4 Questions with Lauren from Idea Space!
Coworking Spotlight: Idea Space in Boston
We are very happy to present to you the second of our Featured Coworking Space series! This time we talked to Lauren Mearn, founder of “Idea Space” in Boston. After a period of searching we reached out to Lauren to hear her story about how she created one of the most successful coworking spaces in Boston.
So Lauren, could you give us a brief history of Idea Space?
Prior to my opening of Idea Space, I spent close to 10 years in marketing and advertising on both the client and agency sides, where I witnessed first-hand how many freelance colleagues and clients were in need of an office space in Boston, or just a professional space to work or meet for the day. As a Babson Undergrad and Boston College MBA Alumni, there are a number of entrepreneurs in my immediate network, many of whom have attempted to work from home at some point to avoid the high overhead associated with traditional office space. Understanding how critical community is to the success of small business owners, I was able to identify a gap in what existing coworking spaces and local coffee shops offered. The demand was there, and I knew I could create a space that would exceed the expectations of those looking for professional, yet relaxed office environment with a built-in opportunity to work alongside like-minded people — right in the heart of the city.
After months of searching for the perfect location, I committed to the current space at 867 Boylston Street in Boston’s Back Bay in October of 2013. The next few months were spent gutting the space and completing the build-out, and I officially opened the doors to Idea Space in late January 2014.
How were you first introduced to coworking, and what are your thoughts on the movement as a whole?
As an undergraduate, I had the opportunity to be part of one of the student-run businesses awarded rent-free office space and resources as part of the Babson College Business Hatchery Program in the Spring of 2006, which was my first exposure to the idea of providing shared workspace and resources to support and empower entrepreneurs and small businesses.
Coworking has grown by 400% in the last two years and existing spaces have started to expand rapidly. Increasingly mobile technologies and the demand for more flexibility are shifting work patterns, making the traditional 9-5 work day less and less common. Research indicates that the U.S. workforce is undergoing the most substantial transition in almost a century, and I believe coworking is leading to a lasting change in the way the world works.
Idea Space has grown significantly, what do you think are the most important factors for developing a successful coworking space?
I believe the 2 most important factors are the location and the membership community. Idea Space is centrally located between Boston’s Financial District and Cambridge in the heart of the Back Bay.
In terms of community, the success of any coworking space is predicated on the connectedness of its members. There is a uniqueness to the type of community found in a coworking space, and the shared connections, interests and goals among members are what make the right space so valuable. The Idea Space membership community is made up of passionate, creative entrepreneurs and small businesses — people taking risks every day to do what they love.
What sets your coworking space apart from the pack, and what are some unique aspects to working at Idea Space?
Idea Space is the first business in Boston to offer coworking space, dedicated desks, private offices and private meeting space in the same location. On top of that, our design aesthetic and professional, yet relaxed environment are unique to Idea Space. Many Idea Space Members credit the “feel” of the space as their reason for joining.
Not only is Idea Space located in the heart of the Back Bay, but it also offers 24/7 access and reception services to its community of entrepreneurs and small businesses. It’s a place where Members can connect with people in complementary industries, tap into a variety of unique perspectives, and grow their businesses into successful companies.”
Idea Space has only been open since January 2014, but they have already created a close community and there is no doubt they have a long and prosperous future in front of them. This should come as no surprise, as the concept for Idea Space was intricately thought out and executed . Lauren Mearn created a beautiful coworking space; if you’re interested in renting out a desk at Idea Space, check out their listing here