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City Profiles

Under the bridge: Coworking in DUMBO, Brooklyn

DUMBO, Brooklyn, New York City

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In the late 70’s Dumbo was given its name in the hopes of deterring developers. As prices skyrocketed in Manhattan, artists and families crossed the river to start a life in Brooklyn. Dumbo is now overflowing with creative talent and tech startups, which has recently brought people to refer to the neighborhood as NYC's digital district. Many of these up and coming small businesses, startups and artists choose to join a coworking space. Deskmag had the chance to visit Studiomates over the holidays, and also wanted to highlight some of the many coworking opportunities to be found down under the Manhattan Bridge.

Dumbo, a neighborhood in the New York borough of Brooklyn is relatively small, but it has big reputation. Directly across the river, Dumbo is famous for it’s community feel, art shows, St. Anne’s Warehouse performance space, Grimaldi’s pizza, and stunning views of the harbor and Manhattan Bridge. The neighborhoods charming atmosphere gives it a unique feeling, which has transferred over into its coworking spaces.

One of Dumbo's most lively areas is located on Jay Street. It is sprinkled with bars and galleries, and there you can also find some of the neighborhoods most impressive coworking spaces. The DUMBO Startup Lab, focusing mainly on tech and web development, offers a productive coworking space for entrepreneurs and designers.

You can rent a space for yourself or a team, but also have the option of becoming more involved by signing up for classes. The classes cover a variety of topics, like how to understand music licensing for media, how to have control of your work and money as a freelancer, using Kickstarter to its full potential, and much more.

The Startup Lab has found a way to work with your needs, by offering three types of memberships: the floater membership for only 200 dollars a month, which gives you 24 hours access, and is perfect for those who don’t mind switching it up once in a while. 

Although, the Startup Lab also takes into consideration that some people need more stability, so you can rent a personal work station for only 400 dollars a month. If you are looking to expand, you can rent a team station for only $1,200 a month. 

Studiomates is the brainchild of Tina Roth Eisenberg, alias swissmiss. Eisenberg describes herself on her blog as a “Swiss designer gone NYC”. Swissmiss not only runs her wildly popular design blog out of the coworking space, but several other projects as well. These projects include Tattly, TeuxDeux and Creative Mornings. Eisenberg has created a lucrative, innovative and trendy design empire built on a foundation of coworking.

Deskmag had the chance to get to know Studiomates a little better and was given a tour of the space from Eisenberg’s assistant (or swissmisstant) Jen Mussari. Alongside a handful of other successful startups in the building, like Oak Studios and Fictive Kin, Mussari also uses the bright window lit space as a place to work on her own illustrations. Mussari describes her experience as a part of Studiomates as being “constantly being surrounded by inspiration”.

Mussari takes me through the history of Studiomates, starting in 2008, when Eisenberg and three other women realized their vision of business mixed with pleasure. The goal was to create a warm and friendly space for independent writers, designers, bloggers and artists. Currently, the "space holds over 30 people, and has several floaters also working in the space at the moment”.

Mussari also explains that because Studiomates is such a tight knit community, “many people come through, but there are certain ones who have been there for years, and who are now very important to the space”. 

The neighboring Oak Studios has remained loyal to Studiomates since the beginning. “Oak Studios has been very successful and now they are putting money back into the space” said Mussari. Even though the company is rapidly growing and “they are knocking down walls in order to expand” the close and friendly environment on which Studiomates thrives is ever present, regardless of a company’s growth.

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