“Comradity is the fusion of camaraderie plus community,” says Katherine Warman Kern, who opened Comradity in September 2014 with her husband, Jim. Former media executives themselves, they noticed a trend of media and marketing executives working from home or in isolated offices. Business, networking, socializing and more, all happen naturally in the loft space located at 845 Canal St., in the Harbour Point neighborhood of Stamford. Serendipity sat down with Katherine and Jim to discuss their business.
How did Comradity come to be?
We started Comradity as a blog in 2007 to inspire the media and marketing business to get more creative during a time of dramatic transformation. The industry is still struggling with redefining who “we” are—through traditional, siloed media channels, agencies, professional organizations and retailers.
How is Comradity different from what’s already out there?
Members and businesses value Comradity for more than just the space they book. Members can expand and contract their use from using it as a virtual office to making Comradity their business home every day—without a long-term commitment. Businesses may book an off-site meeting room for a half-day or a pilot project team lab for three months. Add-on services can include an ice-breaker creative exercise, starting an off-site meeting, facilitating a full-blown ideation and AV and HD web production support for webinars, videoconferencing and live-streaming meetings.
What are the most popular memberships?
The most popular membership is the “Mobile Membership,” which includes access to the private social network for members only, comradity.io and the benefit of being exposed on the public face on comradity.com. We thought that the next most popular memberships would be for part- time use of meeting rooms and desks on a project basis in the Open Studio. But it turns out many independent professionals want to be affiliated with others. It’s great to have someone else to talk to when you “hit a wall” and, importantly, when you have something to celebrate (that’s why there is a large brass gong in the common area).
What are the most popular spaces and how are you expanding?
Due to the popularity of taking residence here, the private offices are full, and we have a waiting list. Some businesses are growing, and we are adding private and semi-private team offices. Additionally, without any advertising or promotion, companies are calling to book off-sites and produce webinars. So we are looking to expand with a larger event and meeting space to service larger groups, perhaps to up to 250 people. In addition to booking the space for business events, we plan to host our own events with lifestyle themes and to showcase marketing solutions.
Who are the kind of people and businesses using Comradity?
All of the business members are in strategy and creative professional services. Corporate strategy, brand strategy, influencer content strategy and development, social media, web and mobile app development, media promotions and events, accelerating growth plans and more. Members are showcased on our website, comradity.com.
Is there anything about starting this business that has been surprising to you?
How quickly the community has galvanized. Everyone has had great success in their own right. And they share ideas willingly. They are open to experimenting with news ways to collaborate.
What types of events do you have coming down the pipeline?
We are preparing to launch a series of programs that will provide content to corporate users of our meeting rooms and facilities for off-site meetings. The program offerings are designed to use every tool imaginable to help improve performance.
If people want to test it out, what’s the easiest way to do that?
We are available at the space every day to introduce prospective members and businesses to our community and resources.