vancouver, British Columbia, the bright and modern Makeshift Work Space opened over the summer to provide a central coworking location with a great member experience. We spoke with founder Monique Cherrie to learn more about Makeshift and what this space is offering the local community.
Why did you decide to open a coworking space?
We decided to launch a coworking space because we were looking for a place that offered a professional environment. After visiting several locally we didn’t find the right fit for us, both in terms of community and location. We did the research and know that there has been an increase in demand for unique spaces, and we saw an opportunity to help support entrepreneurs, the small business market, and the local community.
What kinds of amenities do you have? What makes your space unique?
Makeshift Work Space offers everything a new team needs to grow in our 4,200 square foot space. Our main office space is climate-controlled, clean, and professionally appointed. There’s natural light from our north and south facing windows, spectacular views, and a vibrant living wall that brings a touch of green to the workspace.
We offer an executive board room with A/V equipment that can host conventional meetings for 10 to 30 people depending on configuration, three additional meeting rooms for groups between two and six people, and five dedicated call rooms.
Our community kitchen offers flat or sparkling water, and really great coffee ranging from a latte to a cappuccino or anything in between, and best of all, you don’t have to be an expert to get a great pour.
We are located in the Strathcona community, Vancouver’s oldest neighborhood, and are a part of East Vancouver which has a rich and vibrant arts community that is clearly visible from our front or back patio. Our back patio features a virtually unobstructed view of the Vancouver Harbour, the North Shore, and Vancouver’s Grouse, Seymour, and Cypress mountains. Our front patio provides a view of the neighborhood, including a community center, public library, several restaurants and a partial view of downtown Vancouver.
Because we live in such an active community, supporting our members that commute using pedal power or other ways, we also offer two showers, a secure bike lockup within the building, and lockers are available for members who need additional storage space. Vancouver is leading the way in becoming a more green city, and our location is well-situated for folks who prefer not to work downtown, but want to be close. Getting downtown is a 10-minute drive, or 15-minute bike or bus ride away.
One of the really great things about our community is the love for the arts, and that is reflected in the murals that are visible from within our space as well as the many, many murals in the neighbourhood visible from our patios, and those on the front and back of our building.
What is your favorite thing about operating a coworking space?
My favorite thing about operating a coworking space is the people that use it. There is such a diversity of business owners and giving them the experience they are looking for and the network that they can thrive in has been the most rewarding. Plus I’m a people person, so sharing in the entrepreneurial spirit that generally comes with being in a coworking space is motivational.
What has been the most surprising or unexpected thing about operating a coworking space?
Getting used to the comings and goings of people from your space. You spend time with people, get to know them, and then they move into their next phase. We’ve had customers move to the States and others go on maternity leave. And then you get a new customer that adds to your space’s dynamic. It really is a unique business experience.
What’s your favorite story about one of your members?
Discourse Media is our founding member at Makeshift Work Space. The Discourse helps independent journalists provide community-powered, local news. They have also been integral in helping us shape the Makeshift Work Space community. They recently went from one dedicated member to three full-time members and they have a monitor that they don’t use all the time. So they put it in a place where, when not in use, any member in the space is welcome to use it. I love having customers that help each other out!
What advice do you have for someone who’d like to open a coworking space?
Think long and hard on what your community is going to want. Will you have networking events? A Friday social? Monday meetups? Your space is also a reflection of you and what you want to create and the sky’s the limit.