Ever since we stumbled upon Make Lemonade Coworking Space for Women on Instagram, we were in L-O-V-E. After all, the aesthetic is perfect for Work It Social Instagram snags and we love the idea of collaborating with other female-run businesses and helping them to get ahead!
It was a no-brainer, then, to interview Founder, Rachel Kelly, for this week's Work It Wednesday and find out the inspiration behind her new business venture and what inspires her to really #workit on the daily. Here's what she said!
1. First off, tell us a little bit about you! Who is Rachel Kelly?
I'm just your typical 27-year old trying to figure it out. I don't wash my hair as often as one should, I constantly eat cereal for dinner, and I'm occasionally on time. But asides from the regularities that I'm not proud of, I also run a business that started because I was handed a lemon.
2. The concept of Make Lemonade seems to be addressing a growing need in today’s working landscape. What inspired you to create it?
My inspiration can from my own personal frustrations. For a couple of years, I had worked remotely which gave me the freedom to work from home or coffee shops which was a lot of fun for a while. But gradually the appeal of being of my pj's all day wore off, and I was tired of battling dodgy wifi in cafes, and overstaying my welcome. I knew deep down I craved a community and a physical space where I could feel inspired to work and actually look forward to coming to every day.
3. How does Make Lemonade now compare to your initial vision of it?
That's a fantastic question and I never really think about that too often. You know, Make Lemonade was a vision of inspiring, bright, fun, exciting but I never had a clear vision...it was more a feeling I was seeking. The feeling of comfort, oomph, ZEST(!) when you walk in the door and think "yeah! I'm at work!"
4. You’ve brought together a ton of powerful and ambitious women in such a short amount of time. What unites you?
I think everyone has their own story and experience that they bring to the community. Whether they had a horrible experience from a past work environment or just want to surround themselves within a bright and colorful space with graffiti bathrooms...everyone has their own reason to be here...and that's what brings us together. No two women are alike and that's what's special about us.
5. How do you maintain a positive and inclusive atmosphere within your space, where members can still feel productive?
We have a simple rule "no bad vibes" which can be expanded and seen on our website that includes all the nitty-gritty. But at the end of the day, our purpose is to provide a positive workspace to get your sh*t done, and I think we achieve that every day.
6. What has been the biggest challenge for your business so far? How have you personally evolved as a result of this venture?
The learning lesson I've had is that business never stops; it keeps on churning and churning all.the.time and is a little bit merciless. In my third month of business, I had two deaths in my circle in one week, and I found myself putting a call out to Facebook asking anyone I knew to run the show for me while I attended the funeral. I simply couldn't be in two places at once. From that experience, the woman who covered for me is now an essential member of the Make Lemonade team. I learned that I needed to "let go" a lot sooner than I had anticipated and letting go could actually be a good thing. That lesson has proved itself again time and time again in our six months of being open.
7. We absolutely love the programming you offer (Bookkeeping & Bubbly was our personal favourite to see on your feed!) What goes into the process of bringing these events to life?
At the beginning, I thought I would need to have a massive roster of events on my radar and I was always so stressed with coming up with event ideas. Then, as I opened, the ideas started flowing and for the most part it's by request that we host an event or is hosted by a member of our community. But before I say "yes," I have a few questions I ask myself: does the event speak to what happens here? Does it help others in business? Does it help my business? Can it be held elsewhere?
8. Who are your favourite people on social right now?
My mom and sister-in-law. My sister-in-law runs a home bakery (Dollop Bakery in Burlington) and the three of us are in a group message sharing ideas and my mom is always cheering the two of us on.
9. How do you #workit everyday?
Every day I look in the mirror and read a sticky note on there that reads“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” by Dr. Seuss. It's my constant reminder that who I amiss my competitive advantage; in business, in life. It also reminds me that I have one life, I may as well be me, and I may as well make it a great one.
Lead photo (1) provided by Rachel Kelly, (2-4) by Lauren McPhillips, (5) by Cameron Bartlett