Reimagining Boca Raton
On May 2, 2018, Sajid Islam interviewed Nichole Thomson and below is the summary of the conversation.
The Flamingo House is a coworking space founded by two women, Nichole Thomson and her partner, Amber. The two have a marketing and branding background. They used their experience in telecommuting and freelancing to start their coworking space. Without a traditional coworking space in their area, Nichole and Amber started one themselves in their hometown Boca Raton, Florida. Despite Boca Raton’s as being a vacation place for grandparents, there are a lot of small businesses with young and innovative talent. Many businesses have been relocating and starting in Palm Beach County, particularly in the creative and tech industries. This has redefined the area by bringing in art, culture, and community.
Nichole wanted to be on the industrial side of the pink city. The Flamingo House gives small, independent businesses the platform to showcase what they do. The 3,000 square foot space, furnished with locally sourced work, prides itself on being a place everyone feels is their own. The warehouse bay is outfitted with shared desk space, private offices, an alley space in the back, a studio, and a conference room — all completely customizable. Additionally, the slogan “flock then fly” illustrates Nichole’s belief of collaboration, not competition. The Flamingo House tries to be the anti-corporate by focusing on creativity and innovation.
Journey to Creativity
The success of their business did not come without obstacles. Their first challenge was the education component of their business. In order to attract people, they had to inform the public as to what coworking is. So much of their resources went towards helping others understand how they could benefit from utilizing The Flamingo House. Another challenge they faced was learning what people wanted and that what they assumed at the beginning did not necessarily hold true. They found they had to adapt to satisfy the wants of others. For example, they had not anticipated that private offices would be in highest demand and so had to add more to secure their hold on potential prospects. The two also learned that having a positive relationship with the landlord is essential to keep everything running smoothly.
However, Nichole and Amber’s marketing background proved to be an important asset in the face of their biggest challenges. With their new coworking space, Nichole and her partner had to figure out a way to get word about it out. Social media, especially Instagram, their online website, and simply word of mouth were their three greatest contributors. The Flamingo House has over a thousand followers on instagram in addition to their referral programs and positive Yelp reviews. The Flamingo House also garnered much success on International Women’s Day as it was founded by two women. In addition to that and their group lectures, workshops, and member spotlights, The Flamingo House uses two main events to attract people to their coworking space.
Accessing the Community
Creative Mornings is a morning lecture series for the creative community. Nichole started the application to bring a chapter to their area and thus the Palm Beach chapter began. Being volunteer-based, Nichole was tasked with the speaker selection for the chapter. Another ploy The Flamingo House uses to showcase their space and give small businesses the opportunity to market to the greater community is, “Art in the Alley.” In this local festival a mix of senior citizens and young children come together to enjoy the innovative creations that the community has to offer.
Watch the full interview here.