A new co-working space is coming to downtown Austin. This one is different from what you may be used to, though. It isn’t a hub for tech entrepreneurs or Internet startups. The Refinery, which will officially open its doors in fall 2017, is a co-working space and studio for Austin’s artists and other creatives.
Introducing The Refinery
I sat down to discuss what drove Hayley Swindell, a serial entrepreneur and creative herself, to create such a different type of co-working studio.
“The Refinery grew out of what I needed for my previous subscription box company,” Swindell explained. “It was growing, but I wound up not having a lot of the resources I needed to showcase my products. I didn’t have the right lighting for my photos, and I didn’t have any gear or props. I had to use the same plant in every product’s photo. Running this company out of my apartment wasn’t going to work, but there weren’t many options at the time.” -Hayley Swindell, Founder
Her frustration is felt by many others in Austin. Our city is famous for its bubbling creativity, but there aren’t many options for people who want to go pro with their creative talents. Unlike the industry that has grown around Austin’s tech explosion, there isn’t much in the way of resources or serious creative networking in the heart of the city.
–>Keep reading: “6 Co-working Spaces in Austin for Creatives and Entrepreneurs”
Creating Space for Creatives
Rather than sit idly by and complain, Hayley Swindell decided to fix the problem. She created a co-working place to serve creatives who need a place to come together to help build each other’s businesses.
The Refinery will be housed within two stories at 612 Brazos St., directly in downtown Austin. The first floor will be a dedicated co-working space with a photography studio and other resources for workers. It will also provide the usual amenities like Wi-Fi, printing, and a kitchen.
Members of The Refinery will be able to set up shop at the co-working space. The first floor will include a retail station where members can store and sell their products directly to the public. This will also provide a chance for members to experiment with the display of their products on store shelves.
The second floor of The Refinery will be reserved for private studios. While the layout of the first floor will include scattered desks where members can come and go, the upstairs area will be for small companies and groups who need more privacy.
Never forgetting the struggles that inspired the company, Swindell has decided to make The Refinery’s unique photography studio available to the public. It will be 200-square-feet, with floor-to-ceiling windows that allow natural light to stream into the room.
I am excited to see an underserved portion of Austin’s entrepreneurs gaining access to the benefits of co-working downtown. The Refinery will be a much-needed addition to our city’s culture, bringing affordable workspace and resources to Austin’s artists and creatives. If we plan on continuing Austin’s tradition of supporting creatives, then it’s necessary to make space for them to thrive. Hayley Swindell is doing just that.
If you would like to get a better idea of what The Refinery will offer when it opens later this year, then check out their Cheeky Sneak Peak on June 28.
@DustyVegas wants to know:
What is your favorite co-working place in Austin? Why?