Day 17: A Downtown co-working space that helps Entrepreneurs channel their Creativity

by Jan 25, 2017Lifestyles, News

Maker City’s Teresa Garcia has built a space where creative minds can meet and explore the infinite possibilities that arise from collaboration

Teresa Garcia

by Carlyn Barker

Co-working offices have begun popping up all over the country as more and more individuals and small teams begin to form their own firms and businesses, but most of them are geared towards corporate office spaces that are convenient for newer or smaller businesses. This is specifically where Maker City L.A. stands out. In an effort to house a more creative and artistic group of entrepreneurs, Maker City combines work and play and creates an organically collaborative environment in the process. Meet Teresa Garcia, General Manager.

Originally concepted by Ava Bromberg and Sharon Ann Lee, Maker City L.A. is a spacious 60,000 square foot co-working office geared towards the creative mind and out of the box businesses, and is now run by Teresa Garcia, the general manager. Unlike most co-working offices, Maker City is dedicated to making sure even the offices themselves reflect the creatives that work there. The design of every conference room, private office, co-working space, media lab, atelier, and even, (cheers!) the nap room are uniquely crafted with these creative people in mind.

As I ride the elevator to Maker City’s home on the 11th floor, I exit out after a man carrying two enormous, clear plastic bags filled with different colored fabric swatches. Once we reached the offices, we went our separate ways; he to the right towards the atelier, and I to the left to reach the leasing office where the small Maker City L.A. team works.

I meet Teresa in the leasing office and, after being handed a floor map of their offices, we begin our tour. As we walk, Teresa points out the offices, which range from small, private spaces to larger accommodations some hundred square feet each, and she goes into brief detail about each and every office that is filled on her floor. Every time we pass someone on their way to work, she stops for a minute to say hello and even asks a couple about how they’re doing on their upcoming projects.

Maker City SHOJI Conference Room

Maker City SHOJI Conference Room

From these small interactions alone, I can tell this is a tight knit community of people who are open to helping others achieve their own successes as well. The members of this creative co-working community are diverse in their dreams. They range from small public relations firms, to new developing apps, and even include an attorney.

Maker City is imbedded with an electric pulse that is felt as soon as I walk off the elevator. Everyone in this collaborative space is working towards their dream and this hard work culminates in an addictive atmosphere that makes me want to pull an all-nighter right then and there.

“A lot of people say that they are drawn in by the energy without even having stepped foot here, which is really nice to hear,” Teresa tells me after I relay feeling inspired by their website alone. “[It’s] a place where creatives can come from all walks of life, whether you’re well known, or whether you’re just starting fresh out of school, where you could come and have all the tools within the same space to really make yourself successful.”

Teresa is a designer in her own right and went from studying design at Santa Monica College to working as a Senior Designer and Marketing Manager in San Diego before moving back to Los Angeles to run Maker City. She consistently takes online courses to stay acclimated to the ever changing world of design and is working towards getting her real estate license. When the opportunity to work at Maker City presented itself, it was the perfect job for Teresa where she could meld her design life with a high end management position that would push her to design not only creative rooms, but a creative and collaborative work environment for all of the tenants in Maker City.

TribeLA Magazine Art on Walls for Office

“What initially drew me in was the challenge to build something from the ground up,” Teresa say, “This is why I love to design. I get the opportunity to build and as General Manager I’d be able apply the art of building to the day-to-day management of Maker City LA. My biggest responsibility was to create a community of thriving artists. From video to design and fashion to tech, Maker City LA was a brilliant idea that would bridge a huge gap in the city that I love most.”
When asked about how the designs of the shared rooms came together, Teresa smiles wide and says, “That’s so awesome that you asked that.”

Teresa, along with her assistant general manager and an admin put together the room in which we were sitting, which was more than a room as it could be transformed into event space, smaller offices and shared workspace. The space is connected to a small café area, compete with a coffee stand that is also one of the businesses that resides in Maker City, and stretches along almost half the floor.

The workspace was originally located on the other side of the Maker City floor, but had to be moved when a new company needed the larger space. It was then up to Teresa to use her design background to reorganize and design the new workspace into a collaborative place for both co-working offices, as well as event space that could be transformed depending on the event it would host. “It’s almost as if it should have always been here,” Teresa says about the completed room. “It just fit in like a key.”

And that seems to be the theme of Maker City’s community of entrepreneurs. While all of the businesses that make up the 11th floor may not have had anything in common with each other initially, they now coexist with each other in a collaborative space where they can reach out to one another in any business endeavor and find creativity emerging in new and unexpected places every day. This is the beauty of Maker City’s mission: by opening the door to out of the box projects and people, they have built a space where creative minds can meet and explore the infinite possibilities that arise from collaboration

Carlyn Barker

Staff writer Carlyn Barker is finishing up creative writing and political science double major degrees at Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts where she will graduate Spring 2017. Carlyn will return home to L.A. where she will pursue her career as a screenwriter.

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