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Meet Meredith & James from The Settlement

Meet the dream team behind The Settlement, and learn more about their growing coworking empire in Wellington.

 

In the latest edition of People Behind the Space, we catch up with Meredith and James from The Settlement.

The Settlement is a collection of contemporary coworking spaces, thoughtfully located outside the 'rat race' zones of Wellington's CBD, offering flexibility and a collaborative space for their members.

We chat to Meredith and James about about their 'why' behind The Settlement, their upcoming space in Upper Hutt and what they think makes a coworking space successful.

See all of The Settlement's spaces here

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What inspired you to set up your space?

James and I both come from a design background and worked in shared design studios in Wellington - we loved the sense of community and the opportunities for collaboration. It was so inspiring and exciting being surrounded by so much talent and so many like minds. 

 

We moved our design studio closer to home when our sons Otto and Fred were babies. We were so blown away by the impact this had on our lives that we decided to open city fringe coworking spaces to enable others to enjoy all that working closer to home brings - less commute, less investment in petrol and parking, and more time to spend doing what you love and to spend with those you love. 

 

What is your favourite part of the space and why?

We have 2 spaces currently - Petone and Porirua - and are opening a third in Upper Hutt “Brewtown” precinct come February.  I am passionate about the shared spaces - the break out spaces and the kitchen - as that is where the magic happens - where paths cross, and that organic networking and conversation goes down. Much like the kitchen is the epicentre of any great party! So the design, the furniture and functionality of those areas is key. 

 

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Why do you think working from a coworking space helps people thrive?

I think it is a combination of the environment and the community. People have become so accustomed to working from home, but the overwhelming feedback we receive is how powerful it is from a productivity perspective having a space outside of home to work from, a beautiful modern space that has everything they need -  a work space to be proud of.

People have also become accustomed to working alone and coworking reminds us how fun it is to be around people! The fun, the spontaneous conversations/lunches/coffees/walks with others in the space, the laughs, the water cooler chat! The business opportunities that come from the connections that are made. The friendships. The benefits are endless.

 

Please tell us a bit about what other ventures you are also involved with.

At the moment coworking is our main focus, as well as creating turn key serviced office space solutions for other organisations. We have recently been making some custom furniture, accessories and solutions for these fit outs and we are considering taking these products to market and dipping our toes into design again.

I also run a Start Up Incubator in our Petone space for 5 new businesses, mentoring them in their first 6 months. I love this - supporting others to bring their dreams to reality is such a privilege! 

 

Who has been the most interesting resident in your space? 

Gosh - we have so many incredible people working on insane projects both nationally and globally - it blows my mind what goes on in our spaces. Too many to choose from! I am incredibly proud that these talented people choose the Settlement as their home for work. 

 

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Can you describe the community and types of businesses within your space? 

You name it we have it! Which just makes it so interesting. Designers, developers, start ups, photographers, planners, engineers, IT consultants, modellers, VR masters, marketers, PR, advisors - the list goes on. One man bands, small teams, larger teams, teams that hot desk a few days a week and work from home the rest, teams that are on the road and meet here weekly. Whether it's all the time or just sometimes, we have the solution. We are all about making it work! 

 

If you could pick any three people in the world to work in your space, who would it be and why? 

I don’t think I could pick! The one aspect I truly love about coworking is the amazing mix of people, personalities and industries we have in one place and how powerful it can be. The friendships, the business relationships and the opportunity that it creates is truly amazing. So that being said, I love the lucky dip - the like attracts like, the unique ecosystem that evolves in each space, every location has its own identity and personality -  I wouldn’t want to engineer a thing! 

 

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What tips would you pass on to someone thinking about starting their own coworking space? 

It's so much more than a desk and a chair. It's about people, culture and creating experiences every day to enrich the work window. To inspire, motivate and encourage. Well, at least that is what it is about for us! 

 

What are the most played songs in your office playlist?

Oooh - tough to choose one song - but we are loving PlaylisterFM on Spotify - Playlister create (or should I say curate) playlists for some of the worlds most outstanding spaces - they create “Audio identities” - so brilliant. Spaces are all about sensory experiences and music is a massive part of this, it can make or break an experience. 

 

Keen to find out more about coworking at The Settlement? Take a look at their listing here.

 

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