It’s not just WeWork — Why boutiques are better coworking spaces

Photo Hubud Bali Coworking Space

3 reasons why boutique coworking is better

Quick word association test:

“Coworking”

100% of people will respond “WeWork”

That’s the typical experience. WeWork has become synonymous with coworking, it’s achieved that highest of Silicon Valley praise and has become a verb — “we are weworking until we get our own office”. A phenomenal success story with global brand recognition and close to $50bn valuation.

What is surprising is that it has achieved this with only 550 locations or ~3% of the estimated 17,000 co-working spaces in the market globally. The majority of the rest are boutique spaces not national or global networks and they offer distinct advantages for many over more recognised names.

Boutique co-working spaces are typically run by individuals and offer a limited number of locations. These owners are driven to create a community for their particular area of passion, to create a small coworking space to meet a very specific local need or to become an entrepreneur themselves. This individualism leads to a great diversity of environments giving members choice and opportunity to pick the right environment for their needs.

Hubud in Bali

Boutique coworking spaces are run by people for whom this is a way of life, not just a way to get paid, they bring passion, individuality and care to their work, much like the entrepreneurs they serve. The benefits they offer are numerous:

  1. There are more of them and in more interesting locations

Statistically you are nearer a boutique location than you are a corporate run space. Because boutiques are run by individuals they are often both in the urban centers you expect but also more interesting and quirky locations quite possibly nearer where you live or want to live — Mill Valley in Marin outside San Francisco has The Hivery, Ubud in Bali has Hubud, SoHo Works has 2 locations — LA and London.

The Hivery, Mill Valley, CA

2. Curated communities = Emotional Connections

Data tells us that people join, and leave, coworking spaces because of the community. Finding a boutique coworking space that believes what you believe is incredibly important. People make decisions with the part of their brains in charge of feelings and emotions and members who identify themselves with a boutique coworking space’s cause or belief will become long-term customers. As Simon Sinek is fond of saying, “People don’t buywhat you do; they buy why you do it

The Hivery, just north of San Francisco, is a boutique space which has earned a reputation for supporting and nourishing female entrepreneurs. Makerversity is a coworking organisation with spaces London and Amsterdam with cutting-edge physical facilities for making & prototyping hardware.

3D printers @ Makerveristy London

Successful boutique coworking spaces attract and curate liked-minded people bringing opportunities for synergies and partnerships. People gravitate towards their tribe or community of interests, personality and passions — which in all their diversity are more likely to be found in boutiques rather than homogenous corporate run spaces

Boutique coworking spaces must start with the ‘Why’, continue to the ‘How’ and finish with the ‘What’’.

pxhere — CC0 Public Domain

4. Budget friendly

Boutique coworking spaces are usually cheaper, sometimes 3x times lower than WeWork makes local spaces are definitely more affordable. For example a hotdesk at WeWork in Strawberry is a minimum $650, The Hivery just down the road is $395. Some local spaces are totally fuss-free and offer a workplace just to get working, without the ‘frills’ like beers, foosball tables and sometimes even events.

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