Pick a workspace depending on how you feel
AL DÍA News spoke with Nisha Garigarn, co-founder of Croissant, an app that provides entrepreneurs with access to different and inspiring workspaces in cities around the world, from Barcelona to Philadelphia.
Are you a freelancer and fed up with working at home in your pajamas? Are you a digital entrepreneur looking for a place to work but you find it boring to sit in the same office or coffee shop every day of the week?
If you answered yes to any of these, you should familiarize yourself with Croissant.
Croissant is an app that connects entrepreneurs with unique workspaces in their own cities. During an interview with AL DÍA News, Croissant co-founder and New York entrepreneur Nisha Garigarn spoke about the inspiration for the app, the shifting understanding of the traditional workday, and how Croissant provides access to workspaces in metros around the world, including Philadelphia.
How did the idea for Croissant come about? Was it based in your own personal experience?
Yes! Several years ago, my founders and I were working on a completely different startup idea. We lived in NYC and wanted a place to get together and work on the startup idea, and we’d try to do that at coffee shops. However, finding a seat for four people at random Starbucks around town proved to be very difficult.
We did look into coworking space, but paying hundreds of dollars per person didn’t make sense. We just wanted a flexible way to meet up twice a week, and it didn’t seem like it existed. So we created Croissant! The name Croissant is a throwback to our days of ordering a bunch of coffees and pastries at coffee shops just so we didn’t feel guilty about staying there all day.
Currently, Croissant is based in over 15 cities across the U.S. and Europe. How is the business doing in Philly? Do you have plans to expand?
To be honest, we are quite new in Philadelphia. We have five coworking space partners in Philly…. and growing! The Yard is a boutique chain that just opened their first Philly location. They were one of our first partners in New York City, and we are excited to see them grow to so many locations around the U.S.
City CoHo is another great space. They are all about creating an inspiring space for startups, especially those in the social impact and sustainability industries.
We are very excited to be in a city that has a strong history of innovation. I was there just last week for Philly Tech Week, and it was inspiring to learn about all the different startups and companies in the city.
But we have plans to expand all around the world. As of right now, we don't have any Latin American partners. But every day, people are requesting for Croissant to come to their city. We frequently get requests from Mexico City, Sao Paolo, and Buenos Aires, especially. We hope to be there soon!
Did you notice any differences customers and how they work depending on their geographic location?
It's fun to see all these people using Croissant around the world. The usage really varies from one person to another, but we've been able to spot some patterns. In New York, we have a lot of members who go to multiple coworking spaces in one day, for short periods of time. That’s because people are often bouncing around the city. For example, coffee in Midtown, then dropping by a bank in Flatiron, then a meeting in the Financial District, etc.
On the other hand, in Los Angeles, people tend to stay at one coworking space per day, and for longer periods of time. We attribute that to traffic in LA, and it being a bit hard to get around the various parts of the city.
We are working hard to provide a flexible coworking app that works well for any type of remote worker!
Do you think the general tendency around the world would be to become more flexible in terms of job spaces?
Definitely! Flexibility is listed as one of the top things that folks look for in a job opportunity. Being able to work from home, or being able to shift around your hours to go to a doctor’s appointment… It’s something that people increasingly find more important. We believe that the days of going to a cubicle from 9-5 p.m. every single weekday, are coming to an end. It seems very forced, and is just not very inspiring. For example, what if you do your best work in the wee hours of the morning? Are you expected to do sub-par work during office hours just because?
We believe that changing up your work environment depending on how you feel, and working when and where feels best for you, is more natural and it’s where people can do great work.
Also, it’s easier than ever in the history of the world to start a company or freelance on your own. There are tons of resources available at hand for anyone that’s willing to look for them. Whether it’s Squarespace, for easily creating a beautiful website, or Upwork and Cloudpeeps, for listing your skills for a price, there’s plenty of non-traditional ways to make a living.
What are the advantages of Croissant versus using a normal coworking space, with "regular" colleagues and a set desk?
We think of a regular coworking desk membership as the evolution of the office. If your company is based of a coworking space, you can be expected to go to the same place each day with the same faces and same surroundings.
Croissant is for people who want more variety and freedom. Fun fact: we find that many members tend to select three to four coworking spaces that they love, and cycle between them. For most people, It’s not about bouncing around and trying all of the 300+ workspaces in the network (even though you CAN). It’s about having instant access to several workspaces and environments that you find inspiring, and having the option to try new spaces whenever you want a change of pace, or you find yourself in a new neighborhood for the week! I personally work from a mix of home, coffee shops, and coworking spaces (using Croissant, of course!) depending on my mood and my calendar for the day.
What do millennial freelancers want and need?
When millennials are getting started freelancing, it’s important for them to focus, learn, and grow. Croissant provides them with affordable, inspiring workspaces to choose from. You can meet and learn from others in the spaces. Other freelancers, founders, entrepreneurs, etc., who are going through the same things that you are. We give you access to that resourceful community whenever you need it.
On the other hand, just having a quiet space to work is huge! Working from home can be incredibly distracting, and coffee shops aren’t the best place to go to focus. A lot of members just want to be around like-minded people, even if they aren’t actually talking to one another. Being in a beautifully decorated coworking space, working alongside other people who are doing projects they are passionate about, is a very inspiring feeling!