Bushwick-based co-working company b[x] spaces, the company behind Brooklyn Brush Studios, is expanding and has launched a crowdfunding campaign that allows the Brooklyn creative community to invest and get a piece of the pie for as little as $50.
“We hope that this is a great chance for our members and followers to not only create at a b[x] but now also feel ownership in a model they have helped grow,” said b[x] co-founder and CEO Rafael Alvarez.
Alvarez, a former civil engineer, launched b[x] spaces in 2008 after looking for a workspace of his own. He found that creative entrepreneurs often had little access to high quality, safe and affordable workspaces to create in, a space that provides storage, large unobstructed work areas and a place to get messy.
“When you think about all those vendors that sell goods on Etsy, Amazon or at local weekend markets — where do they work from?” he said. “Working from home in many cases is not out of choice or by design but more by default. No traditional office co-working environment allows or welcomes this group.”
As a result, Alvarez developed a collective of creative professionals and built the first 28 workspaces that would eventually evolve into what is now over 170 workspaces and more than 200 members at three Bushwick locations: REmerge Studios at 44 Stewart Avenue, BBS 362 Jefferson Street and BBS 203 Harrison Place.
“Starting in 2008 with 28 workspaces, probably one of the worst times to start a business, b[x] has evolved in a number of ways,” said Alvarez. “From being a small collective of local makers and artists, we have evolved to a large community of creators from all over the globe who have made b[x] the go-to co-working solution for hundreds of creators in the New York area.”
By utilizing underused, industrial spaces, the company aims to offer affordable co-working solutions at multiple price points with month-to-month flexibility, ranging from $150 – $825 per month. The memberships include amenities such as privacy booths, conference and viewing rooms, package concierge service, indoor bike storage area, kitchen, as well as a roof deck at the Jefferson Street location and an art gallery at Harrison Place.
Through programming and workshops, b[x] spaces also provides an environment to collaborate and a network to showcase their members’ talents. Because, as important as space is, “makers and artists also require interaction and collaboration opportunities,” explained Alvarez.
“Every day is an opportunity to refine our physical designs and find even better practices for enhancing our already great community,” he said. “Our model of space, amenities and culture has evolved as our experience has.”
As the company grows — a new co-working space is planned to open mid-2019 — it also continues to reinvent itself and looks for new ways of getting creatives to buy into the concept. Alvarez launched a crowdfunding campaign on Republic, a platform that set out to democratize startup investing by making it accessible to anybody with any budget.
“We’re crowdfunding on the Republic platform because it allows anyone to invest in our mission of building the next generation of co-working spaces for the creator class for as little as $50,” explained Alvaraz. “This will allow more creatives the opportunity to thrive in an environment designed with their needs in mind.”
Brooklyn creatives and makers interested in learning more about b[x] spaces’ crowdfunding campaign can go here for details.