By John Johnson
During my first visit to Seattle, my wife and I stumbled across ATLAS Workbase for the first time. I said to my wife, “That place looks cool. I should check it out when we move.” My wife responded with a supportive, yet slightly confused tone, “Yeah, you should. But what’s a workbase?” A year later, we now know what a workbase is because that is where my creative studio has grown into a $200,000 business. But I am getting ahead of myself.
In early October, Amazon (yes I know how original) recruited my wife for a position with Amazon Go. We could not pass up the opportunity to work for the future of retail. My wife had the opportunity of a lifetime, so I did what any supportive husband would do. I quit my job and we moved to Seattle. Being the extrovert I am, I wasted little time and made over 50 connections before we even landed in Seattle. Did I mention I had never visited the city in my life? I didn’t even look at a map of the city until Amazon sent the offer letter.
Eight days into our new life, I teamed up with my good friend, an incredible graphic designer, to start a small studio… literally. a small studio is a creative design studio that helps companies understand their brand identity to better impact the communities they serve. The two of us got started building a small studio and when we arrived at ATLAS Workbase we had a few clients already. One of those initial clients was YPOS, or Young Professionals of Seattle, who gave us the incredible opportunity to help them build a brand for their community. YPOS is the reason a small studio ended up at ATLAS Workbase and we are forever grateful.
About this time last year, a small studio decided to call ATLAS Workbase our home. It made sense because there were only two of us, and the space gave us an opportunity to engage the communities we serve more intentionally. A few months later, we launched 1 Million Cups Seattle, a community organization whose mission is to build the entrepreneurial community in Seattle one cup of coffee at a time. Through these communities, I built many friendships and business relationships. Looking back, this was the catalyst for a small studio’s success.
As you could imagine, my schedule was pretty full building a business in a new city, volunteering for YPOS and 1MC, and serving at my church. Let’s put it this way, my wife didn’t see me much. However, it was during this busy time that I realized how perfect ATLAS Workbase was for me and my business. Everyday I was constantly in meetings with people. My wife would tell you that is all I did during the day and she would be right. I got to know so many people during the work day that I would have to get actual work done at night. The space was perfect for this type of lifestyle because there was always a cozy place to meet and talk, the ATLAS team was always there to greet and serve my guests, and parking was easily accessible.
On the flip side of meeting with others in the city, I had to collaborate with my team constantly. When you run a creative studio there is always something to review or strategize on. ATLAS Workbase has so many places to do this with my team. For those casual reviews or strategy sessions, the open collaboration areas in the Lounge are ideal. For the more private sessions, the train cars are our favorite. Seriously, we have used those things hundreds of times. Finally, we use the fully equipped meeting rooms to uncover our client’s brand identity during workshops and presentations throughout our design process.
I have experienced many places to get work done in my career and ATLAS Workbase has not only propelled my business forward, it has become the perfect home for a small studio. Within one year, a small studio has grown from $15,000 in revenue to over $200,000 in revenue. We have created 15 new brands in 13 different industries, ranging from a men’s fashion social enterprise to the next generation of smart home technology. Our client portfolio was originally only in Arizona and now spans six states nationally! We believe this is the beginning as we continue to grow.
I share this story with you because any small business owner knows how hard it is to get a new business off the ground. When you add the distractions of working from home, a local coffee shop, or the typical coworking space, it can drain your energy and productivity. ATLAS Workbase gave me the exact environment I needed to get a small studio going and made me more productive than ever. I am not kidding, they should have a productivity guarantee. Not to mention how comfortable I was through it all.
Thank you ATLAS Workbase for supporting a small studio and for being such a powerful advocate for entrepreneurship in Seattle.