Although you may not realise it, your surroundings are a linchpin of wellbeing. Your environment impacts your output, state of mind, and in some instances, physical health.
Of course this is applicable to your home, but it undoubtedly extends to your workplace too. (Mariah Carey once said she’s allergic to fluorescent lights, and every time I’m under them in an office environment, I concur.) It’s not just the interiors, either – being surrounded by like-minded people working towards the same goal is supremely conducive to productivity.
Brisbane’s newest co-working space, The Cove, embodies precisely this. Founder and director Courtney Norris was staunch in building a shared workspace with her passion for creative spaces, refined design and entrepreneurial spirit. Combined with her industry know-how in the commercial property and motor industry environment, Courtney founded The Cove in the hopes of building a platform to nurture collaboration, creation and connection in the workplace.
Courtney took the time to go in to detail about what differentiates The Cove as a co-working space, the incredible breadth of offerings their members receive, and their plans to expand in the future.
Brisbanites take note: if you’re experiencing a lull in motivation or are in need of a new creative workspace, The Cove is a foolproof way to start or be re-inspired.
What is your background?
I formalised my education with a degree in international relations, psychology and human rights and ethics, and began my career in the not-for-profit sector and creative industries, where I worked in London, Hong Kong and Australia. In December 2014, I moved back to Australia and began working within the family business in commercial property development and management, with clients such as Hyundai, Mitsubishi and Kia.
How did The Cove come about?
Combing my past experiences and knowledge in the creative and commercial sector, I was inspired to bring a change to the business landscape of Brisbane. My knowledge of co-working spaces in my previous jobs was that they offered the bare minimum; the sense of belonging and community completely absent. We wanted to change that, and make a workspace a holistic, all-encompassing environment.
I come from an event environment, and I saw The Cove as being an extension of that: an experience. We spend more time in our office space than we do with our friends and our family, so it’s important to have that genuine experience in the workplace.
What is The Cove’s MO?
The Cove is a space to create, collaborate and connect your business with industry leaders, entrepreneurs and small businesses alike. Our custom-designed office space offers a range of multifunctional work desks and office suites that provide the perfect platform to harbour entrepreneurial minds.
What makes The Cove different?
We are catering for people who are in small businesses that are creatively focused, and our biggest offering is our sense of community. We have our wellness component where we do events in the health space; onsite as well as off, in unique, interesting locations around the city. We also host a lot of online seminars and workshops, which are tailored to entrepreneurship.
Why are co-working spaces important in the current business landscape?
Small businesses don’t want to be locked into a three-year lease with huge overheads, not knowing if their business is going to be growing or shrinking or moving to another city.
Did you employ any interesting marketing strategies to get companies or individuals to join when you first opened?
When we first opened, we began talking to partner businesses who had similar philosophies to us. We quickly started to build a network, and then it really became a lot of word of mouth. We got a lot of feedback that people heard about us or saw our social media, and that bought in amazing people, which contributed to organic growth.
What are clients usually looking for when they join The Cove?
The people that come to The Cove have usually been in an environment that is more tech-focused and are looking for somewhere with more creativity and like-minded companies. There’s been a lot of investment in tech in Brisbane, and there are a lot more previously accelerated programs that are focused on supporting those industries in Queensland, but not as much within the creative industries.
The space is visually stunning. When you were doing the fit-out, was all of that you, or did you have an interior designer?
Design is my background, but I certainly didn’t do it on my own. I worked with an amazing interior designer and we outsourced a lot of the elements locally; the furniture and lighting in particular. Keeping things local is very much part of our philosophy. I know a lot of people are looking to China to source the things they need, which is primarily price-driven, but we’ve tried our hardest to keep as much of it here as we could.
In terms of layout, did you design the space for collaboration?
Absolutely, right down to the colour palette and materials we used. The space was originally a warehouse, and its design lends itself to the relaxed yet refined coastal design, featuring Nordic timbers, copper finishes and an oceanic colour palette accented throughout the design.
The space is also very versatile. It’s split across two levels in an open-plan arrangement, with a range of shared workspaces and luxury office suites complete with custom furniture and finishes to provide a balance between a serviced office space and a co-working environment. There’s also a boardroom, various meeting rooms, business address service, breakout areas, printing services and the latest A/V equipment – we’re serious about reaching business goals in style!
What are your plans for the future? Are you going to expand nationally?
I’d like to go coastal; to look at regional areas and not just capital cities. I think some of Australia’s incredibly talented business people and entrepreneurs are actually looking to have a lifestyle as well as a nice work environment – places like the Gold Coast, Byron Bay and the Sunshine Coast and expanding more regionally. I think that’s a niche that needs to be filled.