Why I decided to open a creative co-working space in Austin, Texas

If you asked me at age eight what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would have said, “a mermaid.” If you asked me the same question ten years later I would have said, “a pediatric surgeon.” I’m about to turn 28 and (sadly) I do not have a mermaid tail and I barely made it out alive in pre-med.

If you would have told me in college that someday I would be creating a community for creatives next to The Driskill Hotel I would have laughed in disbelief. The Refinery, opening up Fall 2017, is just that and its exists to serve as a space that fosters connection between creative individuals doing incredible things. Its mission is simple — To provide Austin’s creative community with the environment, tools and resources needed to launch and grow their dreams.

I think there is a certain recipe to success for creative entrepreneurs — My goal is to help creative oriented individuals and companies get there, no matter what their experience level in business or networking may be. It’s a huge part of why I created The Refinery — for people like me who needed the right workspace, resources and the community to help make their dreams a reality.

Here is an overview of these three basic success elements:

  1. Workspace: Finding the right workspace when you are a freelancer or small company is down right hard. Finding the perfect mix of affordability, location and amenities is near impossible. Which is why it was so important for The Refinery to be located in the heart of the city, nestled right where creatives can hustle and thrive. When it comes to amenities for creatives, having a photography studio, event space, prep kitchen, shared storefront and the right kind of community programming can make a world of difference.
  2. Educational Resources: Creative entrepreneurs (experienced and inexperienced) have unique needs when it comes to educational resources. Someone may be a kick ass graphic designer but seriously lacking on the excel front, and that’s okay — Trust me, you are not alone! What’s not okay is for your passionate freelance graphic design business to fail because you don’t know how to run your books. Wouldn’t it be great to have built-in help at the place you worked every day? On the other end of things, you may be an MBA grad who decided you wanted to launch you own organic cosmetic company — You know how to run a damn good business but you lack product photography skills. Gosh, wouldn’t it be nice if your workspace had a built in photography studio and a community with photographers and designers to help you!?
  3. Community: To me this is the most important element that comes with starting your own company. It’s no secret that entrepreneurs are faced with several ups and downs, especially in the beginning. Being surrounded by a supportive community that can keep you going, share in your experiences and offer a network to take your company to new heights is something your kitchen table just can’t offer. Immersing yourself into a community of like minded people and participating in social events can do incredible things for your company and self esteem.

There are so many incredible niche workplaces popping up around the world that are catering to creative entrepreneurs — The Refinery is just a small fish (or mermaid) in that pond of possibility. My hope for The Refinery is that it will provide individuals and small companies with the workspace, resources and community that allows them succeed in ways they never thought possible.

Disclaimer: To ensure that all dreams are treated equally, mermaid tail blankets will be available for use by members of The Refinery.


The Refinery is hosting an introductory event on Wednesday, June 28th from 6:30pm to 8:30pm at Owen’s Garage, located at 1407 Bob Harrison St, Austin, TX 78702. The event will include a live podcast by I Was Just Saying That, free headshots by Dos Mundos Creative, complimentary beverages from Sourced Craft Cocktails, light bites and goodie bags for the first 25 attendees. For more information and to RSVP visit TheRefineryATX.com/experience/.

Why I decided to open a creative co-working space in Austin, Texas was originally published in Austin Startups on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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