The Refinery: Your Everyday Inspiration

Austin is known as Silicon Hills, the other hub for tech companies. You’ll find a slew of tech businesses downtown, Eastside and the Domain but what if you’re looking for a space but aren’t tech? That was the problem Hayley Swindell, founder of The Refinery, found when she started her subscription box company. Many small retail shops with consumer packaged goods and artists are left without a place to go. In an article from Austinot, Hayley explains,

“The Refinery grew out of what I needed for my previous subscription box company,” Swindell explained. “It was growing, but I wound up not having a lot of the resources I needed to showcase my products. I didn’t have the right lighting for my photos, and I didn’t have any gear or props. I had to use the same plant in every product’s photo. Running this company out of my apartment wasn’t going to work, but there weren’t many options at the time.”

A Beautiful Space

When I first walked into The Refinery, I noticed the attention that was given to building this space. In film there is a term called mise en scène which is an expression used to describe the design aspect of a theatre or film production, which essentially means “visual theme” or “telling a story”—both in visually artful ways…” Every part of the scene is specifically chosen to drive a theme. I feel The Refinery’s attention to detail provides a deliberately beautiful space. 

Easy Inspiration for Artists

It’s easy to understand why makers, creators and artists flock to The Refinery. With downtown saturated by techies, it’s a breath of fresh air to walk into a space that’s different. The space has a very feminine feel but caters to all. It reminds me of my experiences at Anthropologie, where I walk in not because I want to buy anything but because it’s so well designed that it changes my mood every time I walk through their store. Art can invigorate the heart and mind.

Why Cowork Here

The space is brightly lit with fresh white, brick walls with subtle earth tones throughout. I particularly enjoyed how there were several small nooks and spaces to work. If you ever need a photography set up, look no more. They have a dedicated photography studio on the first floor (Canvas). Canvas is used during the evening for events and top floor is for coworking and private offices.

One of the more interesting benefits of coworking at The Refinery is that you can display your retail products. There’s tons of art, clothing and jewelry that other businesses and walk ins can check out. Logistically this helps businesses find the best display options that work for their products. You’re able to easily test out a concept without the risk of committing to a commercial lease.

Best of all, The Refinery is a great place to surround yourself with like minded people who are going through similar hurdles as you are. The space allows other businesses to support each other. Running a business is difficult so the better support group you have, the more likely you’ll get through it. Come check out their upcoming events and follow their blog (coming soon).

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