It’s been two glorious weeks in our brand new office in downtown Boston. The metaphorical (and literal) dust has finally settled, so we’re ready to tell the story of how we got here. Our Executive Assistant, Kelsey, and Creative Director, Julia, led the search, so we’ll let Kelsey tell it in her own words.
By Kelsey Sullivan
We decided at the end of October that it was time to make an office move due to a lack of space. We had about 15 employees at the time, some of whom were remote, but our office still felt too small for a very fast-paced team who spend a lot of time on the phone (can you say: zero privacy?). Over the next few months, while searching for the new space and then renovating it, we raised our Series A and grew even more, eventually reaching about 30 people working out of a tiny converted apartment in Central Square, Cambridge.
More than just “space”
Our initial criteria was that one crucial thing — more space. As I began searching with our Creative Director, Julia, we learned that we needed to clarify what exactly “more space” meant for our team’s needs. We ended up prioritizing a big open area as the main workspace, with breakout rooms to accommodate people on the phone. We needed a real kitchen (unlike the glorified hallway we called a kitchen in our old space) and a big comfy area for team meetings. We needed a space within our budget… and we needed all of this somewhere on the Red Line of the MBTA.
We saw what felt like an endless number of spaces. At one point, we had our hearts set on Fanueil Hall, so we checked out a lot of offices in that area. In each space, there was a major sticking point that we couldn’t get past. For example, one had perfect price, perfect location, perfect layout… but it was incredibly dark, with small windows far up on the wall and little in the way of natural light. There was no way we could get past that. We also saw a few spaces that might have worked, but required too much work for our tight timeframe. Also, in a lot of the older buildings, the landlords are not as quick to want to help pay for renovations.
Use your imagination!
That’s why we ended up with the space that we have. As soon as we walked in, we fell in love with the view and the neighborhood. It’s unbelievable to look out the windows and see the Common and the State House’s golden dome. We also really liked that it’s a constantly bustling and busy place with people coming and going, since we’re located directly across from the Park Street T stop. However, the office itself was in total shambles. There were walls and partitions up everywhere with a horrible tile floor and unattractive dropped ceilings. It took a great deal of imagination and planning, but we came up with a plan to take the outdated space and make it our own. The work was totally worth it in the end.
Walking the tightrope of price
Price was another tricky aspect of our search. We had to be conscious of the fact that we’re still a startup, while also maximizing the budget for the best possible space and location we could get. One of the major deciding factors on the cost was that the building owner and landlord were willing to pay for a lot of work that was going to go in to improve the space to get it up to our standards. This benefits them, because in the future, the property will be able to attract better clients, and of course, it benefits us because we get a gorgeous, newly renovated office that’s tailored to our needs, but we don’t have to spend a ridiculous amount of money to get it. This proved to be a much easier option for us than finding an existing space that fit all of our needs. That space just didn’t exist for us in downtown Boston.
Stay tuned for Part 2, in which Kelsey reveals the surprises we came across in our search, who we worked with to make it all possible, and the hardest and most fun parts of the process. Plus, see more Before and After pics of our new digs!