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Louisville isn’t known for fashion
6:15 AM | сен. 8, 2017
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When Yamilca Rodriguez gets her way, Louisville will add fashion design to the city's list of notable achievements alongside bourbon, horse racing and basketball.

Her vision? A shared workspace studio that will encourage others in the Louisville area to explore and collaborate in the fashion industry.

The fashion designer plans to open the co-working space, Louisville Bespoke, in mid-September in Germantown.

"Louisville Bespoke is meant to be used by anyone who touches fashion," Rodriguez said. "From clothing to shoe designers, milliners to wearables, photographers, bloggers and entrepreneurs in the fashion field. Our city is full of people doing great work."

And a shared workspace, Rodriguez said, is "the way to collaborate," and save money for people starting out in their trade.

Rodriguez is the latest entrepreneur to jump on the co-working trend, which was relatively unheard of about a decade ago.

In 2007, there were only 14 co-working spaces across the United States, according to Forbes. Today, there are over 11,000, and the trend is growing — by 2020, it's expected there will be more than 26,000 spaces hosting 3.8 million people.

Each new space is "another step forward in growing Louisville’s startup scene and thus the regional economy," said Lisa Bajorinas, vice president of entrepreneurship and talent for Greater Louisville Inc., the city's chamber of commerce.

GLI doesn't track the exact number of people using co-working spaces in the city, but the number of facilities is on the rise.

The power of shared space

Sharing space helps cut down on dozens of costs including rent, heating and cooling, the purchase of equipment, tools, and job-specific machines.

“For startup founders in the early stages of building their companies, a co-working space can be a great option for a host of reasons," said Brittain Skinner, commercialization director for EnterpriseCorp, the entrepreneurial arm of GLI. "It provides a defined workspace, shared basic resources and, in co-working spaces that provide meeting rooms, a more professional space in which to meet early customers or clients."

Louisville Bespoke joins a growing number of Louisville co-working environments that cater to inventors, video designers, chefs, artists and a host of self-employed individuals.

Chef Space, 1812 W. Muhammad Ali Blvd., is a shared commercial kitchen in western Louisville for food entrepreneurs to cook and create in a space that's better equipt than their home kitchen. It's home to a wide range of entrepreneurs, from V-Grits vegan food to saucy and delicious chicken wings from Daddy Rich's.

FirstBuild, 333 E. Brandeis, is a micro-factory and think tank on the University of Louisville campus backed by GE Appliances. This innovative lab is open to anyone over the age of 18 (or accompanied by a guardian if between the ages of 13-18) for access to tools, including Makerbots, Electronics Benches and Universal Laser Printer.

FirstBuild was the factory behind a $9,990 pizza oven where temperatures soar between 800 and 1300 degrees to bake a perfect pie in two minutes or less.

If you're more into tech or are a video game designer, there's a shared work space for you, too. Warp Zone Louisville, 607 W. Main St., is another shared space in downtown Louisville where members have 24-hour access to the workspace to create video games and host events such as meet-ups and game launches.

Community for creative minds

Milliner Sarah Havens started her hat-making business 22 years ago from her home.

"But there came a point when I realized I felt isolated and I wanted to be able to leave the distractions of my home and have a separate place to go to do my work," she said.

Today, Havens' workspace is a glistening white, 550-square-foot studio in the former Hope Worsted Mill building, 1000 Swan St. in Germantown. The old textile factory has high ceilings and large windows offering lots of natural light.

Rodriguez will join Havens in this space when she opens Louisville Bespoke.

Last year, Rodriguez raised $10,000 through a Kickstarter campaign that allowed her to purchase two high-end sewing machines.

Havens' millinery equipment, plus large tables for cutting fabric, industrial irons, and a section of the room set up for fashion photography complete the co-working space.

When Louisville Bespoke opens, a final and essential ingredient will be added: people.

"Having other creative minds around helps to increase my own creativity," Havens said. "It's a healthy type of competition."

Typically, individuals pay an hourly or monthly fee to use space and equipment in a shared workspace, with the bonus option to brainstorm and network with others in their field. Louisville Bespoke charges between $75 and $550 depending on what you use the space for and how often.

Louisville Bespoke will also offer classes to help artists better use social media and YouTube to market their product and a variety of sewing classes, leather making and more.

Francis Lewis, owner and executive designer of Ann DeEvelyn Clothing Company, said she would have appreciated Louisville Bespoke when she first started designing and sewing a decade ago.

"I had to buy a very expensive type of sewing machine, which I really only need to use once or twice a month," she said. "It was very hard to afford when I was first starting out. What Yamilca is doing will be extremely helpful. It will help remove some of the financial stumbling blocks."

As more self-employed workers ditch the traditional office environment – or their kitchen table – for a more economical, social and inspiring environment, expect to find a growing number of co-working businesses around town.

"By sharing a workspace, equipment and ideas, I believe Louisville's fashion scene will grow in ways we can't even image," Rodriguez said. "Louisville Bespoke is something I have dreamed of creating for a very long time and I am so happy that dream is about to come true."Read more at:simple formal dresses | online formal dresses




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