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  • Ready, set, scale: how coworking spaces help LA companies grow
    John Siegel
    When people think of Los Angeles, they often think of Hollywood, the traffic or the beach. But as the LA tech scene continues to grow, either by attracting companies to the area or nurturing local startups, the problem of rent — both in terms of office spaces and housing — can adversely affect a company’s ability to scale.
    In the last several years, workers and companies alike have turned to coworking spaces like WeWork, BLANKSPACES and Cross Campus for the flexibility they offer. As this continues, it’s becoming more apparent that the way we are used to thinking about offices and desks is obsolete.
    According to a report by The Instant Group, an independent global flexible workspace specialist, there’s more than just a buzz surrounding the coworking trend. Driven by the explosive growth of contingent workers, which the US Government Accountability Office estimates as representing over 40 percent of the US workforce, coworking has grown more than 10 percent in the US. Combination centers offering both executive suites and coworking spaces have expanded by 12.9 percent in the last year alone.
    “I think the trend toward coworking spaces is changing the way landlords build buildings, as well as where companies put their employees and the environment into which they put them,” said WeWork’s GM of West & Central USA, Jon Slavet. “We have companies coming to us saying they don’t want to be in the business of real estate, they just want our employees to work in the best place possible.”
    As neighborhoods continue to develop and as rent — both commercial and residential — continues to increase, the options for many startups shrink. Coworking spaces offer freelancers, small companies and medium sized companies a way to work in a great area for a cheaper rate. The spaces are managed by designated community teams and are stocked with the amenities one would expect when stepping into a tech company’s office.

    It’s this flexibility that draws many startups to consider a coworking space over signing a lease somewhere.
    “When you’re in a high growth startup, it’s helpful to have ultimate flexibility and simplicity of use,” said Helpr Co-Founder Kasey Edwards. “With WeWork, we popped in on a month-to-month lease with no cost for furniture. As we’ve evolved, they’ve been able to accommodate our needs for space.”
    Sherif Higazy, founder of Nuclear Creative, discovered the flexibility of working in a coworking space particularly benefitted his startup. “We started in a three man office in Hollywood, and then we found that we could move to a location closer to our production partners,” said Higazy. “Then we moved into a six person office, and then a six person office plus two. This all happened over the course of a week, and our capacity doubled. That’s huge; it’s not like I have to wait until my lease breaks and I’m in an empty warehouse.”

    Higazy’s first startup saw his living room double as an office, something he found to be stressful for not only the company, but also himself. “It’s super stressful, and you don’t know what the future holds. With a coworking space, you have these visible markers of your success, of the infrastructure coming into place, and the minute that we got to move out of the living room was great.”
    The range of options coworking spaces offer startups means companies can add desks or offices as the company needs them, not before. Scaling a company, therefore, can be done to coincide with a new hire coming onboard.
    “I see one of the biggest advantages at working at a coworking space as the ability to scale,” said Austin Kim, former general manager at WeWork Gas Tower resident LUXE and current general manager of Managed by Q. “It’s hard to predict what office and staffing needs will be beyond a quarter or two because things can really deviate up or down, and we don’t want to be locked into a five year lease.”
    As coworking spaces become more prevalent in the area, the industry will inevitably adapt to the number of options available. Currently, WeWork has six LA locations with four slated to open before the end of the summer. BLANKSPACES has offices in Mid-Wilshire and Downtown, with a location in Hollywood set to open shortly.
    “I think [the coworking industry] is barely getting started,” said Jerome Chang, owner and architect of BLANKSPACES. “The industry is just entering phase two, where you might see some mergers and acquisitions, and of course some failures, but there will be more consolidation.”
    Originally posted on Built In Los Angeles: http://www.builtinla.com/2016/06/21/the-rise-of-coworking-spaces
  • Coworking Expert on Designing for Revenue
    blankspaces

    In collaboration with Jerome Chang, BLANKSPACES

    “In a shared space, the ‘office’ is the main revenue driver. In traditional offices, the design has at best an indirect effect at driving revenue.”

    So says Jerome Chang, founder of LA-based BLANKSPACES and a speaker at this year’s GCUC.ALL conference in Los Angeles.

    Jerome is renowned for his design-led workspaces, yet he believes that many coworking and serviced office operators still fail to connect the dots between effective design and strong revenue.

    In an interview with OfficingToday, he discussed how the overall design of a shared workspace has a direct effect on driving revenue.

    “Unlike traditional offices, where employees need to occupy the space provided, shared workspaces are spaces where workers want to spend their time,” he says, “so much indeed that they pay dues to use the space. This means that a shared workspace’s design has to be appealing and attractive in order to retain clients.” In other words, “employees get paid to occupy an office; customers pay to use an office.”

    So, how can flexible workspace operators drive more revenue by focusing on design?

    Let’s start by crunching some numbers.

    The below graph summarizes the five most typical spaces that generate revenue in a workspace:

    • meeting rooms
    • private offices
    • desks
    • lounge areas, and
    • virtual offices.

    They are listed in declining order of upfront cost to build out, and of revenue per square foot:

     

    Each workspace is different, which is why it’s crucial to understand which type of spaces you want to offer…and can afford. This at least partly dictates the business model that you adopt and the type of members you attract.

    In Jerome’s words: “Think of this as you would do of hotels because each hotel has a different focus. Some are focused on having a high volume of suites, others offer boutique single rooms, and there are those that offer a wide choice of bars and restaurants. When it comes to your center, you need to decide what you want to offer: is it lounge areas only? Private offices and meeting rooms? Or a combination of all three?”

    Though you can mix and match your workspace offering, you need to be clear in your intention and which one is your priority – that’s where you focus your efforts to drive the most revenue..

    Once this has been established, you can begin to think about layout, design, furniture, and the investment that you will need to make.

    Let’s take for example a shared workspace that focuses on offering desks. As you can see in the graph above, desks are considered ‘medium revenue. Generally speaking, desks are cheap to install with prices ranging from $200 to $1,000 including a chair.

    In terms of monthly revenue, the number can vary from $400 to $600 a month for this approximately 20-30 sf workspace, which means that you get between $13 to $30 of revenue per square foot per month.

    Whether the model you choose is successful and profitable only time will tell, though financially speaking your IRR (Internal Rate of Return) should yield 10% to 20%.

    Ultimately, design can be pivotal to the effectiveness of your office space and a major factor in driving revenue. In today’s competitive market, shared spaces that are both visually attractive and financially efficient may seem hard to come by, but they’re certainly not a myth. After all BLANKSPACES is one of them.

    By lining up side by side the design of your space with the financial model, you’ll be able to see for yourself how these two components go hand in hand.

    Stay tuned for upcoming articles on design and numbers, including upfront costs, profitable workspace types, and more.

    *Feature image courtesy of Jerome Change (Blankspaces Mid-City location in 2008).

     

    Originally Posted on Officing Today: https://www.officingtoday.com/2016/06/coworking-expert-on-designing-for-revenue/

  • From Blank Canvas to Community Spaces

    GCUC-logo                    Jerome GCUC 2016

     

    Since launching BLANKSPACES in 2008, Jerome Chang has made a respected name for himself in the coworking arena.

    As the first coworking space in SoCal and one of the first in the US, Jerome has become a go-to source of inspiration and knowledge. In fact, he put his experience to good use in 2011 by hosting one of the first national gatherings of coworking space owners and operators, which led to the creation of the League of Extraordinary Coworking and COSHARE.co.

    It’s fair to say he knows his stuff. So when he took to the stage at Camp GCUC, the workshop for novice operators on day one of this year’s All.GCUC Conference in LA, OT’s Ceci Amador was all ears. Here’s what she learned:

    On Design:

    Jerome’s coworking space is BLANKSPACES by name, but not by nature. Design, he says, is all-important, as coworking and creative offices are slowly turning into one and the same thing.

    A space that is “efficient, vibrant, and attractive” is your ultimate goal in coworking, as this enables you to use more of your space in a greater variety of ways, which is “the trick to revenue”.

    Jerome discussed “design by numbers”, which associates the architecture and design of a coworking space with the actual revenue, and made the case for good design not only attracting prospective members but also underlying retention.

     

    (more…)

  • Taiwanese-American Chamber of Greater LA Investment Forum, May 28th 2016

    The Taiwanese-American Chamber of Greater LA – Junior Chamber for years has been advocating the necessity of information exchange and the acquisition of innovated knowledge. On May 28th, 2016, we are going to hold an “Investment Conference” at JW Marriot Los Angeles, LA Live. This is a one-day event and we will have 40+ speakers and VIPs talk about various topics related to innovation, startup, and funding, which I believe that will align with the interest of the audience. The program outline is listed below.

     

    http://www.taiwan-us-invest.com/programs.html

  • RE:WORK | APRIL 2016
    image

    RE:WORK

    BIG IDEAS FOR THE NEW SMALL BUSINESS | APRIL 2016

    BLANKSPACES WAS THE FIRST TO PUT THE ‘WE’ IN ‘WORK’ IN 2008!
    Let’s Celebrate, We’re Turning 8!
    cal-blueendar 16.Apr.05
    blog 1

    When we first opened doors in April of 2008 I had only hoped that we would continue expanding the brand and co working community across Los Angeles. Fast forward a few years, a couple locations, and hundreds of members later we are beyond excited to have been the first co working space in Southern Los Angeles and look forward to the next 8+ years.In honor of our birthday, we are introducing a few special deals:

    1) For the entire month of April, if you sign up for a month-to-month WorkBar membership at either our Downtown LA or mid-Wilshire locations we will offer it to you for $88/month!

    2) Also, if you would like to establish a business presence without physically going into an office, we’re cutting our month-to-month Virtual Office plans to $88/month!

    We want to thank our members for this continued success, and as we grow, we hope you grow with us.

    Jerome Chang
    Head Honcho

    Event Highlight
    cal-blueendar 16.Apr.21

    Alter Spark: Psychology for Digital Behavior Change
    Thursday. 4/21 (DTLA)
    Friday. 4/22 (DTLA)
    9AM-5PM – 2 Day Workshop

     

    ABOUT THIS WORKSHOP: Over the course of 2 days, you will learn how to apply the same psychological strategies that drive the world’s most successful websites, mobile apps, and social media campaigns. You will obtain exclusive psychological design resources and develop the ability to recognize and apply over 50 principles of persuasive psychology.

    This workshop is great for interactive designers (UI/UX), digital marketers, content specialists, and web/mobile developers. Learn why so many of the world’s leading technology companies, corporations and brands have already attended.

    The workshop will inspire you with new ideas, give you a fresh perspective on digital motivation, and empower you to build influential technologies. After, you’ll never look at technology in the same way again.


    Learn more and RSVP
    Here

     
    br>

    CRAZY 8
    PROMOTION
    $88/Month Special!

    Virtual OfficeMemberships,
    WorkBar Memberships (Mid-Wilshire orDowntown LA)
    or call 213-550-2235
    CALENDAR LISTING
    Televisionary Writer’s Workshop
    Saturday, 4/10, 4/17, 4/30 11AM-1:30PM
    @bLA
    Advanced Spec Lab
    Saturday 4/23 2:30PM-5:30PM
    @bLA
    UX Study Group and Peer Mentorship
    Tuesday, 4/12 6:30PM-9:30PM
    @bDTLA
    Advanced Comedy Pilot Lab
    Saturday 4/9 1AM-4PM
    Saturday, 4/30 1AM-4PM
    @bLA
    Advanced Pilot Lab
    Sunday, 4/24
    1PM-5PM
    @bLA
    Command B Fellowship Panel
    Saturday, 4/23 11AM-12:30PM
    @bLA
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    www.blankspaces.com   |   info@blankspaces.com   |   (213) 550-2235
    BLANKSPACES is a coworking community of entrepreneurs and freelancers who share office space in order to collaborate.
    Workspaces are available on-demand, by the hour, day, or month.
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  • 30 Most Influential People in Coworking 2016

    30 Most Influential People in Coworking 2016

    Coworking, by its very definition, is rooted in community, growth, and innovation.

    Because of the passion and dedication of thousands of coworking community members, the industry has expanded to what it is today – a revolutionary movement that is shaping the way our world views businesses, offices, and the way people get work done.

    By the end of 2016, there are expected to be 10,000 coworking spaces throughout the world – 28% growth from 2015.

    This leads to some very important questions for 2016: as coworking goes “mainstream,” will the originality and unique roots of the movement remain?

    Where is the line between coworking and just working, and how do we ensure that we’re remaining authentic to the foundational elements of the industry?

    Leading up to the major 10,000-space milestone in 2016, there has been a strong community of influencers who have helped shape coworking into the high-growth industry it is today.

    These are pioneers, revolutionaries, and next-level leaders who are all tied to one very strong belief: that coworking is changing the way we work and is here to stay.

    We asked the coworking community to nominate influencers they feel have had a significant hand in building the coworking movement, accelerating the movement’s growth, and/or ensuring the movement stays on the right track.

    We received tons of awesome nominations and have broken up the influencers into six categories:

    Read on to find out more about each category and the influencers!

    Is this list missing an influencer that’s impacted your coworking experience? Let us know here.

    Most Impressive Networks Coworking Influencers 2016

    Most Impressive Networks

    These individuals have established themselves as thought leaders with some of the strongest communities of members, leaders, and influencers.

    Mike LaRosa Coworking Influencers 2016

    Name: Mike LaRosa
    Company: Coworkaholic
    Location: Washington, DC
    Website: www.coworkaholic.com
    Social media: Twitter, LinkedIn

    He is truly passionate about coworking. It’s most clear in his ability to bring communities together to collectively propel the industry forward.

    Jean Yves-Huwart Coworking Influencers 2016
    Name: Jean-Yves Huwart
    Company: Coworking Europe
    Location: Brussels
    Website: www.global-enterprise.biz
    Social media: Twitter, LinkedIn

    He’s one of the biggest voices of coworking in Europe, and has brought together a community of coworking spaces through Coworking Europe, where we can learn from each other and discuss the future of our industry.

    Tony Bacigalupo
    Name: Tony Bacigalupo
    Company: New Work City
    Location: New York City
    Website: www.tonybacigalupo.com
    Social media: Twitter, LinkedIn

    Tony is truly passionate about the collective good of coworking, bringing together coworking owners to ensure that whoever wants to be part of the coworking movement can be.

    Ramon Suarez Coworking Influencers 2016
    Name: Ramon Suarez
    Company: Betacowork
    Location: Brussels
    Website: www.coworkinghandbook.com
    Social media: Twitter, LinkedIn

    Ramon quite literally wrote the handbook on coworking, and he’s done a great job of using it to connect individuals interested in coworking from throughout the world.

    Liz Elam Coworking Influencers 2016
    Name: Liz Elam
    Company: GCUC
    Location: Austin
    Website: www.linkcoworking.com
    Social media: Twitter, LinkedIn

    She hosts the GCUC [Global Coworking Unconference Conference], and has dedicated herself to her passion of connecting and informing the industry.

    Coworking Influencers Coworking Innovators

    Coworking Innovators

    These individuals are visionaries that are pushing coworking forward both creatively and strategically.

    Craig Baute Coworking Influencers 2016
    Name: Craig Baute
    Company: Creative Density Coworking
    Location: Denver
    Website: www.craigbaute.com
    Social media: Twitter, LinkedIn

    Craig uses his solid business background in his approach to coworking – at the end of the day, we’re all running businesses we want to succeed, and he a forward-thinker who can help get there.

    Drew Jones Coworking Influencers 2016
    Name: Drew Jones
    Company: OpenWork
    Location: Austin
    Website: www.openwork.agency
    Social media: Twitter, LinkedIn

    He has an intuition for where the future of work is heading not just within coworking, but within the entire corporate working industry as a whole.

    Jeremy Neuner Coworking Influencers 2016
    Name: Jeremy Neuner
    Company: Google
    Location: San Francisco
    Website: www.nextspace.us
    Social media: Twitter, LinkedIn

    He’s proven time and time again that he’s a builder and curator of great communities.

    Chelsea Rustrum Coworking Influencers 2016
    Name: Chelsea Rustrum
    Company: Sharers.co
    Location: San Francisco
    Website: www.rustrum.com
    Social media: Twitter, LinkedIn

    She has a true vision when it comes to the sharing economy, and has helped the coworking understand where it fits into this new revolution.

    Iris Kavanagh Coworking Influencers 2016
    Name: Iris Kavanagh
    Company: NextSpace
    Location: San Francisco
    Website: www.iriskavanagh.com/
    Social media: Twitter, LinkedIn

    She’s the community expert – she knows how to build, foster, and optimize growth for communities of all sizes and types. Most importantly, she’s a pleasure to work with!

    Coworking Influencers Best Commercial Successes

    Biggest Commercial Successes

    The title says it all – these individuals have achieved significant commercial success in their coworking ventures.

    Adam Neumann
    Name: Adam Neumann
    Company: WeWork
    Location: New York City
    Website: www.wework.com
    Social media: Twitter, LinkedIn

    Adam built the biggest coworking space chain in the United States. It’s hard to argue with that success!

    Joshua Abram Coworking Influencers 2016
    Name: Joshua Abram
    Company: Neuehouse
    Location: New York City
    Website: www.neuehouse.com
    Social media: Twitter, LinkedIn

    With Neuehouse, Joshua shows a serious coworking model of how work collective will look like in the future.

    Nick Jones Coworking Influencers 2016
    Name: Nick Jones
    Company: Soho House
    Location: London, UK
    Website: www.sohohouse.com
    Social media: Twitter, LinkedIn

    Nick successfully built the most loyal, high-end worldwide coworking and travel community.

    Jim Newton Coworking Influencers 2016
    Name: Jim Newton
    Company: TechShop
    Location: Menlo Park
    Website: www.techshop.ws
    Social media: Twitter, LinkedIn

    Jim started techshop in 2006, way before anyone thought about hardware startups. Now, he provides the world with a community garage full of tools to build their dreams.

    Howard Schultz Coworking Influencers 2016
    Name: Howard Schultz
    Company: Starbucks
    Location: Seattle
    Website: www.starbucks.com
    Social media: Twitter, Bio

    Undeniably the biggest, easiest to access coworking space worldwide.

    Most Active Community Builders Coworking Influencers 2016

    Most Active Community Builders

    These individuals are gold mines for knowledge on all things coworking, and they do a fantastic building communities centered on their passions.

    Jerome Chang Coworking Influencers 2016
    Name: Jerome Chang
    Company: BLANKSPACES
    Location: Los Angeles
    Website: www.blankspaces.com
    Social media: Twitter, LinkedIn

    Jerome is always contributing to help fellow coworking space owners. He also opened the the first coworking space in SoCal and SF, long before anyone else.

    Alex Hillman Coworking Influencers 2016
    Name: Alex Hillman
    Company: Indy Hall
    Location: Philadelphia
    Website: www.indyhall.org
    Social media: Twitter, LinkedIn

    He’s been a community builder since the start and runs the most popular coworking podcast.

    Bob Summers Coworking Influencers 2016
    Name: Bob Summers
    Company: TechPad
    Location: San Francisco
    Website: www.techpad.org
    Social media: Twitter, LinkedIn

    He’s a true entrepreneur, and is the perfect example of someone who can use passion to drive community.

    Jared Kenna
    Name: Jered Kenna
    Company: 20Mission
    Location: San Francisco
    Website: www.20mission.com
    Social media: Twitter, LinkedIn

    Jered’s created the landing hub for every entrepreneur arriving in San Francisco.

    Jacob Sayles Coworking Influencers 2016
    Name: Jacob Sayles
    Company: Office Nomads
    Location: Seattle
    Website: www.officenomads.com
    Social media: Twitter, LinkedIn

    Community runs in through his veins: he’s a builder and contributor to Open Coworking, the coworking wiki, coworking visa, and Coworking Seattle.

    Coworking Originals Coworking Influencers 2016

    Coworking Originals

    These individuals have been part of the coworking movement since the beginning, and helped pave the way for industry influencers to come.

    Jamie Russo Coworking Influencers 2016
    Name: Jamie Russo
    Company: Enerspace
    Location: San Francisco
    Website: www.globalworkspace.org
    Social media: Twitter, LinkedIn

    Jamie’s always willing to share her experience when pioneering spaces in Chicago and Palo Alto.

    Amit Gupta Coworking Influencers 2016
    Name: Amit Gupta
    Company: Jelly
    Location: Portland
    Website: www.workatjelly.com
    Social media: Twitter, LinkedIn

    He introduced coworking to NYC [one of the industry’s biggest hubs] with Jelly.

    James Wahba Coworking Influencers 2016
    Name: James Wahba
    Company: Projective Space
    Location: New York City
    Website: www.projective.co
    Social media: Twitter, LinkedIn

    James and his brothers stay true to community coworking in NYC and constantly experiment to bring the best experience to their members.

    Tina Roth Eisenberg Coworking Influencers 2016
    Name: Tina Roth Eisenberg
    Company: Friends
    Location: Brooklyn
    Website: www.friendsworkhere.com
    Social media: Twitter, LinkedIn

    For Tina, coworking is and has been a natural lifestyle and source of inspiration.

    Alex Linsker Coworking Influencers 2016
    Name: Alex Linsker
    Company: Collective Agency
    Location: Portland
    Website: www.collectiveagency.co
    Social media: Twitter, LinkedIn

    Alex is one of the most consistent shapers of the coworking culture.

    Rising Newcomers Coworking Influenceres 2016

    Rising Newcomers

    The newest generation of coworking influencers, these individuals are going to play an integral role in taking coworking to the next level.

    Scott Cohen Coworking Influencers 2016
    Name: Scott Cohen
    Company: New Lab
    Location: Brooklyn
    Website: www.newlab.com
    Social media: Twitter, LinkedIn

    Scott shows how an interdisciplinary, creative work facility can lift up and position an entire borough.

    Rabih Helou
    Name: Rabih Helou
    Company: Beauty Shoppe
    Location: Pittsburgh
    Website: www.thebeautyshoppe.org
    Social media: Twitter, LinkedIn

    Rabih built the biggest coworking space in Pittsburgh and is a role model space for up-and-coming cities.

    Jamie Hodari Coworking Influencers 2016
    Name: Jamie Hodari
    Company: Industrious
    Location: Brooklyn
    Website: www.industriousoffice.com
    Social media: Twitter, LinkedIn

    Industrious is the fastest growing coworking space in the US.

    Zoltan Szalas Coworking Influencers 2016
    Name: Zoltan Szalas
    Company: Croissant
    Location: New York City
    Website: www.getcroissant.com
    Social media: Twitter, LinkedIn

    Zoltan made what many have waited a long time for – a space on demand from your phone.

    Jason Widen Coworking Influencers 2016
    Name: Jason Widen
    Company: HQ Raleigh
    Location: Raleigh
    Website: www.hqraleigh.com
    Social media: Twitter, LinkedIn

    Jason proves that the entrepreneurial spirit is what drives thriving coworking communities.

    To download the 30 Most Influential People in Coworking 2016 list, please click here.

    A little bit about why we built this list:

    We work with hundreds of coworking spaces throughout the globe, and we feel lucky to have been an integral part in the growth of these organizations.

    Through our work with coworking spaces, we’ve seen the impact coworking has had on individuals, companies, and the overall way our society thinks about the workplace.

    As the industry gains more and more momentum, we wanted to take a step back and honor those who have played an integral role in helping the movement get to where it is today.

  • Dear Furniture Industry, Love Coworking

    This article originally published in Business of Furniture on January 27, 2016 under the title, “Industry Can Learn from Coworking Movement” and can be found at this link. It is republished here with permission.

    This post appears on HuffPost: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/amanda-schneider/dear-furniture-industry-l_b_9525126.html

     

    Amanda Schneider

    Workplace Trends Passionista

     

    The coworking craze is infiltrating American work life in a big way. According to a report from the Commercial Real Estate Development Association, reported on recently in Inc, since the first coworking space opened in 2005, the number of coworking spaces in America has gone from 1 to 781 as of 2014, and is likely even higher now. More importantly, that trend isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. In just one year, between 2012 and 2013, the number of spaces increased by 83 percent and coworking memberships increased 117 percent in that time.

    As the coworking revolution takes hold, it will have a big effect on the landscape of the future workplace. While coworking companies are beginning to garner a lot of attention, there are also new spaces echoing coworking concepts that are popping up with increased frequency: in hotel lobbies, corporate atriums, and even local YMCAs. As technology and corporate cultures allow workers to be more mobile, the integration of these types of spaces will expand at a rapid rate. Forward-thinking furniture companies must respond with new types of furniture, expanded purchasing options, and innovative sales strategies.

     

    2016-03-22-1458676480-4289419-SageYMCA.jpg

     

     

    Coworking spaces need affordable, attractive, ergonomic furniture choices with multiple purchase options to avoid running through a lot of capital at the outset, and furniture companies need the security to know that any risk taken to get a company outfitted with furniture won’t come around to bite them if not successful. There is still a bit of a gap from what the coworking trend needs from the contract furniture industry.

    Jerome Chang, owner and architect at Blankspaces in Los Angeles, sees the true value in contract furniture and leveraged his knowledge of the industry when he opened his first coworking location in 2008. Chang says, “Then, I was the only coworking space that put a strong foot forward for needing real contract furniture. Most were going Ikea or West Elm. As coworking takes hold, there is a growing need to differentiate with the look, feel, and function of the space.”

     

    2016-03-22-1458676549-588645-blankspacesla.jpg

     

     

    Rebecca Brian Pan describes her experience with furniture buying after opening up several coworking spaces including her most recent endeavor, Covo, “There is one company, Turnstone, which specifically targets coworking and alternative workspaces. They are at a more reasonable price point and have much faster turnaround than most contract furniture. But that is the only contract option I’m familiar with, assuming they upgrade from Ikea or West Elm, which means a lot of coworking spaces have the same furniture and look. It is difficult to connect coworking operators with the more creative contract furniture providers who want to have these conversations and forge new paths forward. The market is still so nascent, it’s hard for furniture providers and coworking operators to find one another.”

    According to Liz Elam, Founder of Link Coworking in Austin, “After you figure out the rent, the second most expensive investment for a coworking operator is the furniture. The industry is so used to going after the corporate world they rarely focus on the emerging trends like Coworking. Right now, you typically cannot get a lease until you’ve been in business for three years. Since coworking is an industry that is pushing the boundaries of how people choose to work we will also challenge the furniture industry with how to facilitate these new ways of working.”

     

     

    2016-03-22-1458676614-1973600-LinkCoworkingAustin.jpg

     

     

    Henricksen, one of the largest and most successful dealerships in the country, is one furniture dealer who is answering these calls from the coworking community with fresh, new ways of thinking. For example, in recent years, they have partnered with Catapult in Chicago. Catapult describes their business as a unique cross between an incubator and a coworking space, with a peer-selected community of talented, ambitious, like-minded entrepreneurs. What differentiates their concepts from traditional coworking spaces is that the goal is to get tenants to leave: that is grow, prosper, and leave. As these companies leave, they need furniture. Russell Frees, EVP & Principal says, “When I first heard about Catapult, in my head it sounded like a great idea, but they wanted a lot for free. It was a great vision, but they had no track record. It was a total leap. In a business like ours you can only take so many leaps. But we did, and it has paid us back tenfold. Not just in financial rewards and business, but in networking opportunities and our ability to evolve our business model.”

    Frees explains, “Here’s why it’s a big risk: a lot of these entrepreneurial companies don’t want to or cannot pay for the furniture in advance. They request financing over the term of the lease. We are already at really low margins because they are comparing contract grade furniture to product in China or Ikea. But they NEED contract grade furniture if they want it to last and keep looking good.” Just like the old adage, no one ever washes a rental car, Frees points out that in these new coworking and coworking-like concepts, people are leasing or temporarily using space. At the end of the day, those people are not going to be as careful and gentle on furniture as if it were their own. The quality of furniture needs to be robust enough to withstand people beating on it… a lot.

    Because of their early risks to help Catapult get set up, Henricksen now has a solid and very innovative partnership with Catapult. When companies outgrow Catapult, a rep will meet with them. Typically their initial ideas of budgets are not something that any contract furniture dealer can meet. That is always the struggle. Henricksen has to educate them on the value proposition. They also have to create robust lease, lease to purchase, and payment plan options to meet evolving needs. Dealers must understand the need to get complex expenses off the balance sheet, which in turn allows them to depreciate the product efficiently over time and focus investments in the core of the business, but there is still a premium. If you are going to lease over five years, the overall cost will still be a bit more over the life of the product. Forward-thinking dealers like Henricksen understand these complexities and are also open to working with each company to devise personalized financing arrangements. This can include payment plans as they are growing the first few months out of the coworking space.

     

    2016-03-22-1458676684-3427234-CatapultCommonArea2.jpg

     

     

    Frees also describes another innovation in the furniture buying process. Building management companies are getting more innovative, as they have realized it is becoming a huge market to buy furniture and wrap it into the rental lease. Many companies don’t want to deal with coordination with a general contractor and hassles of a build out. This is becoming another innovative way in which smaller companies can finance their furniture needs. Frees says, “There are a couple of dealerships in Chicago that are doing it well through their connections. What we have done is gone to manufacturers, negotiated unbelievable prices based on volumes we believed would happen, and they have.” Together with the building, Henricksen presents options within a limited finish scope, still allowing choices in design for their space. If they select choices outside the negotiated package, Henricksen simply communicates those price changes to the building management, who adjusts rent accordingly.

    On the topic of coworking, Frees says, “I get that there is some frustration with us as an industry. I don’t believe we are the most forward-thinking industry all the time. If they are not connected to the right company to help them realize their vision, it can be a bad experience. The right dealership who gets the bigger picture will help them achieve their goals. There are a lot of really good contract dealers out there that want to have these conversations. It is all about raising the bar of how people see us as the contract furniture industry.”

  • RE: WORK – January 2016
    BLANKSPACES Logo BLANKSPACES BLANKSPACES Re:Work BLANKSPACES
    BLANKSPACES BIG IDEAS FOR THE NEW SMALL BUSINESS | JANUARY 2016
    BLANKSPACES

     

     

    New Website!

     

    It’s been in the works, but as of this month our website has been revamped and is now more user friendly than ever!

     

    You’ll notice that we highlight some of our ‘popular packages’ on the home page which include a Virtual Office, Everywhere WorkBar (access to all locations), WorkBar and WorkStations (dedicated desks). These seem to be the most sought after memberships at both our downtown and mid-city locations. If you have any questions regarding membership pricing, or you would like a custom quote please give our front desk a call!

     

    We have some pretty big plans in the works for this year so stay tuned for impending updates! We’re going to make this a great year for co working!

     

    Jerome Chang
    Head Honcho

    Jerome Chang

     

     

     

    Psychology of Success

    Panel Discussion

     

    Wednesday, January 27, 7pm-10pm

    @BLANKSPACES LA

     

    The event is part of a popular series, “Psychology of Success.” This panel discussion reveals the secrets to success. Our speakers include: Michael Borkow: Executive Producer of Friends, Roseanne, and Malcolm in the Middle. He currently is a Producer for Chuck Lorre’s “Mom.” Josh Feldman: Head of Feature Film Development for Hasbro, oversees the development and productions fro the Transformers franchise, GI Joe, upcoming Magic: The Gathering, and Play Doh animated film. Daniel Schnider: Head of Production & Development for Zoe Saldana’s Cinestar Pictures.

     

    Computer Science Los Angeles is an in-person digital classroom experience for learning computer science, right here in the heart of Los Angeles. We will be starting with an amazing Harvard course, CS50 taught by Dr. David Malan through the EdX platform. NO PRIOR programming experience required! Each week we will watch one lecture, in-person, in a great location with a projector, audio, whiteboard, and very fast internet! We will continue this until the course is completed. This is a great opprtunity to learn the fundamentals of computer science, get to know people in the community, and have fun!

     

    To join: The structure is simple, please ‘apply’ by filling out a brief questionaire on Meetup (see provided link) to be accepted into the CLSA. From there, you can RSVP for the event.

     

    To apply: click here

     

     

     

    RE:THINK – Strategies for Success

     

    Hosting a seminar, or perhaps a large workshop during peak hours? Are you a location scout (or know someone who is) that’s looking to film scenes during the week?

     

    Due to increased interest in our downtown Los Angeles location we have opened up availability and extended the option to utilize our facility throughout the week during business hours to accommodate the needs of industry professionals.

     

    So if you are hosting a webinar, multi-day module, filming a new commercial or other large event give us a call to schedule your next event!

     

     

    Referral Program
    Refer a Friend: have a fellow friend in need of office space? Bring them in for a free trial! If they sign up for a 3+ month membership they’ll receive 10% off their first month and we’ll sweeten the deal by extending a 10% credit to your membership!

     

    Calendar Listing
    Psychology of Success
    Wed 1/27 7pm-10pm
    @bLA
    Advanced Spec Lab
    Sat 1/30 1pm-4pm
    @bLA
    Free Coworking Day
    Every other Thurs 8am-7pm
    @bDTLA: 2/4, 2/18, 3/3, 3/17
    @bLA: 1/28, 2/11, 2/25, 3/10
    Televisionary Writers Workshop
    Sat 1/30 11am-2pm
    @bLA

    Veritas GMAT Prep
    Tues & Thurs 1/26-3/3 7pm-10pm
    @bDTLA

    Building Bridges Brunch + Workshop
    Sat 2/6 10am-2pm
    @bDTLA

    Fiction Writing Workshop with Jonathan Blum
    Sunday’s 2/7-3/13, 5pm-7pm
    @bLA
    Downtown UX Study Group & Peer Mentorship
    Tues 2/9 6:30pm-9:30pm
    @bLA

    TV Spec and Pilot Intensive with Eileen Jones
    Thus 2/11 7pm-10pm
    @bLA

    Advanced Spec Lab
    Sat 2/20 1pm-4pm
    @bLA

    Televisionary Writers Workshop
    Sat 2/20 11am-2pm
    @bLA
    Advanced Pilot Lab
    Syn 2/28 1pm-5pm
    @bLA

    Most of our events are open to the public and some are free for members! For more information regarding our events & seminars,please visit our online calendar

     

     

  • 2016 PREDICTIONS: COWORKING DESIGN

    coworking-2016

    By Jerome Chang // Founder, BLANKSPACES

    2016 will be a banner year for the design of coworking spaces. Here are some of my predictions.

    1. Design styles will distinguish and even glamorize the coworking brands that want to grow. Coworking has its roots in fostering community, with some spaces that are claiming a curated experience. Curation will continue to include design as a requirement for success in scaling up, earning PR, and closing significant investment rounds.
    2. Open work environments will continue to proliferate, but more spaces will try to tackle acoustics…and fail. With limited resources…and limited knowledge, bootstrapped solutions will try to piecemeal efforts to improve acoustics. Examples are the dreaded phone booth (my opinion only!); small “acoustic” panels; and hanging balls of yarn. #FAIL
    3. That said, noise is good. People will begin to just embrace how the range of noises will always exist and therefore shape your experience in the space. (Article: New York Times: Dear Architects: Sound Matters)
    4. At least one automated access system will finally break ahead of the pack and become the popular choice. The reason isn’t so much that a good enough system solves our problem, but that coworking is finally on suppliers’ radars.
    5. Furniture choices will expand out from Ikea to West Elm and CB2. Whoo-hoo! Baby steps everyone. Baby steps. Systems furniture manufacturers (Steelcase, Herman Miller, Haworth, etc.) will continue to patiently wait for coworking spaces yet another year for space amateurs to become space professionals. Then again, most of the coworking industry will continue to wonder why they rarely ever see or meet these manufacturers Chicken. Egg. ?

    And for a sneak peak prediction for 2017: hipster style in the office will die. They belong only in bars and restaurants, which are themselves trendy. Therefore, premiums spent on vintage furniture will become costly discounts desperate to be hauled away.

  • Co-Working Finds Space in Tech Scene

    Co-Working Finds Space in Tech Scene

    REAL ESTATE: Flexibility, price points prove good fit for startups.

    By GARRETT REIM

    Sunday, August 23, 2015

    Moving In: Cross Campus’ Dan Dato, left, and Ronen Olshansky in Santa Monica.

    Moving In: Cross Campus’ Dan Dato, left, and Ronen Olshansky in Santa Monica. Photo by Ringo Chiu.

    Chad Vangas’ startup is growing, but he won’t be moving into a formal office any time soon.

    Bootstrapped since its inception in April 2014, his four-employee email marketing service Ecommerce Influence is housed in a communal office, commonly called co-working space.

    “The word ‘lease’ just gives me the heebie-jeebies. I don’t want to be locked to anything,” said Vangas, whose shared office in Venice is owned by NextSpace Inc. “We really never thought at looking at an office space. We knew the flexibility and what a co-working space offered. Everything was set up and ready; just plop yourself down and go.”

    Vangas is among a growing number of entrepreneurs, freelancers and remote workers who have been drawn to the hundreds of thousands of square feet of co-working spaces that have opened recently in Los Angeles. These spaces, operated by both upstart firms and those backed by many millions in venture capital, have cropped up most notably in Santa Monica, Venice, Playa Vista, Culver City, Hollywood, Pasadena and downtown Los Angeles – the region’s tech hot spots.

    No hard numbers on the total amount of space taken by these businesses are available, but it is clear they are taking large chunks of office space off the market.

    Consider:

    After opening in 16,000 square feet of co-working space in Santa Monica in 2012, Cross Campus opened an 18,000-square-foot space in Pasadena in February and is expected to open a 33,000-square-foot space downtown in January.

    New York’s WeWork, valued at $10 billion by its venture capitalist investors, has two spaces in Los Angeles and has signed leases for three more, including an estimated 90,000 square feet in the Gas Co. Tower downtown.

    High-end co-working business NeueHouse of New York has committed to take 93,000 square feet at Kilroy Corp.’s Columbia Square project in Hollywood.

    In all, there are more than 50 co-working facilities in Los Angeles, according to website Represent.LA, and more are on the way.

    “Penetration into what we think of the addressable market is really low, by our

    estimate (just) 1 to 2 percent,” said Ronen Olshansky, Cross Campus’ co-founder

    and chief executive. “I think the scale of demand is going to surprise people in the next few years.”

    Perks

    The co-working business model at its core is simple: The site operator signs a long-term commercial lease, throws out some chairs, tables and Wi-Fi and then sublets space to entrepreneurs, freelancers and remote office workers.

    Co-working businesses take on the responsibility of handling more mundane administrative tasks for their subtenants, commonly called members: brewing coffee, supplying snacks, maintaining Internet connections and keeping the printer stuffed with paper. They also allow users to lease a desk, rather than committing to hundreds of square feet of office space for years on end.

    Still, argued Dan Dato, Cross Campus’ co-founder and chief operating officer, running the business is “a hell of lot more than (providing) an office and a desk. The hardest part of the business is the event programming, the hospitality.”

    Co-working spaces market both their perks and sense of community.

    Cross Campus’ new downtown location, for example, will come with a full-service artisanal coffee bar, rejuvenation rooms and member discounts with a masseuse who visits regularly. WeWork locations boast free beer, fruit water and video-game arcades. (Full disclosure: The Business Journal rents a desk at WeWork’s Santa Monica location.)

    Perks and community aside, the primary appeal is flexibility. And not surprisingly, the expansion of the co-working phenomenon in Los Angeles has tracked the growth of the tech industry, which craves flexibility.

    L.A. startup Soothe, developer of an app to order in-home massages, spent its first few unpredictable months at WeWork’s Hollywood facility.

    “For a corporate headquarters, it’s not a scalable option because the price per square footage is incredibly high,” said co-founder and Chief Executive Merlin Kauffman, who started the company with $400,000 of his own money. “But if you need to put one person in an office very quickly, it’s a great solution.”

    The cost, indeed, can be high. One two-person office in Santa Monica is about 80 square feet and costs $1,475 a month with a one-year agreement. That figures out to more than $18.40 a square foot a month, more than three times higher than the $5.02 average for Class A space in Santa Monica last quarter. Co-working landlords point out they also supply the office equipment, utilities, Internet connection, coffee and access to larger conference rooms, taking some of the sting out of the high price.

    Co-working spaces have also been able to proliferate because of changing expectations of work spaces: So-called creative office layouts allow operators to pack in tenants more densely.

    “Five to 10 years ago, it was 250 square feet per person,” said Olshansky. “With today’s creative office environment, people are working much closer together, 50 to 75 square feet per person.”

    The typical cost for an unreserved seat at an L.A. co-working table is about $350 a month, a dedicated desk is about $500 a month and private offices for two people range from $1,200 to $1,500 a month.

    Packing members in elbow to elbow means fees can add up quickly. And, like gyms, co-working facilities often overbook their open-table memberships knowing that many users will not come regularly.

    “With a good operating model, you can book 200 percent of the capacity, assuming not everyone will be there,” said Jerome Chang, founder and chief executive of Santa Monica co-working business Blankspaces.

    Landlords, too, like leasing to co-working businesses, which take large chunks of space and showcase their buildings.

    “All in all, getting more people to see your building, and to be a tenant in your building, spreads the word about the great attributes a building might have to offer,” said Gibran Begum, managing director at Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, who brokered the deal for WeWork’s 44,500-square-foot space in the Fine Arts Building in downtown Los Angeles. What’s more, “they typically will pay market or top-of-market rents to be able to lock up premier locations.”

    The 10-year lease on WeWork’s 40,000-square-foot location on Broadway in Santa Monica has an estimated value of $24 million.

    “It’s a business that has a very low barrier to entry. Anyone can get a space, staff it up and try to get a lot of people in their space,” said Cameron Kashani, co-founder of Santa Monica co-working space Coloft.

    With that comes risk. With so many co-working spaces opening their doors, there is a chance they can blow past market demand.

    “It’s kind of the Wild, Wild West right now. It’s really new, so people are figuring it out,” said Chang. “There’s going to be a tipping point soon, where things start shaking out. We’ll see what really works.”

    Co-Working Finds Space in Tech Scene _ Los Angeles Business Journal