We sat down with the Kamer 79 (based in Nieuw-Vennep) community manager and owner of Sparkling Support to learn more about her journey as a coworking entrepreneur in the Netherlands. Get to know more about Patricia, her space, and how she has seen the coworking industry evolve over the years.
Tell us more about yourself and what business you run as well as which De Kamer location you manage?
I love working with people and always dreamed about creating something of my own. So, when I lost my last job, I decided to take the leap and work for myself. I found a great space and wanted to bring entrepreneurs together to create a community of workers that could help each other and become a support system. I got in touch with Jeannine van der Linden from De Kamer and we instantly connected. I told her about my plans, the space and the community I wanted to create.
The space I initially looked at was too expensive so instead, I started with events, and later on, I got together with Danielle Dol from Room 4. She had the space, I had the contacts and plans, and we worked well together.
Then I found the perfect space in New-Vennep. From there I built a business plan and the cozy, Room 79 was born. Starting from scratch, I set up a coworking center and worked as a recruitment consultant. It was a natural fit as recruitment and coworking make for a nice synergy. I have been an entrepreneur for six years now, and love every minute.
What do you love most about the space you manage?
I love the opportunity to connect people and created the space for people to collaborate and have think tanks together. When Corona-days come to an end, I look forward to more personal interaction again within the center. Meeting people face to face and enjoying a cup of coffee or tea sparks connections and inspires innovation, and through this, we help each other to bring about new ideas.
What makes your location different from the other De Kamer locations?
The size of Kamer 79 – it is the smallest location of the De Kamer family, but it enables members to engage faster (it’s a good way to avoid hiding in a large room). The look and feel are welcoming, with lots of wooden furniture. I’ve included unusual and quirky décor and an inspiration wall (the whole wall is a combination of text and quotes to keep you inspired). And of course, we offer a recruitment arm to the community to match candidates to new opportunities.
How have you seen the coworking industry evolve?
I’ve seen the coworking industry grow rapidly over the last few years. More people are aware of these options and more people understand the concept. Even when I talk to entrepreneurs about my business, they say ‘Oh yes I have heard about that…’
There is now greater demand from spaces to offer value to coworkers – if we cannot offer a service we point our members in the right direction. There seems to be more connectedness within the communities where we put the best interest of one another at heart. People ask each other for help and these collaborations help us find new opportunities to extend our business. Also, people want to travel less, so more major corporates are starting to make their way to coworking spaces.
How rewarding has Kamer 79 been in your experience?
Payment or your effort is not always earned in hard cash. Helping a fellow coworker can take time but be so fulfilling, whether it results in a monetary value or not, these supportive gestures pay off in the long run. I cannot always help everybody, but the possibilities are endless with the coworking model because what I can’t do I can refer somebody who can. Coworking, and Room 79 in particular, offers the flexibility for people to drop in and out, and we’re seeing more desire for this. Not everybody wants to be there every day, but some just want to get out and find inspiration elsewhere in a comfortable space.
What impact did 2020 have on the industry?
Lockdown has definitely inspired more people to explore a more flexible working option. Remote working has given people the power to decide where they’d like to work in a week, and as a result, coworking has become a more attractive option for many. Although our physical spaces have gone through closures for periods, I am confident that these times have created a deeper need for connection in the world, and we will see a pick up when the world is less uncertain.
We are social creatures by nature, in need of that human connection, and working remotely means a greater sense of business support is also needed. Coworking can fulfill both of these roles in essence.
What words of advice do you have for people considering coworking and unsure about the benefits it can offer them?
Just try it, get a feel for it, a taste for it… and you’ll get hooked! The vibe is attractive. If you don’t try it – you won’t know.