This doesn't have anything to do with coworking, or does it? I'll explain later.
Yesterday I dropped in to Unique Optique, just down the street from us, to congratulate them on winning a window decorating prize from our Downtown Frederick Partnership. Dr. Maria's business has a lot in common with us: we're both fairly new here in town, we both received an award from the County for our recycling and conservation efforts, and we both try to run socially and environmentally responsible businesses. Hey, quite by accident, we're even sharing the same violin and cello trio tomorrow night for the City's First Saturday celebration. (Bet you were wondering how the violin picture fit into all of this. Our performers are from the Maryland Talent Education Center, but they're not the ones in the picture. That's a photo of, appropriately enough, the Kindred Spirits Ensemble.) Oh, and we like to have fun with our work too. We chatted about payment systems like Square, Warby Parker - an eyeglass manufacturer with a unique approach to sales (buy a pair, give a pair) and finally I mentioned that we're waiting for our first delivery of toilet paper from Who Gives a Crap. You might have seen our earlier post about these guys. They're a startup that aims to improve sanitary conditions in developing parts of the world. It's a great idea, and they've made it so easy and affordable it's difficult to justify NOT using them. Today I looked at some of our website stats and noticed a referral visitor came from a Unique Optique blog post. Sure enough, Dr. Maria went to the Who Gives a Crap website, liked the company and the idea, and placed an order.
So what does this have to do with coworking? At first I thought, "nothing." Then, as I was putting this post together in my head, I realized it had quite a lot to do with the ideas and principles at the root of coworking. Here we have two dissimilar businesses in the same place (Frederick), doing business the same way (socially & environmentally aware) and by talking and sharing ideas, we each benefitted. Sound familiar?