East London's Creativity hub.
Updated: Feb 17
We’ve been making a difference within the creative industries since 1999 by providing training and opportunities to young people. Growth and community are at the core of our existence.
- Alexis Michaelides, Founder BCE / MD
Something about Justyna's way of describing her space gave us a little bit of British elegance and modern-era vibes. Check it out 👇
How long have you been in the industry?
Justyna Michalik-Minken: I’ve been working in the industry for just over four years now. At the start of my flex-space career, I was a building & community manager for a medium-sized central London operator before being hired as a consultant for Creative Works. I came on board to manage the design and build, promotion and sales side of the workspace, and now I’m head of operations and communications. My role is multifaceted; a typical day could involve anything from forging partnerships with local organizations and sourcing new tenants to managing our program of industry events for members and the wider community - and everything in between!
What motivates you to get up and continue what you do today?
Justyna Michalik-Minken: My motivation comes from making a real difference to our community of creative entrepreneurs. I’ve witnessed many of our members’ businesses grow and go from strength to strength since we opened in December 2018. I’m proud that I’m able to help facilitate their growth. It’s also great to be able to help young people get a foot on the creative career ladder - more on that below! I also love that we’re making a difference to the local community. We’re big supporters of circular economy and the majority of our suppliers are based in Walthamstow. A number of not-for-profit community organizations also use Creative Works as their base or for meetings.
Exactly - what you are trying to accomplish?
Justyna Michalik-Minken: From the very beginning, my aim has always been to build a cohesive hub for the local creative community. I like to think we’ve accomplished this, but there’s always more to be done. Here are just a few of the ways in which we’ve achieved our goals so far:
- Apprenticeship Scheme We run an apprenticeship project in conjunction with Big Creative Education. Our members have the opportunity to hire an apprentice in return for training support and free desk space for the apprentice.
- Free Desk Trial Anyone interested in working in our coworking space is welcome to test it out for a week, free of charge. We find that many decide to stay on after their trial.
- Business mentoring Every month, an expert mentor provides our members with a free hour of business mentoring. Topics include things like finance and marketing.
- Pet policy I’ve just implemented a pet policy which means our members are welcome to bring their pets in as long as they abide by the policy’s guidelines. Pets are great for reducing workplace stress and encouraging a better work-life balance.
Where are you today in life/business and where do you want to be?
Justyna Michalik-Minken: I enjoy the autonomy I have at Creative Works - I have the freedom to achieve my vision, even if it means having to think outside the box because of budget constraints. I’ve been able to really get involved in all aspects of the business so I have a comprehensive understanding of how it all works from a business perspective as well as an operational one. I’ve loved the process of growing something from the ground up and I’d be interested in working on similar projects in the future.
What seems to be the business problem or challenges that you have today? What keeps you awake at night?
Justyna Michalik-Minken: Interesting question! Our unique business model means we’ll always have to operate leanly, which can sometimes be a challenge. We’re a community interest company and the money we make on memberships fuels our education mission and subsidized rents. We received funding from a range of charities, including Big Issue Invest and Charity Bank.
What made you pick your brand name?
Justyna Michalik-Minken: “Creative Works” is simple and unpretentious. It reflects the idea that our space is not only a place to work in but one that works for everyone. That’s why we always listen to a business’s requirements before they move in and get to know them as people so that we can tailor our service accordingly. Integrity is really important. Any last comments?
Justyna Michalik-Minken: As well as the aforementioned apprenticeship scheme, business growth workshops, pet-friendly policy and free desk trial for potential new members, one of the things that make us unique is our focus on sustainability. When I was in the process of building the space last year, I decided to use methods and materials that were as environmentally friendly as possible. So, I hired a local carpenter and salvaged some unused wood that was destined for the scrapheap and set to work designing the furniture. I’m happy to say that 82% of our furniture is made from recycled or reclaimed materials. Even our building contractor used environmentally friendly methods and resources such as FSE approved timber and biodegradable and recyclable cups for employees. You can find out about the awards we’ve received in recognition of our dedication to sustainability, innovation, and community in this blog article -https://www.creativeworks.space/blog/creative-works-office-of-the-future-awards-2019-champions/