From a retail design studio, to a international law firm, these companies tells us how they graduated from co-working to permanent office space.

A record 80 new companies were launched every hour in 2016, according to research from StartUp Britain, and the majority of them are based in London. We look at how these new businesses are continuing to grow – whether they’re joining accelerators or moving on from Club Workspace to dedicated office space. 

Hot-desking is great for small businesses and freelancers but if you start hiring, have confidential high-powered meetings, or just need acres more space for inspiration boards and Post-It notes, an office is sometimes the only option. 

But that doesn’t mean you’ll be locked down: at Workspace we make it easy to switch spaces according to your needs.

Quick draws

Draw Creative Design is a retail design studio, which was founded by Christopher Boniface and Jessica Codrington. They met a decade ago working at River Island doing in-house store design. After working freelance and for other design agencies, the two realised they had enough clients to set up their own company in 2015. They have worked for clients such as Phase Eight, River Island, the Arcadia Group and the food chain POD, as well as independent retailers. 

When and why did you start co-working at Club Workspace Wandsworth? 

Chris: We had just started the business so we were working from home. It can be quite isolating working alone. It’s much better to put yourself in a separate environment, away from your home. The motivation becomes different. 

Jess: You get a break between work and home. And being exposed to other types of businesses is a really positive thing.

Jessica & ChristopherDraw Creative Design

When and why did you move into The Biscuit Factory?

Jess: We needed more space to store samples and equipment. We needed space to set up freelancers and an area for presentation and inspiration boards. We have hired freelancers according to our workflow, and setting up computers in a co-working space is quite difficult. It’s also good to have an office where you can bring clients. 

Chris: It’s close to London Bridge – so that makes it easy for clients. We’re so central so it’s always convenient to do store tours. 

Where will you be in the next three years? 

Jess: We’re looking for steady growth and we want to carry on working for clients that we like. We have a few potential exciting projects coming up – including an independent boutique barber’s shop. 

Who would you like to meet in your business centre? 

Jess: entrepreneurs… independent businesses and brands that are on their way up to becoming more commercialised. Any brands that need
a voice, really. 

Chris: We’re not targeting brands that are already established. 

Jess: It’s a good time to be a bit more entrepreneurial and take more of a risk and we’ve taken that journey. There are lots of new and upcoming brands who are challenging the status quo.

Chris: It’s a changing market. We do store design but we also do branding, the website and the rest. We give brands a message.

Find out more at www.drawcreative.co.uk

Legal ease

Meet Neil Williamson, who founded EM Law, which provides commercial legal advice to New and Growing Companies and medium-sized business in London and the Southeast. Sharon Playford, who specialises in working with media, communications and creative agencies, is one of the lawyers at the firm.

Neil and Sharon – what do you specialise in? 

Neil: Commercial contracts, buying and selling companies, tech and software, as well as helping clients do business overseas. 

Sharon: I help media, PR, digital, advertising and creative agencies. I worked in-house for many years at the Daily Telegraph so I look at things from a very commercial perspective.  

Neil & SharonEM Law

When and why did you move into Club?

Neil: We moved into Club about a year ago to use it as an opportunity to meet potential clients. We also wanted a Clerkenwell address. 

When and why did you move into Workspace Greville Street?

Neil: We moved into Greville Street last September. I wanted a dedicated office in the area to make it easier to network and have meetings. On top of this my wife had just had a second baby and she was fed up of me being in work mode around the house. I think moving saved my marriage! 

Where will you be in the next three years?

Neil: Our workload is growing steadily and we’re getting more and more referrals. I’ll take on another permanent member of staff this year as well as some additional consultants. I think in three years’ time we’ll be three times bigger.

Office luxury?

Neil: The office is quite minimalist. It’s clutter- free. So I’d have to say the kettle. We’re next to Leather Lane – the bento boxes from my local Japanese takeaway are a highlight.

Who would you like to meet in your business centre?

Sharon: Creative, design and communications agencies.

Neil: Software suppliers and consultancies. Anyone working internationally and anyone needing general commercial support. We’ve got a real mix of clients and we’ve got other lawyers on the team specialising in areas like employment, share incentive schemes, corporate, private equity etc.    

Find out more at www.emlaw.co.uk

The Litmus Test

DigitalLitmus is a digital growth agency based at Workspace Greville Street. It helps businesses to gain traction and accelerate growth using digital channels. The company moved into Club Workspace in November 2015 when the team was getting the agency up and running. 

“We chose Club as it was flexible and a nice atmosphere,” Seb Hardman, one of the three partners, explained. “We’re a relaxed bunch and like a laugh, but we are very focused on driving outstanding results for our clients.”

The move into Greville Street was motivated by the fact the business is growing fast. “Also we need lots of wall space!” Seb says. “Much of our work requires creative thinking and we use way too many Post-It notes.”

In the next three years, it will probably need even more space. The partners see themselves employing 15 to 20 people although “we want to stay small enough that we can deliver really high-quality work. We love the area we’re already in, so probably somewhere in Clerkenwell or Farringdon, just a little bit bigger.”

Who would you like to meet in your business centre?

“Brian Balfour the Silicon Valley digital growth guru.”

Find out more at  www.digitallitmus.com

As a Club Workspace member, if you want to take the plunge and rent a Workspace office, you can qualify for a reduced deposit and, where applicable, preferential rates. Just speak to your Club host for more info