Interview with Kristen & Leigh founders of The Workshop.

Kristen Wonch (Left) & Leigh Stockton (Right)

Get out of your PJs and be part of something epic!

We’re stoked to introduce you guys to CoLo’s latest space The Workshop. A community-first, coworking space tailor-made for entrepreneurs and creatives located in Auckland Central New Zealand. A buzzing community, coffee on the go, and cool peeps that will change your life! 

How did The Workshop come about?

The Workshop is run and founded by two awesome girl bosses, Kristen Wonch (OHUDDLE) and Leigh Stockton (Nothing Surf). Leigh had recently returned back to New Zealand after working as a freelance journalist whilst travelling overseas. Arriving back in NZ, Leigh needed to pick up work but after experiencing the freedom of travelling didn’t want to commit to a full time position. Picking up a contracting role gave Leigh the flexibility of working from home, but she soon found herself getting bored and facing the loneliness of working alone. To combat the isolation Leigh made the shift into a local coworking space. Surrounded by like-minded creatives and human interaction the loneliness soon faded away. Unfortunately the workspace had to shut up shop late last year, leaving Leigh with the feeling of “what do I do now!?

It was at this time Leigh met Kristen through mutual friends. Kristen is the founder of Ohuddle, an online platform that connects entrepreneurs with professional services. Kristen was familiar with the coworking scene and had worked out of a handful of creative studios and coworking spaces in the local area. The thing that stood out for her was the power of community, working in a culture where it’s the norm to help each other out. With Ohuddle being a completely digital business, Kristen felt she had been missing out on the face to face interaction with like-minded entrepreneurs. With both in need of a place to work other than the home office, conversation sparked of curating their own community and The Workshop was born!

The Workshop creative studio Auckland

What are they types of profiles The Workshop attract?

There are a selection of wonderful coworking spaces across the country doing really great things for the national tech scene, hosting events, meetups and all that good stuff. The duo feel that there’s a huge group of small businesses and individual freelancers both in Auckland and on a national scale that don’t fit into that particular niche. The workshop caters to a creative crowd, with a strong focus on mindfulness and wellbeing offering a range of quirky and creative projects. In one of the more recent projects the community came together and brewed their own kombucha!

Other weekly community activities include;

  • Meditation sessions
  • Yoga classes
  • D.I.Y Projects
  • Community lunches
Winter warmer, community lunch at the Workshop.

A holistic viewpoint, not just focusing on business. “It’s more than just a community, it’s a family. We have a different take on coworking: a place to make your mark, with a buzz that inspires.”

The resident base of The Workshop are primarily one person businesses opposed to small teams and startups. This has resulted in no isolation between the resident base — everyone comes together and collaborates.

What the community members have to say!

“Space is something we don’t often have in our busy life these days, whether it is the space to think, space to focus, space to move around…and The Workshop has this magic vibe that gives you all sorts of spaces you need, to focus, to create and to do the things you love.”

Shanshan Ge, Founder of Mind-Ge Yoga. 

What does the future look like for The Workshop?

The girls have the vision of expanding into other locations, supporting local communities and helping their local businesses thrive. Kristen & Leigh are both keen surfers so Piha is a location they’d love to look into — I’m sure community surfs would go down well in the workplace! The girls are less focused on growing the size of the resident base, and their passion lies in curating communities and helping the smaller niches get the resources they need.

The lessons learnt setting up a coworking space; tips for new space operators.

  • “Don’t forget it’s people serviced industry”. A coworking space is nothing without people, you have to put in the time getting to know your residents, find out what they want to get out of coworking.
  • Be consistent with the experience you deliver, establish your messaging and branding. Come up with your core values and rock them!
  • Focus on building a happy community, sit down and be upfront with your residents find out what’s working and what could be improved.

The Workshop are very much still in startup mode, the doors have been open for a little over one month now. Kristen & Leigh were nice enough to share through some pointers on how they attracted members below:

  • Hosting events in the space that aren’t necessarily part of your network, this opens up your space a diverse range of humans.
  • Share your vision with other local businesses, this helps generate the hype!
  • Establish a tag line, something that will get people interested to find out more.
  • Embrace the power of social media & make use of the local relevant groups to get the word out.

Whether you’re a professional creative or starting a new business, there is space for you to stretch your skills and practise your talents at The Workshop. Go beyond the confines of your desk and enjoy the creative culture on offer.

A big shout out to both Kristen and Leigh for taking the time to sit down with us and answer a few questions! Rad chicks hosting a rad place to work from. If you’re in the Auckland area be sure to drop in and say g’day,

Fancy spending a day or two in The Workshop? Book your stay right here on CoLo!

Level 1, 37D Crummer Road, Grey Lynn. You’ll find them behind the bright green door.

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