Some people may know Rena Tom as a business strategist consulting with product designers, while many others know her as the Founder of Makeshift Society San Francisco… and now Makeshift Society Brooklyn.
Makeshift Society is a clubhouse for creative freelancers and a space to sustain low-growth businesses. With the “make, learn, teach and think” motto at the core of the space, Rena Tom talks with Creative Interns about how she’s bringing that motto to Brooklyn.
Creative Interns: What made you create Makeshift society in San Francisco?
Rena Tom: I was doing consulting work, some in-person and some over the phone. I was having trouble finding a place to work, so I started renting space at Workshop during the daytime hours when no one was there. While renting the space, I was sitting there basically by myself. Over time, I found myself at the coffee shop more and more just to be around people.
I started talking to my friends who were independent workers, bloggers and designers and I realized we were all in the same boat (wanting to engage with others while working). So I decided I would make a little office space for people and the more people I talked to, the more people wanted to be involved with the space. And so it evolved into a working space – Makeshift Society.
CI: Why did you decide to expand to Brooklyn?
RT: As soon as we opened in San Francisco, we were getting a lot of requests all over the country saying this is a great idea and wishing we were in their city. My friend, Bryan Boyer, was moving to New York and was interested in developing another Makeshift location.
CI: Do you feel Makeshift Society Brooklyn will contribute to the growing creative digital space that is happening in Brooklyn?
RT: Definitely! That’s the reason why we thought it would be ideal to have our second space in Brooklyn – sort of a hub for the east coast. Brooklyn has an enormously large creative population, especially in the freelance side and it does have a good tie to San Francisco. We are there for the independent consultants and entrepreneurs in Brooklyn – designers who want to remain freelance; photographers who get hired to take product shots; or copywriters who are brought in to work on a collection.
CI: Will there be opportunities to work directly with Makeshift Society Brooklyn?
RT: There will be employees on site and we would like to take on interns in marketing, event planning and programming. Beyond that, we are leaving a lot of it up to the members and the companies we will be partnering with.
CI: When can emerging creatives expect to use the Brooklyn space?
RT: We are depending on the completed construction of the site, but first quarter of 2014 is our goal.
For more about Makeshift Society Brooklyn, connect with them on twitter: @MakeshiftSocBK