Interview: Lewis Kay-Thatcher of Creative Coworking Space, Lunar HQ

Lewis Kay-Thatcher - Lunar HQ.jpg

Tell us a bit about bit about your background

I have a bit of an intertwining background of various project. For the past 10 years I've been working as a Graphic Designer / Creative Director, the past 5 of those as a freelancer. I'm the Creative Director of a small, independent music festival called Fieldview Festival, I'm the Creative Director of an innovative new coffee startup Fitch Brew Co, and in my spare time design laser cut jewellery, write children's books and am currently designing a tabletop board game.

What's the story behind Lunar HQ - when and why did you launch?

I would always work from the desk in my bedroom and really missed people and interaction during the day. I love being around different people and draw so much daily inspiration from them but also love my own space so I wanted to find a middle ground. Living in Shoreditch, East London there's quite a lot of options of places to work but I never really felt comfortable in any so decided to make my own space. It all happened quite luckily as I spoke to my landlord just as the previous tenants of 8 years moved out and he asked if I wanted to see the space; a knock-off make-up wholesalers. The place was in total disregard and I think only excitement of a new project and total naivety made me sign the lease; little did I know how much work would need to be done to fix it up. After 10 months of re-building the whole place and only 7x over budget I finally felt comfortable to open the doors for people to come any work here, around April 2017. 

What's unique about your space? What makes you stand out?

Community is the most important part of Lunar HQ and it's got a really lovely mix of creative and brilliant people who work and collaborate together. Upstairs is also a pop-up shop that members can rent out for their projects or use for launch events. We also host various different creative workshops and 'no screen time' events such as collage club, freestyle embroidery, and life drawing. There's also a bi-annual showcase evening of talent from Lunar and it's friends. This video made by Mikey Rosenfeldt is from the last one

You're a young space, how have the first few months been?

Without wanting to sound too cliché, it's been a real rollercoaster; loads of fun and a bit terrifying all at the same time. It's also flown past so quickly. I've learned so much and have loved the process of building the space and community but theres still a lot to learn and I'm really excited about it.

What's one of the biggest challenges you've faced in running your space?

Initially about getting together a good pricing structure and business plan that is flexible enough for the members but also that would eventually be profitable and would nurture both the space and the people in it. When I started I was quite worried about the project so wrote on one of the walls in biro "Don't overthink it". This sentiment really helped me re-focus every time I was a bit stressed about some details during the project. I commissioned the amazing sign writer and artist Hana Sunny Whaler to paint it across the beam in the main space to help me and others when we're getting a little overwhelmed with whatever project is happening at the time.  

How have you learnt from the coworking community in East London? 

It's reinforced the knowledge that it's all about the community within the space. It's quite oversaturated in East London and it's only going to get busier – there's 5 new spaces opening up within half a mile [that I know of] and more in the pipeline! Who knows what the future will hold for co-working in the area but I feel there will always be a space for small, independent, creative spaces.

What kind of members are working in Lunar HQ?

A really inspiring mix of designers, copyrighters, bloggers, journalists, artists, photographers, fashion designers, and even an exceptional poet!

Lunar HQ Embroidery Workshop.jpg

What have you got planned for the future of Lunar HQ?

So many exciting projects! I would love to see workshops happen once or twice a week and hopefully the space will be able to build some more external events and maybe grow to other locations. Let's see what happens.

How is Coherent helping you to manage your space?

It's a brilliant admin (and stress) reliever. It takes all the hassle out of new members signing up and definitely makes the whole process more professional. The customer support is incredible and I feel really confident using it.

One piece of advice for someone thinking about launching a coworking space

I don't really have one piece of advice apart from make sure you realise how much building work you'll need to do before you begin! If you're going to do it just dive right in; you're going to end up swimming quicker than you realise. 

How can people find out more about Lunar HQ?

Head to the website, follow the Lunar Instagram or come along to one of the workshops. See you there!