January 22, 2015

Guest Blogger: Natalie Kathleen on "Business Glamping"

One of our favorite guest bloggers, Natalie Kathleen, founder of Sienna Ray leather goods and Creative Director of Natalie Kathleen, is back on mbf TrendTalk with her insight on the newest trend we call "Business Glamping."

Disclaimer: I've written this via iPad propped up in the corner of Chelsea Market on the way home from spin class, after a late night in front of the laptop LCD, following a day running around based out of a client’s West Broadway WeWork office…

In complete contrast to my organized self requiring a detailed weekly schedule, the adventurous soul behind the business smiles with joy to act out the daylight hours as a workplace nomad. This ultimate gratitude is shared by many that leave the 9-5, or NYC 8-10 lifestyle in order to own the control on “Where shall I set up camp to get this brilliant business moving and shaking?” question.

Whether it's a new idea, or an existing company in expansion to a new territory. Whether you're the boss, or your boss is your hero who allows you to take the reigns to getting the job done  - being present with the fact that your preferred and most motivated culture may not be match that of your colleagues. 

A true creative thinker at heart, Katherine O’Brien Associate Creative Director at Translation reflects this belief “I love having the option of working part-time in an office that fosters collaboration and part time at home, away from any distractions. Splitting my time between these two environments makes me happier and more productive than I would be if I spent all of my time working from one or the other.”

Individually we’ve all grown into our personal culture preferences from within  the experiences that notched our career, albeit corporate or entrepreneur, ladder. The distant memories of learning to cooperate with little Billy Ray at the  sandbox table in kindergarten, through to the ego building or drowning moments of navigating high-school cafeteria cliques, to lessons of workplace hierarchy during foot-in-the-door first jobs all shaped our vision of work day happiness. 

The early pressures of discovering where and who you want to surround yourself with

An organic setting up shop first move I’ve gambled in at various times over my entrepreneurial journey has been setting up base camp within the home. And during these times I can tell you my home is spotless. A mix of requiring a sleek environment for clear thinking - and knowing that when stress hits, there’s nothing like taking on tasks that would usually be at the bottom of the scratch pad to keep my inner procrastination team hard at work.

Feeding my engrained love for efficiency, nothing beats a 12 step commute from bed to bath to desk. The equal humbleness required during bootstrapped bedroom meetings; pleasantly surprised by the respect I’d gain inviting buyers into my open space loft sifting through handbag samples displayed on bedside tables and supplies piled up in the bathtub!

Krista Blair, Communication's Director at Nate Berkus Entertainment, agrees keeping the budgets at bay is a key motivator on where to allocate your time, ““If renting an office space is not an option at first you can absolutely create it elsewhere -- in your apartment, a friend's apartment or even a coffee shop. We are so mobile and so connected, the space isn't always as important as the people you are talking to & the ways you are staying inspired.” Hence accepting the work/live lifestyle can often loose its appeal with such a lack of interaction. Putting the introvert or extrovert in you aside, there are many variations of sharing space with people that offer great added value.

“In transitioning from an agency life to a nomadic worker, I found it was really important to figure out a rhythm that actually incorporates a variety of places in a week, or even a few in one day for me personally, to be the most productive.”  Erika Emeruwa, Creative Brand Management Consultant and designer concludes, “As the environment of others around in a cafe allows me to simulate the energy/humming noise of an actual office and it's refreshing after being home for stretches.” 

Within New York City there is an endless array of cafes and restaurants equipped with WiFi and mutually self motivated business folk. Including unique spots as the buzzy ACE hotel with its night time vibe, even on the warmest summer days, offering a great selection of dim lit table to privately conduct business over Stumptown latte’s and opposing intimate sofa corners to get cosy with your clients old and new. Fitting so well with my personal love of seeing just how much information and insight someone is willing to share for the cost of a $5 beverage.

Something quite comforting of keyboards clicking in unison in the ACE Lobby

Holly Lynch, Founder and CEO of 85-Percent suggests the ideal working environment to be a co-working cafe, “So many of us already have coffee and wine meetings so wouldn't it be great if there were dedicated working cafe where you can rent a table or seat where you can have meetings or work solo amongst others who also like the social environment. I feel most productive surrounded by people chatting over coffee/meals, and the more casual networking mixed office space would lend itself perfectly to deal making and business building.”

Likely similar thoughts were matching the first brainwaves behind Miguel McKelvey and Adam Neumann’s ever growing WeWork community.  Successfully taking this need for social networking, on and off-line, bridging the gap of looking and acting like you're in the business big leagues with an impressive physical setup while managing efficient cash flows of minimal excess overhead. Having an office manager to un-jam the printer is high on the little things that matter list!

Similar to the assortment of workable cafes the membership driven SoHo House and NeueHouse’s of the city are just a couple of the great options for those wanting an extra touch of lux, sophistication and each come with their own unique cache. It’s definitely an exciting place right now in the world of shared and community driven workplaces. 

NeueHouse is all about sharing space with the right people to accelerate your business
Photo via NeueHouse
With so many different paths to success it’s ever so beneficial that we all take a moment to book a check-in, taking the opportunity to align our day to day environments with a balance of business productiveness and life enjoyment.

Written by Natalie Kathleen, Founder of Sienna Ray leathergoods and Creative Director with Natalie Kathleen

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