Get Your Glitter On

The movement of the sharing economy started in the early 2000’s and has evolved into a broader range of platforms. With technology, the ability to work remotely affects a far larger amount of people. So it makes sense that people are looking for more variety in their chosen work places. I personally have a list of places I love to go based on mood or what I need to get done. Therefore, I was thrilled to add Craft, Austin’s creative hub for DIY, to my list of places that inspire.

Back to Kindergarten

Remember back when you were little and you got to play with paints and glitter and made a spectacular creation/mess? Then the teacher would help you clean up or you just walked away and went to take a nap? Well Craft essentially is kindergarten all over again minus the nap. As they put it, “where you go to be a kid. No kids allowed” haha.  The owner, Eli started Craft back in 2013 because she was tired of buying so many craft supplies when all she needed was a little. You can walk in and pay $10/hour to create to your heart’s desire. As Eli found out, occasional crafting is an industry which is why it’s relevant to Austin’s coworking community. Most people don’t consider themselves as creative so it’s less of a commit than to buy $$$ of craft supplies, only to figure out you’re not all that great or you don’t like it. Craft allows you to dip your toes without the financial commit. The staff are also super helpful to teach you how to use everything there too!

Work + Play = Success

I sat down and talked with Hannah, Craft’s manager, about how they started offering coworking space. Just like many businesses who started based on the sharing economy, they found that often times their space was not being utilized throughout the day. That’s when they decided to open the space up for events and coworking. One story Hannah talked about was when a CIA agent spent here afternoons doing her work there and took breaks to make creative cards! Two clearly different activities illustrate the benefits of working different parts of our brain. As Hannah mentions, being creative is “equally as important as working out.”

Outside of being one of the best places for a first date as mentioned in the Austinite Magazine, Craft is a perfect way to add that work life balance. Based on the article, Inside Your Brain: When You Have a Creative Idea“flashes of insight are those aha-moments when relaxing our mind, and without thinking methodological and logically, we are coming up with significant solutions…Studies have shown, that we are actually thinking differently when we have a creative moment like that, than when we are coming up with routine or logical solutions.” It may sound counter intuitive but if you have an important decision to make or you’re stumped on a particular challenge, busting out the crayons or digging through Craft’s largest stamp collection in Texas may be your answer.

Who Should Go

As with any coworking space, each space caters to a different set of personalities and goals. I honestly feel that everyone should at least visit even if a month of coworking isn’t right for them. There’s no harm in some occasional crafting! For those who are committed to actually coworking for the full month or more, I’d say that flexibility is the key word here. Since Craft is still figuring out what works for them, their coworking hours available tend to depend on events booked. Therefore it makes a lot of sense that the cost is reasonably at $60/month. If you’re looking for a place buzzing with people and to network, try another place. But if you’re looking for a quiet space filled with inspiration and possibility then head on over to Craft!

The Space In Between

It all starts with an idea. You ponder whether it’s good enough to start a real company. One day, you take the leap. Soon, you’ve convinced another friend to to help you build out this idea. Before you know it, you have a product released and have your first customers. Sales get so overwhelming that you need to hire more people to handle the load. You go from a couple of people working remotely to a small team working together in cafes. Eventually coffee shops aren’t cutting it so you move to coworking spaces. Things go well for quite awhile until you raise your first institutional round and realize you have to do a lot of hiring. Not only are you overwhelmed with all the decisions involved in growing your company but you’re also tasked with finding where to office out of.

This is the pain point that several coworking spaces including Work Well Coworking East Austin is looking to address. Too many times have you heard of companies leasing out massive spaces and then having to find creative ways to lease out the extra space. That’s actually the exact story of the founder of Journey Coworking, the space prior to Work Well Coworking East Austin. The previous founder decided to buy a warehouse but had additional space and repurposed it as a coworking space. Eventually he chose to concentrate on his growing company but it shows a real problem in office space as Austin continues to grow.

Austin’s Growing Tech Scene

Austin has been infamously nabbed as a place to start a company but not grow it. Too often you’ll hear of startups having to go outside of Texas to raise larger rounds. You ask Bay Area or NYC investors and few will acknowledge any real opportunity in funding in Texas. 2017 was a rough year in terms of funding as summarized in an article by Mary Ann Azevedo at Crunchbase, “Austin’s venture scene went on a roller coaster ride in the first three quarters of this year: down, then way up, then way down.” The article expresses optimism of new funds and changes coming in 2018.

With new opportunities in capital, Austin is now seeing a problem with everything else that follows after a company raises their series A or is in a growth stage. This is also the prime opportunity for spaces to take advantage of solving this pain point.

Wellness As You Grow

Work Well Win is a national coworking space that started in Greenwich, CT. Their next expansion into Austin led to Work Well Coworking East Austin which is a launching pad to their much larger space Work Well Eightfold on 3443 Ed Bluestein Blvd. The new space will have a yoga studio, cafe with local Austin products showcasing companies in the space and an Alpaca vending machine. You’ll notice as you walk through the kitchen at Work Well Coworking East Austin that all their snacks and beverage options are organic and/or health conscious.


What Work Well is good at is logistically planning out what companies need as they grow. When you first walk into their space you’ll notice a beautiful lobby with a glass encompassed conference room. The area is sectioned off with an area for hot seats in the common area by the kitchen/bar and a more quiet area (no music blaring) on the opposite side for companies with 6 or less people. Once a company grows to a larger size, they’ll upgrade upstairs and have their own private conference room next to their team work space. Lastly, when they’ve grown to a medium sized startup and need their own space but don’t want to commit to a several year lease, they can go to the Work Well Eightfold location. No matter what stage you’re at, Work Well Coworking has a space for you.

Your Neighborhood Coworking Spot

I was skeptical at first when first approaching Orange Coworking as it’s situated right in the middle of a HEB shopping center. It’s a stark contrast to the fancy coworking spaces in downtown that it completely threw me off. It wasn’t until I starting working there that I understood the practicality and appeal of a neighborhood coworking spot.

Freelancers Do It Best

Just like so many other founders of coworking spaces, Shelley Delayne started Orange Coworking with a background as a freelancer. She knew the growing pains of freelancers and she knew her neighborhood. Orange Coworking is one of few accessible spots in South Austin, situated in Tanglewood Village. While talking with Shelley, I noticed the set of booths right next to us. As a previous freelancer myself, I have a certain fondness for booths.  I, like many other freelancers, have spent countless hours cranking out work at a restaurant or cafe booth. Bringing this into a space creates a sense of familiarity and comfort. These are some of the details that make Orange Coworking brilliant!

Coworking Space Next Door

One thing I immediately noticed about Shelley and the community that she’s created is that it’s a very welcoming place. I was promptly greeted with a smile by Laura who runs the front desk. It’s set up right next to HEB which allows you to easily grab things for lunch or pick up your week’s groceries on the way home. Orange Coworking was strategically placed in a shopping center in your neighborhood. It’s close by and you have easy access to everything you need. It makes sense to add this into your daily mix.

The space also has a kitchen so that you can heat your lunch that you packed, grab it next door, or snack from their community, donation based stash. It’s all about accessibility and Orange definitely has that!

If you’re not fond of the hot seats and want a dedicated space to set up your computer or bring a team, you can opt for dedicated desks. The open floor plan allows for versatile uses and needs. Situated right in the middle is a large conference room that you can host a large group of people. They even have yoga classes here on specific mornings!


Why Try Orange Coworking?

This is a wonderful place to start if you’ve become cooped up in your home while running your business. Stats also show that you’re 74% more productive when you cowork. I’ve personally found myself finding distractions while I’m home and often opt for coworking spaces when I need to concentrate.

Shelley talks about how she created Orange as an intentional safe space. It’s understood that people are here because it’s a quiet and allows you to spend time figuring out your business and get things done. For this reason, it’s a wonderful place for people who are learning how coworking can help boost their business. It’s not intimidating and allows you to explore the best plans and schedule that fits your life.

With such a welcoming community here, it’s easy to just drop by to check out the space. There isn’t any pressure to immediately sign up and you can take your time to get to know what fits you best. They have a week pass at a low rate that let’s you test things out before you decide if it’s right for you. If you’re in the South Austin area or just want a change in scenery, I highly recommend you to come out and see what Orange Coworking is all about!