4 Questions with Vicrum from BrooklynWorks at 159
This time on Featured Spaces, we spoke to Vicrum Puri, founder of the New York coworking space BrooklynWorks. The space hosts professionals in an array of disciplines, and it has become a mainstay in its home neighborhood of Park Slope. We got a chance to speak with Vic, and learn a little bit more about the location.
Vicrum: tell us a bit about yourself and BrooklynWorks.
“My wife and I live in the neighborhood, and I run another business,” Vic started. “I needed a space to work out of, and there just weren’t that many options.” The idea for BrooklynWorks started as a solution to a personal problem. Based out of Park Slope, the space exists to provide office space to a neighborhood that doesn’t have much of it.
“We started the buildout in 2012, and we launched in February 2013″. BrooklynWorks is just over three years old, but Vic is already happy with how it’s grown. “We’ve been able to cultivate a great community, a very diverse mix of industries and people.” From talking to the space’s members, he says, it sounds as if all’s going well.
How were you first exposed to coworking, and what made you interested?
“I was first exposed just by visiting various spaces in Manhattan, and I saw the need for it in our neighborhood”. Vicrum was impressed by the rapidly expanding coworking scene across the river, and he knew the idea had potential. At the same time, he wanted something different for his own neighborhood.
“We took the concept and tried to make something of our own.” The idea was to tweak the coworking concept to suit the demographic that Vic wanted to serve. Flexibility is at the space’s core; in Vic’s words, it’s “more important than networking, more important than collaboration, more important than all of these other things that people value in coworking.”
The goal was simple: to provide affordable, flexible space for small businesses to get their work done.
What do you think is necessary for a coworking space to succeed?
“Cultivating a space to be productive is number one”. No question about that; productivity shouldn’t be compromised in the name of other values. But just because the other values are secondary doesn’t mean they should be ignored.
On the topic of price, Vic said that “it’s important to price people in, not price people out.” Inclusivity is a big part of BrooklynWorks’ value proposition, so price and flexibility are crucial. If the space isn’t accessible by the average business owner, it would defeat the purpose.
What are the best features of your coworking space?
“We’re a space for grownups more than a space for startups.” The majority of BrooklynWorks’ members already have established businesses, and they just need a space to get their work done. This stands in contrast with the majority of New York’s coworking spaces, which lean toward the younger startup crowd.
It might sound odd if you’re accustomed to startup-filled coworking spaces, but BrooklynWorks suits its surroundings. “Our neighborhood is full of people that have small businesses”, said Vic, “whether it’s in tech, the arts, music, law, or accounting.” There are happy hours and social events, but by and large, members are there to work.
Nonetheless, there’s room for personal connection in a productive work space. “As a founder, being in some way connected to the amazing work of our members is the most fulfilling part of the job,” Vicrum told me. Even if you’re just providing a place to work, it’s hard to not feel as if you’re a part of something bigger.