Where did you get the idea?
The idea for W@tercooler came to me the spring of 2010 while I was sitting laptop-to-laptop with a another freelancer in a local coffee shop. We were both working on deadline projects. To our right, kids pining loudly for rice crispy treats. To our left, sounds of the grinder and milk steamer at full throttle. Behind us – smoke rises as the next batch of beans dump into the roaster. “There has to be something better” I declare. My friend, who is an editor, proceeds to tell me about a place in the city that offers desks by the day to writers for small monthly fee. That was it! I researched “shared work spaces” the next day and discovered www.coworking.com. I knew I could do this my way, in my town.
How many people work there ?
We currently have 62 members ranging from virtual mail-only to part-time users (1 day per month up to unlimited desk use), to full-timers who have their own desk or office. We also have numerous a la carte users who drop in for the day, or use our conference room for meetings or workshops. On a typical day, we have about 6-12 people working together under one roof, sharing AC and coffee, as well as leads and roadblocks. Its a real community.
Is there actually a water cooler ?
Of course! Thinking of branding the bottles.
What is your biggest challenge?
In the beginning, it was educating the public about the concept. Since we opened three years ago, coworking has been in the news a lot more and people seem to know more about it. It’s always a challenge to keep getting the word out as we expand and grow our membership and usage – but that’s true of any business.
Besides me who should be working there?
Ha. Everyone!. W@tercooler is perfect for the freelancer, small business owner, professor, lawyer – basically anyone who uses a laptop and doesn’t have to be in a traditional office. We have both solopreneurs as well as remote workers in which the company allow them work off-site. Our member base is super varied, from creatives like marketing/PR and advertising types, to accountants and business consultants – we even have a DJ, not one but two Pastors, a retired lawyer turned screenplay writer, and a local newspaper.
What are the benefits?
The benefits are many. From a straight physical list, one gets a desk to work at, free Wifi, light printing, faxing and scanning, coffee, snacks and member discounts and perks like access to a free intern, a downtown discount card for shopping local, and a three day free pass to over 1,000 other coworking spaces worldwide. On an emotional, Get More Done level – working at W@tercooler is all about the community and being more focused and productive throughout your day. There have been manyarticles written about how being part of a coworking community significantly increases one’s effectiveness, social circles, income, and happiness!
What exciting events do you have on this’s years schedule?
W@tercooler hosts and produces close to 100 events and workshops per year! For example, this week alone we had an Improv class Monday, Mediation session Tuesday, Investing workshop Wednesday, Environmental Group Mixer Thursday, and a GNO Comedy Workshop Friday. We also do on-going networking events, social/cultural gatherings like our enormously successful Pros(e) of Pie monthly story-telling series, and our monthly Pop-Up Shops that coordinate with a local downtown event.
Congratulations on your expansion! Tell me what is different between your Tarrytown and Yonkers locations?
Thank you! We are very excited to take the business to that next place. We love our Tarrytown location. It’s a welcoming boutique-sized space tons of great energy – it’s artsy and fun, but also professional. It’s a small space of only about 1,600 square feet in a quaint town of 12,000. W@tercooler Yonkers will be located on the 6th floor of the former Otis Elevator building (now part of iPark) in a 7,500 square foot space. It will have 6 private offices of varying sizes, over 1800 square feet of shared work space, two conference rooms, a 35-person classroom space – and – yes – a roof deck with Hudson River views! The pricing will be fairly close to what we charge now for desk usage ($35/day), conference room use ($40-$125 depending on room size and day/night/weekend usage) and fees for classes and workshops (typically $20 per class). This location will also allow us to provide many more city-supported education and programming, such as having an incubator program for local start-ups, skills-based workshops for business owners, and numerous classes designed to encourage minority-entrepreneurship.
Tell me about who has met who at Watercooler?
Well – there haven’t really been any romances (that I know of!) – but everyday we see or hear about a “It Happened at W@tercooler” – our members end up working on projects together, sharing resources, and providing a slew of introductions for each other.
Shared working space is hot. What makes Watercooler special?
The extra energy you get every day from being around like-minded folks following their dreams and making the world a better place!
How Can People find out more about the new Yonkers Location, and perhaps sign on to become a member? When do you plan to Open?
Our hope is to open by early November. To learn more about the new space, our plans and memberships, and our vision for the Yonkers space, folks can visit our Indiegogo Crowdfunding Campaign page – there is a ton of information there about coworking, our mission, our team, and how we hope to change the way the world works!