Interview: Cat How of Pollen PlaceInterviews
We interviewed Cat & Rog How a few months ago when they were running their coworking space Work Differently. Since then they’ve set up a new design agency and rebranded the coworking space, connecting the two businesses.
You can read the original interview here or read on to learn more about Pollen Place, and how to successfully rebrand your coworking space
Can you give us a brief overview of how you got into coworking, and what your journey has been like?
We got into coworking a little by accident really. Rog (my husband and business partner) used to run an e-commerce business in one of our studios and when we grew too big for it, we decided to turn it into coworking. When we sold the e-commerce business last year, we decided to expand the coworking across all three studios as it was going really well. The rest is history 🙂
Tell us about the rebrand
When we decided to expand last year, we called our coworking Work Differently. However, it never really felt right, as we knew we wanted something a little more creative and which had a bit more personality. We also set up a branding and design agency (www.polleni.com) at the same time as expanding the coworking. So we gave the agency its first job: transforming Work Differently into Pollen Place!
How did you settle on the name Pollen Place?
We really liked how rich pollen was as a concept. We felt that coworking is quite like pollination – different people interacting, and sharing ideas, but also drifting in and out of the spaces in a very fluid sort of way. We wanted to root it in a building or site, so it made sense to call it Place too. We also keep bees, so pollen is close to our hearts…
What made you decide to rebrand in the first place?
We wanted a change that reflected the fact we had a new agency in the coworking – but also we wanted something that didn’t use the word ‘work’. We wanted people to feel like they weren’t actually at work, but somewhere nice and bright and comforting.
What was the rebrand process like? Do you have any advice for other people who might want to rebrand their workspace?
It was a bit complicated for a few months, as we were designing and building the new websites (for the agency and the workspaces) which took a while. People would come down for a tour and weren’t quite sure what was going on – as we were Work Differently on the old, holding website but then Pollen Place on the signage outside the studios… So my advice would be to get as much sorted before going live, and then do it all in one go.
How important do you think the brand is for coworking spaces?
Very. There are lots of coworking spaces popping up, and at the end of the day, we’re all offering pretty much the same thing. We’ve all got good coffee and fast WiFi! The point of difference is your customer – who you are talking to and who you think would like to work in your space. So targeting people through branding that sits well, and feels right to them, is the best way of communicating directly with your core audience.
What makes Pollen Place unique? What’s unique about what you’re offering your members?
We have a heavily creative slant – lots of original screenprints on the walls and a strong emphasis on design products in the studios (it helped having run a design shop for 7 years beforehand!). So we’ve found that we’ve tended to attract quite a lot of creatives – designers, animators – alongside developers, but also people who just like looking at nice things. We also have a 400 sq ft event space in one of the studios, which we use for networking events and BYO lunches and whatnot.
Tell us a bit about Polleni, and how that ties in to Pollen Place
Polleni (www.polleni.com) is our creative agency, that specialises in branding, graphic design and website design. It was formed from collaboration within the coworking spaces – Rog and I teamed up with a coworker (Neil Quinn) who had a desk with us. He used to co-run his own design studio in Nottingham, but had relocated to Bristol and wanted to set up something new. We’ve since gone on to collaborate with various other coworkers in the units – developers who have helped us with code or building our websites, and someone who might help us with an app. We realised we had loads of talent right on our doorstep and haven’t looked back since 🙂
What’s it like managing a design agency alongside a coworking space?
Now the dust has settled it is a bit more manageable. At first, it was a little full on! But we are all finding our roles now, and the coworking is able to look after itself most of the time. It definitely helps to have Coherent though, keeping the admin down!
What does the future hold for Pollen Place and Polleni?
If we can’t achieve Total World Domination then one thing we’re expanding into is creating brands for start-ups, as we see a lot of them doing coworking. We are also looking at expanding into other places in the next few years which have a strong start-up and coworking scene – like Lisbon.
To find out more about Pollen Place and Polleni visit www.pollenplace.com or www.polleni.com