Celebrating rad working communities all over the globe! In this edition of community shoutout we chat to The Orchard, a collaborative business and event space for the growing community of entrepreneurs, start-ups and already established business professionals in Northland, New Zealand. We sat down with community manager Kayla Tattley.

Kayla’s on a mission to educate humans on the professional & social benefits of coworking, she too subscribes to the movement that the future of work is social. Her end goal — to make coworking mainstream across Northland!

“I’d describe my journey as community manager so far as similar to a guitar tuner — listening to the the sound of the space, the atmosphere and making little but frequent tweaks. Constantly sweating the small stuff.”
Kayla with Joseph Stuart. Joe is the GM for business, innovation and growth at Northland Inc, who initiated The Orchard.

Can you tell us a little bit about the Orchard and where it started?

It started as a response to the fact that Northland is growing and more enterprising individuals are choosing to base their businesses here. Without doubt, the region offers an awesome work/life balance and also has the advantages of an economy on the rise.

So the bright sparks in the Business Innovation and Growth team at Northland Inc got talking about how a collaborative works space could be the start of something great. They took this conversation to their mates at the Northland Chamber of Commerce, who took no convincing! From there the idea grew, before long the Northland Regional Council were behind it and then support came from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

Northland Inc and the Northland Chamber of Commerce are both tasked with supporting the economic growth of Northland, so they’ve taken the whole thing one step further — they’ve moved in! As anchor tenants both teams are huge supporters of innovation and the entrepreneurial spirit, so by being under one roof they can connect and provide services to the Orchardists whenever they need it.

Who makes up the space at The Orchard?

The Orchard resident base is made up of a diverse range of professions. Our full-time permanent Orchardists range from television broadcasting creatives, industry training teams, to digital marketers! At our hot desks, you’ll bump into a different profession every hour as everyone from designers, comms specialists and sales/service people take advantage of our felxi $6 per hour rate.

What kind of events and workshops does The Orchard hold?

The Orchard was born to foster entrepreneurship and innovation in our region so most of our in house events are designed with that in mind. We’ve been running Lunch Box Sessions that are delivered by local business people who can share their knowledge to increase the capabilities of SME’s.

The Orchard is currently hosting The Pick 2017. The purpose of The Pick is to increase the number of businesses in Northland and to promote what a great place Northland is to be entrepreneurial. We want more people challenging their 9–5 norm and doing what they are passionate about!

We had over 140 entries in the space of six weeks, and we’ve now chosen our 22 finalists. We’re sponsoring these guys as residents of The Orchard where they can hot-desk and collaborate on their business ideas with mentoring from our start-up manager. It’s going to add such an awesome buzz to the space over the next three months, and we’re super pumped to see these ideas develop and grow!

Find out more about competition and check out The Pick 2017’s website!

What are the lessons you’ve learnt being involved with setting up a coworking space?

Lesson One: Walk the talk. Don’t segregate yourself from other coworking spaces, work alongside them. Find out what worked them and learn from their mistakes. Trying to work it out alone is collaborative suicide, there are plenty of awesome people who will be more than happy to give you advice.

Lesson Two: Education. If you’re an early adopter of the coworking movement in your region, you’ll need to allow time and resources to educate the people on what coworking even is. Start meet-ups at local hubs or coffee shops — word of mouth will soon spread!

Lesson Three: Nail your processes and operating systems early on. Learning as you go will distract you from what really matters: curating and looking after your community.

Lesson Four: Perception — celebrate the small wins because they add up! It’s easy to get caught up and to be constantly driving for more and more. Every now and again take a step back and evaluate what’s worked and what hasn’t. Appreciate what you’ve achieved so far.

What the residents have to say

“Discovering coworking was a revelation for Channel North! We thought the way we were working, in our own dark private office was effective but we’ve since done a 180 and realised we just had no idea! Becoming an Orchardist has been the best thing for our team and business. It’s enabled us to reach new markets, extend our product set and make new friends. This is our new normal and we love it.”
Gareth Mauchline, Production Manager — Channel North.
Kayla (Right) & Amy (Left) Hospice fundraiser day— Amy’s a superwoman at The Orchard, hosting events, and putting a smile on everyones face. She brings all the laughs!

A big shout out to Kayla and The Orchard fam — these humans are doing great things for Whangarei and the wider Northland business/startup community! Looking forward to having you guys back down at CoLo HQ in the near future.

Fancy spending a day or more in The Orchard, these guys are onboard with the $10 hot desk promotion which runs all the way through un till the end of September. Grab yourself your hot-desking promo code, and work from one of the nations leading coworking spaces!

Check out The Orchard Whangarei on CoLo here.

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