The booming biz Loosecubes matches the deskless with host firms across the city and beyond
- Last Updated: 6:04 AM, June 25, 2012
- Posted: 10:36 PM, June 24, 2012
When Brandon Sugiyama moved to New York from San Francisco last fall, the 36-year-old freelance motion graphic designer had a problem: He had clients and projects, but nowhere to work.
He didn’t want to operate from home, “with a desk ten feet from my bed,” or in a coffee shop, “with everybody wearing headphones and staring at Facebook.”
He could have bought a membership to one of the city’s many coworking spaces, but he likes “switching it up” and checking out different environments and neighborhoods.
That’s why a friend suggested Sugiyama sign up with Loosecubes, a young Brooklyn-based company that’s put a unique spin on the coworking concept. Instead of providing shared space in one location, it allows itinerant workers to labor at the offices of host companies that have spare desk space and a willingness to let freelancers make use of it.
The concept is not just to throw freelancers a bone and maximize unused office space, but to create synergy and professional connections: users and hosts are encouraged to get to know each other and share expertise.
The service has enabled Sugiyama to work in a dozen spaces across the city, from a commercial production company in Manhattan to “a shared table in the living room of some guy’s loft in Brooklyn.”
It’s a perfect setup, says the designer, whose work feeds off changes in “lighting, vibe, and the energy of others — being around people who are passionate about what they do.”
That’s exactly what founder Campbell McKellar had in mind when she started Loosecubes two years ago, after several years of working in real-estate investment. The idea grew out of two observations: The first came when she was earning an MBA from Stanford, and found she was more productive if she studied in varied environments. The second came while she was working in commercial real estate, and noticed that a lot of companies had unoccupied office space.
It was when she convinced her boss to let her work remotely for a summer in Maine, and found herself wishing she had a workspace outside the house, that she hatched the idea to draw on those two observations, and create a way to enable host companies to offer their extra space to freelancers, and encourage interactions that might benefit both parties.
“Loosecubes is a loosely arranged network of offices that people can join as a coworker for the day, but it’s also a loose network of professionals who meet each other in these physical environments and are doing projects with each other, starting businesses with each other and hiring each other for freelance work,” says McKellar, who’s 33.