How we have grown.
Ariel Media is not precisely a super-new, startup company, nor does it fit the regular startup mold or even the traditional small business one. We are a sui generis company, and we had been around for almost three years when we made the best decision ever: we moved into a shared office at Think Big Coworking.
We had followed Think Big and the progress of the construction at their new location on 1712 Main Street for months. One of us had dropped in and coworked a few times at their previous location. We had friends and people we did business with in their community. Yet, we couldn’t just jump and commit to a workspace without shopping around the city.
It is not a secret anymore that Kansas City is one of the most entrepreneurial cities in America. There are startups popping up like mushrooms after the storm almost every week. There are all sorts of new small businesses, non-profits and civic initiatives. The city is bubbling, sizzling and buzzing with entrepreneurship. All of this requires an infrastructure that traditional commercial real estate is sometimes very ill-equipped to fulfill. So, new non-traditional spaces have come to be as well. We visited them all in our quest to decide whether Think Big was the right place for us or not. We searched from the City Market all the way to Midtown and beyond, in the southern urban yonder that is Waldo. We liked many of them, but most were missing a few key components: a community that has no problem working with each other, collaborating, “cross-pollinating” if we must use the buzzword; and a dedicated team that is more than just the landlords, but whom are community stewards, growers of tech and innovation initiatives, entrepreneurial leaders, civic standard-bearers. We also wanted to be in Kansas City’s urban innovation district, the middle of everything new and wonderful happening in Kansas City.
One can guess by now that we found all of this at Think Big because we did. Since we moved here, we have developed numerous business and personal relationships that have pushed us to growth unimaginable at the times when we were working from our couches. And, when I say growth I mean it in a much more than just business sense. We have grown as people, as entrepreneurs, as artists, designers, writers, translators, as a team. We have done so because of the incredibly talented group of people that call this space their second home (although when we spend more time here than anywhere else, that moniker is suspect). We have collaborated with many of the Think Big members, asked many for advice, and mentored others. We have celebrated their successes and they have celebrated ours. We have shared our struggles and they have shared theirs as ways to understand how this convoluted and sometimes very frustrating world of making things happen works. We have become a family, beyond clichés, with grumpy relatives and all.
There is also, and very importantly, the help we have received from the Think Big Partners team. One of the first things they asked us when we moved in was, “What can we do to help you grow?” Their subsequent actions have shown that they mean that every time they ask, and there have been many instances of that question. Encouragement is one very important thing, but creating synergy that truly works for everyone involved is something much more tangible and a much more important one. They make introductions, give recommendations, guide, advise and listen. They love what they do, and it shows, and it encourages us all to be better and do better.
Location wise, it truly doesn’t get any better than this. It is not just the address itself, and the magnificent historic architecture and the history that lives within the brick walls, the timber frame, and the trees (you read that correctly) that form the floors; but everything that happens in and around this creative beehive. This is ground zero for the Smart City initiative that will make Kansas City a beacon of future urban innovation. This is the former home of KC Streetcar office, and the new streetcar runs right outside. FWD/KC was born and lives here. The space is the preferred destination for workshops, conferences and training sessions for large and small business alike. Non-profits love to host their events here. People love dropping in because it inspires them, it propels them, it moves them forward. And, there is FREE coffee, and not just any coffee, but coffee roasted and blended locally by iconic entrepreneurs. Even the coffee feels like it truly belongs here.
So, yes, we have grown since we moved here in ways that can be easily quantified, and others that cannot. We love the new knowledge we have gained, the new skills, the new friendships, the new possibilities. The future of any startup or business is not guaranteed, but we feel more confident about ours every time we step into Think Big.
Interested in learning more about our workspace and community? Join us for Collisions & Coffee every Thursday.
Thursdays at Think Big are big, bold, coffee-licious and packed with inspiration and productivity vitamins. Plan your week around #TBThursdays with free open coworking on our 2nd floor – perfect for 1:1 and small group meetings and networking with friendly dreamers, doers and downtowners.