The People Are the Space

I dug through my email folder and figured out that I met Susan and Jacob in early May, 2012, when I joined the Seattle Collaborative Space Alliance group–a place for coworking space owners and other collaborative space holders in our area to get to know each other, hang out together, swap stories, and help each other out. I quickly realized that I’d actually met them briefly before, back in 2008, when I visited their coworking space, Office Nomads, as I was exploring my options as a new, free, recently jumped-from-my-corporate ship human. And I remembered that seeing their space back then helped me say “No!” to going back to my old world of work.

But this past year, Daniel and I opened our home as a coworking space, so I began to get to know them as fellow coworking space holders, and I’ve come to think of them as friends. Susan and Buckley dog sometimes come and work in our space, and I recently became a 5-days-a-month member of their space. I recognized Office Nomads as a self-created, soul-satisfying work space, in large part because they both glow when they talk about their space, and the coworking community and culture in general, and their own business partnership. So Daniel and I headed over one sunny late January afternoon to hear their story…

Built to Last

My neighbor, friend, and coworker Fisher thought immediately of Colin’s bike-centered fabrication and machine shop when I told him I was looking for self-created, soul-satisfying work spaces, and he was generous enough to introduce us via email.

Two weeks later, Daniel and I were walking toward the Equinox building–where Colin’s shop lives–in the most industrial part of Seattle’s industrial arts Georgetown neighborhood. With every step we took, I felt more out of my element. We passed a guy working on a pickup truck engine. Then a few more guys drinking beer at a cobbled-together table. Would there be any other women in the space? Then the walk down several long, dusty hallways. Metal vehicle parts and metal art hung at random on old nails, hooks.

I took a deep breath. Would I have anything in common with the man at the end of this hallway? And would he trust a woman whose fingernails suddenly felt ridiculously, obnoxiously, and actually arrogantly clean?

Still wishing I’d just left the afternoon’s gardening clothes and dirt on, I stepped through Colin’s door: shop 109.