community Archives | Hawaii's First Coworking Space
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Entreperleaders: Ellemsee Media

Lauryn Chin and Noah Gordines are two halves of the full service digital agency Ellemsee Media. Ellemesee Media creates content for individuals and businesses across the media spectrum. They design and develop websites, photography, videos, and various other branding imagery. Lauryn and Noah take pride in doing intensive research on all of their clients to create a visual language suited to their clients brands. Not only are Lauryn and Noah business partners but they’re a couple as well. While working as a couple Lauryn and Noah feel communication is a key factor in their workflow and it helps their company grow. Ellemesee Media had a dedicated desk space here at BoxJelly. While at BoxJelly their company started to outgrow the space and they recently moved out into their own office. Before Ellemsee Media moved out, I had the opportunity to sit down with Lauryn and Noah to discuss the ins and outs of Ellemesee Media and their experiences while working out of BoxJelly.

How did Ellemsee Media start?

L+N: It started as a side hobby. It was essential to our other business. We own a jewelry business called The Pi Collection. Lauryn started it about 7 years ago. It was a business where I wore all hats. We actually met at a trade show where I was peddling my product. After we met, Noah jumped in and he started to help with my business. We got into like 200 stores around the world. He is a badass at selling. As our partnership grew we were able to grow the business. Naturally, people started to ask us “Who does your website?,” “who does your marketing?,” and “who does your graphics?” We were like “Oh we do it.” From then, people started asking us for help with their businesses. It started out just as a fun thing to help out our friends and then everybody started asking us for help. Finally, it got to the point where we decided this should be a business.

What makes you different from other design companies?

L+N: We aren’t just a web designer. We don’t just drag and drop things into little boxes and call it a day. We actually take the time to research and develop a campaign appropriately. One of the latest projects we did was for Hawaii Ship. It’s a website for seniors trying to figure out how to get medicare

e. We analyzed the demographic data of people using their website. We needed to design the function of the website to be the best for their specific demographic. When you think of seniors you have to consider that an 80 year old isn’t going to be using the website. Rather, itʻs more likely that their children who will be using the website. So, we had to target to those people. Lastly, I think one of our client’s favorite thing to say about us is that we are very responsive. When they email us they are going to get a response. Noah’s really good at getting back to people.

What is it like working as a couple?

L+N: One of the things that helped us do work as a couple was working out of BoxJelly. It really helped to separate home and work life. One of the biggest things for us was that we bonded instantly. We were actually a long distance couple before he moved back to Hawaii. Conversation was key. Conversation was so important. That’s how we made it as a couple. We were able to communicate with each other and it made our work life much easier. Itʻs just knowing at the end of the day that you love each other and you still are going to be together. We have different skill sets that complement each other.  

Describe your experience working out of BoxJelly?

L+N: BoxJelly was a good stepping stone for us. From working out of random coffee shops or even at home. BoxJelly has a nice creative atmosphere. The people here are awesome and we love that you can bring your dog to work. It’s a collaborative space and weʻve made a lot of good connections here. So did our son Kolby. He loves Matt, the architect. So much so, that now he wants to be an architect! Every time he sees Matt or Ed, heʻs starstruck! We also like the BoxJelly events. We like coming to the art shows. Itʻs really a perfect spot for the creative industry.

Is there anything from the experience of working at BoxJelly that you will take with you  as you grow and expand?

L+N: From the artwork to the placement of the furniture, we were inspired by the space. When we were planning out our furniture for our new office, the number one we need is a snack spot just like in BoxJelly! Thatʻs so important. One thing that being at BoxJelly helped us with was creating a checklist of things we need for our new office!. Also, when planning out the layout in our own space, we were thinking that we needed a more modular style to move things around. We modeled our employees workspace after this place. We appreciate the co-working, open space floor plan as opposed to everybody in their own cubicle. It just works better for us as a lot of the tasks we do are very collaborative. We have designer and a web developer. Our place is going to be a big open friendly collaborative area.    

What advice would you give to anybody who wants to start a small business

L+N: Always answer emails. I canʻt even count how many times a client has said to me “Youʻre the only person who has responded to my call or email!” Another one is be passionate about what your doing. You have to break the mold and go beyond what your comfortable with.   

Check out Lauryn and Noah at ellemseemedia.com/

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For Your Inspiration (FYI) with Kevin Sweeney

Longtime member of BoxJelly Jasmine Slovak has set into motion a new Monday morning talk series called For Your Inspiration (FYI). While the event feels more like a candid conversation over coffee than a presentation, Slovak hopes to create a forum for speaking about staying motivated through setbacks, frustrations, and failures. Kicking off the first FYI was Kevin Sweeney, founder of Imagine, an urban church in Honolulu that is building a more inclusive, progressive Christian community. Sweeney has a master’s in Theology and Intercultural Studies, is a BoxJelly member, and shares a great affinity with industrious, imaginative entrepreneurs.

The topic for this talk was community building. Sweeney spoke from personal experiences about growing an idea beyond his living room, and creating a movement of individuals working towards a common goal.

He believes that “Human beings have been created to  flourish in the context of thriving relationships. There’s no substitute for people who are willing to be with you along the journey.”

One take away was that community is the solution to the problems we can’t solve alone. That scaling that community creates the culture wish to create. But it starts with the individual.

“Those moments when you want to quit are a sign that you’re moving forward and growing.”

When things get uncomfortable in the process of growing your community, Sweeney reassured everyone that “the least likely places you go are the most likely places you’ll grow.” 

The next FYI event will be on Monday, August 27th from 7:30am-8:30am. Coffee and pastries will be provides by Morning Glass. For more information or to RSVP check out our Facebook page. All photos by Tommy Pierucki of PineappleSunrise.

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NextSpace (Venice)

Juicy Journals 
LOS ANGELES, CA
Tuesday 4/29/14

LA was the first leg of the journey, with four spaces to get to before Amtrak-ing out to Kansas City! The first space was NextSpace in Venice. I’ve had my reserves about multi-locational spaces, always wondering how they foster the individual identity of each space and its community. But seeing the way Carl interacted with drop-ins and new members, and talking with him about the neighborhood developments, it became apparent that each NextSpace location is like the neighborhood coworking spot.

Across the street, Joe Silver is building a studio out of the old Post Office. Google opened its first office in Venice, which was soon followed by a migration of other companies and startups to the westside/Santa Monica area. The area is becoming a kind of crossroads between entertainment and tech, and has been dubbed ‘Silicon Valley’, which locals didn’t really appreciate, “…because we have our own identity that’s besides [Silicon Valley]”, Carl explained. Carl is someone who has lived in Venice Beach for over 16 years, and our conversation made me wonder – what is coworking’s role in gentrification? Perhaps it is a cause – facilitating the population that’s encroaching upon the neighborhood. Perhaps it is a result – an indication that there are already those now living in the area with higher income. Perhaps it is a buffer – providing current residents with the flexibility to work where they live. As for Carl, a long-time resident, NextSpace and coworking have provided him with a place to work (he is also a musician), and a job that he enjoys.

Watching the neighborhood go by from behind the large tinted windows, there was always a boarder or a bicycler. The sun was shining, and the beach was calling me from just two blocks away. To the land of bikes and boards, I had to bid Venice a dieu to head downtown; development is something that’s happening in Kaka’ako so I’m sure our conversations of neighborhoods and coworking will continue!

Click the pictures below for commentary descriptions!

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TRIPPIN’

Bloomington, Day 1 (Pt. I)
By Britney T-M

Bloomington

TRIPPIN’ is a summer blog series featuring coworking spaces, as BoxJelly intern Britney T-M travels to attend George Mason University’s Social Innovation Program. Follow the trip on Google Maps.

For those of you not familiar with Bloomington, a major fact is that it’s home to Indiana University. Because of the talent that pools here from this mega institution, it’s no wonder the coworking spaces in B-Town established quickly. With sucha  concentration of skills for the area’s labor force, you’ll see companies sprout up in very unique ways, explaining a sort of “wild-card effect” of the midwest in terms of innovation and industry.

Cowork Btown

Coworkin' hard!

Coworkin’ hard!

Cowork Btown

One of many pieces by Bloomington artists that were just recently put on display.

Cowork Btown started in the way most do. The founding members worked remotely for their companies. They met up at coffee shops and loved the social benefits of working together – chatting about the game, sharing info. about recent product releases, etc. But spending $20 every day and having to constantly feed the parking meter inspired them to find a space of their own. With one tweet, they found 10 more people to join them, and BOOM!, Cowork Btown was born.

I met with one of the founding members Aaron White, a lead designer at Formstack, who also works with Bryan and Brandon (trippy!). It’s located in a building with multiple tenants – a yoga studio and investment group are their closets neighbors.

It is a smaller space, only about four or five months old, but is equipped with all the essential amenities – common work area, meeting rooms, and soon-to-be lounge room. They might be able to acquire an extra room as well that they would turn into a copy room with more lounge space. The kitchen space and restroom is shared with the investment group, which is an interesting way that they are unintentionally coexisting with other working professionals. When first finding a space, they encountered a bit of misunderstanding with landlords thinking of coworking more as subletting. It was a reminder for me of how recent this industry has developed.

Back of the chalkboard walled reception area.

Back of the chalkboard walled reception area.

As our conversation continued, the topic shifted towards an area that I think a lot of coworking founders will find themselves in. “We need to partner with someone,” explained Aaron, “…to help manage the community. It’s just that we’ve got full time jobs…family and kids…it’s hard to work on the space.” Planning events, managing new member signups, making sure there’s TP in the restrooms – these are things that need to get done for a space to operate. As founders establish the needs of space creation, who will be there to maintain it?

The potential lounge room.

The TV wall in the potential lounge room.

The simple answer is those who need it. The needs of tech. parks and coworking spaces relate to each other in this way. If no man is an island unto himself, coworking spaces should recognize the channels for which they are part in the ‘archipelago’, or their connection to ‘the mainland’–quite simply, the surrounding community/city and industry ecosystem of which they are in. During our Business Scholars consultancy project, our recommendations continually pointed to institutional partnerships for the sustainability of our tech. park client. For example, Purdue, Notre Dame, Rose Hulman–all of these educational institutions have technology parks who are partnered with them. Universities provide the research and talent, tech parks provide the infrastructure and networks for that research and talent to be implemented and relevant.

There is soon to be a tech park in Bloomington as well. With the IU and a growing tech. community, Bloomington certainly has fertile ground to grow and prosper as a town. And with young and ambitious professionals such as Aaron and the team of Yellow taking their early career steps in B-Town, there will be much more to look out for.

Blueline

Blueline

Blueline

Revenge is never a straight line“, and neither is any journey. Exploring coworking spaces means exploring communities, and the stories of people in that community. It was only after speaking with Aaron that I knew about Blueline, a coworking space that finds its niche in the creative realm rather than the tech. space. So after Cowork Btown, I trip’d myself over a few blocks on 6th St. and a half block north up College Ave. to Blueline.

Founder Chelsea Sanders with Bertie.

Founder Chelsea Sanders with Bertie.

Founder Chelsea Sanders graciously agreed to meet with me on a moment’s notice. After graduating college from Illinois State University, Chelsea landed in Bloomington for an art director’s position at Auxiliary Services for IU. By that point, she had already started Blueline Media Productions, a creative agency doing full marketing and branding campaigns for companies. An artist of photography herself, she eventually wanted to have her own business and gallery to give local artists a chance to showcase their art and host shows. “With artists, it’s more than likely that the majority of people don’t have the money,” exlains Chelsea. “They’re just trying to have a show…it’s expensive to rent a studio or gallery space. So if you share, it’s just cheaper.”

The fashionista of "What I Wore"(whatiwore.tumblr.com)

The fashionista of whatiwore.tumbr.com. (Co)Work it, girl!

As she made enough money, she resigned from the director’s position to fill that gap. Fast-forward through a few locations and you’ll find Chelsea right off the main square. She’s livin’ her dream, working amongst other creatives – a copy writer, a video director, their corresponding employees and interns, and even fashion blogger Jessica Quirk!

Backroom.

Backroom.

At Blueline, there’s a reception/couch area, a general workspace, a laptop/desktop bar, and a dedicated office space in a back room that is home to three programmers from Three Amigos. The conference table is a center piece of sorts in the space, and for shows, everything is cleared to transform the space into a gallery. Most of the furniture are refinished pieces from an old furniture store, lending to an antique/vintage vibe.

Center table.

Center table.

Memberships break even on the rent, but making money isn’t the point. This gives her a chance to make her business and have like-minded people to work with, which is another one of those innovation metrics difficult to measure. The next steps she wants to take involve community oriented events. She is currently working with one of her clients to host a leadership workshop for Blueline and community members (which is arguably an added value for her client, in access to exposure and networking).

We have this same exact Atlas at home.

Trippy: I flipped through this Atlas at my house, right before flying out of HNL.

While conversing with Chelsea, we talked about the changing culture of competition. Even with Cowork Btown and an upcoming technology park, competition looks like it will take a backseat to collaboration. The challenge that Chelsea sees is basically more of a marketing issue – how people understand what the space is, how it is used, and the referral of members.

"Live what you love" + "Work the way you live" = Blueline + BoxJelly

“Live what you love” x “Work the way you live” = Blueline + BoxJelly

It reminded me of kayak racing and running track. Coaches would tell us the clock was our only competition. Co-working, co-operation, co-mmunity…the stories of these spaces are all conceived with the purpose of benefiting through co-operation. I have a feeling that there is a redefinition of the competitor happening along with this paradigm shift of the way we work.

Bloomington continued in Day 1 (Pt. II)…
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Coming Up: Box Jelly Community Day (1/5 and 1/6)

Aloha to our Jelly community! We hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and we wish you a Happy New Year. Since this is the season of community and coming together, we felt like kicking off 2013 by hosting a Community Day here at the Box Jelly. Renovations on the property are about 80% complete, but we need your help making it to the finish line! If you’re interested please stop by Saturday (1/5), Sunday (1/6) or on both days anytime between 11 am and 4 pm. We ask that you please wear shoes and clothes that you’re comfortable painting in. Non-members are welcome as well, and food and drink will be provided on both days.
If you have any questions please contact us at bryan@theboxjelly.com or at 808-769-6921.
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