By Brigette Mashile, Roka Roko

I have been running my fashion business from my workshop at Co.Space since August 2016, that’s almost a year…wow, that’s quite a while. The road has been interesting, fun and at times proper annoying; so, we can say it’s has been ‘Salt-N-Pepa’.

Working from home can be distracting

The day I moved into my unit at Co.Space was a mixture of different emotions. I suddenly realised that by moving from home to into a professional workspace, I was turning the idea I had when I was 10 years old into a reality. Not to belittle home based businesses but when I was working from home, both my approach to business and the type of business I was receiving were more chilled business than serious.

I can partially blame this on the fact that working from home allowed me to cook, bake and serve people just like my mother taught me. Yes, it was making relating with customers smoother because who doesn’t love being served a slice of fresh, home-made banana-bread with mint and honey tea? The downside is, this took away from the professional image and business expansion that my business needed.

When I was working from home, I was in control of everything

My need to expand my business led to me renting workspace from Co.Space. I must admit, the move from home to renting a unit was daunting for me; coming from a place where the entire yard was mine, where I controlled who came in and who left, had the volume control rights, and my dog just outside the door – to a place where I wasn’t in control of every little thing was daunting.

You don’t have to good with people to fit in at Co.Space

So, 11 months in and the one thing that has amazed me about being at Co.Space is the people that are here. Although I have mastered how to operate with people in a way that doesn’t cause harm, I am usually not good with them. But I have amazing people around my unit and that helps a great deal.

Choose a unit and neighbours that suits you

I am in unit A19 and I must say I operate in the best location (sorry guys, I am lucky like that). Let’s talk neighbours; from the get-go, I was right next to Co.Space ‘manangement’, Felicia from Dream Doctor, Franti General, Chrissy from BL Creations (until she left me for a bigger unit in Block C), Zanele and Nomshado from Zanitude, Bongani and team from Bakz Engineering, Samantha from Harbor Accessories. I have also met other entrepreneurs from other blocks and I have come to respect them as ‘abomakhi’.

The power of a Co.Space community

The amount of power of this community is amazing. If you are new and haven’t discovered it yet, walk around and you’ll feel it. If you’re not part of us, pop in for a site visit and you’ll see what I mean. The saying that God sent his angels to you is indeed true when you are at Co.Space.

I have been able to successfully outsource some of my business functions to other entrepreneurs within the community, allowing me to create more time and cut down on costs. And in return (because the universe reacts always) I have had some business given to me and even made friends from here. I have also managed to bring in business for Co.Space (‘manangement’ please note – matter of critical importance).

Connecting and collaborating with like-minded people at Co.Space

I’ve had my car dent fixed by Simba from Jireh Auto, borrowed needles from Dream Doctor’s Felicia, and had a photoshoot with Lerato ‘Lee’ Mabokela from Snap Photography SA. I’ve made two laser cut-wooden bags with Lisa and Kevin from Burnt Edge, and a leather bag with Zanitude. I’ve also bought fabric from Bweendo from Prim and Proper Apparel, couriered orders to clients with Bowen from Ngewu Ideas, bought tissue from Collins and Silence, and referred a supplier to Chrissy from BL Creations. I’ve laughed my head off in different units and had lots of wine elsewhere – all in one complex! Let me not forget the endless conversations that resulted in ‘real life happenings’ that I’ve had with the awesome Co.Space team.

Brigette Mashile is a fashion designer, owner of Roka Roko and best of all, she is a storepreneur. Read more about Brigette in these related articles: Fashion Designer & Entrepreneur: A Thursdate with Brigette Mashile from Roka RokoThrowback Thursdate : Brigette’s Success Story [Video].

Whether your business stock has outgrown your kitchen table or your home-based business needs a turn-around, Co.Space offers upmarket, affordable working spaces in an inspiring and comfortable environment. Whatever your business is we’ll find the right space for you. Contact us by filing the contact form provided or call us on 0861 697 867.