Building a Treehaus

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As our week-long celebration of International Coworking Week continues and with our sixth anniversary freshly behind us, now seems as good a time as any to reflect on our past.

In 2010, “coworking” wasn’t a common term. The idea was still fairly new, particularly in Canada. While major cities in the States and in Europe were embracing this new movement, there were really only a handful of spaces in Canada and most of those were located in major city centres.

Here in Waterloo Region, I was interested in how shared space might solve some problems for my non-profit clients (like getting their overhead costs down, and the opportunities to cross-pollinate ideas and share other resources).

At the same time, Natalie MacNeil was also looking at coworking for creative professionals as a way of retaining top talent in the Region. A mutual friend connected us and over coffee on a bright March morning, we discovered that although we had the same values about the spaces we wanted to create, we had very different ideas about our target markets. We parted amicably and wished each other well. It seemed fate had a different plan in store for us.

Over the next two weeks, Natalie and I bumped into each other EVERYWHERE! It was like we were stalking each other. One day while standing in line at a coffee shop we got to chatting and I asked her what she intended to call her space. “Treehaus,” she told me. “That’s so funny because I was going to call my space KNest,” I said. There was a quiet moment as we looked at each other. “Do you think we should just work together?” she asked. “Let’s do it,” I replied.

Four months later on July 1st, 2010 Treehaus opened its doors. Although Treehaus continues to evolve, even today we maintain great diversity in our membership. From non-profits to entrepreneurs to telecommuters, we have a wide variety of people and organizations that call Treehaus their “work home.” And we like it that way.

 

Written by Gabrielle Clermont, Co-founder of Treehaus

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