For Ian Delmonte, Partner and Creative Director at The Creative Industry, the 23 years since he started his business have been fueled by a passion for finding strategic design solutions to meet client goals and help address their challenges.
And as his business scaled, he found himself in need of a professional workspace for himself and his team.
But it consistently proved more challenging than he’d hoped.
Building a Creative House from the Ground Up
Being a business owner was always in the cards for Ian.
“I decided early on in life that I wanted to work for myself,” Ian explains. “I started the business back in 1997 and I essentially just hit the streets with my wares. I had a portfolio that I shared with people just letting them know who I am and what I do.”
What began as a one-man operation eventually grew into a fully-fledged creative house.
“We provide our clients with a plethora of design services,” explains Ian. “That includes everything from logos to direct mail, annual reports, web design and development, and SEO services.”
He continues, “At the core of everything we do is our mission to find strategic design solutions for organizations looking to connect more effectively with their clients.”
As his business grew, Ian knew it was time to find an office where he could operate The Creative Industry.
But it was never as easy as he’d hoped it would be.
“After about ten years, we decided to lease some space in downtown Washington, DC,” says Ian. “And from that point on, we’ve been in a ton of office spaces.”
Despite looking into a number of different workspaces over the past decade, he kept bumping into some consistent problems.
Lack of Flexibility
As a growing business, Ian had a hard time with the idea of being locked into long, expensive office leases.
“The problem I was having was getting locked into very long-term commitments,” Ian explains. “We were looking at three years if we were lucky, spending upwards of $30,000 a year for an office for myself and occasionally up to three or four others.”
He continues, “This didn’t suit me well because I learned early on that being nimble was really important to me. So, signing a five-year lease and committing to that felt more constrained than I was comfortable with.”
Unable to Find a Professional Community
Another thing Ian found challenging was the fact that none of the workspaces he looked into ever really offered a true professional community.
“I eventually took a space with one of the large multinational coworking spaces,” says Ian. “It did offer a lot of things I was looking for but it just didn’t quite do it for me. I ended up not enjoying it as much as I thought I would.”
He elaborates, “The idea of communal space is interesting but I didn’t see that there. I couldn’t see me just walking up to people and introducing myself, which is what you’d expect from a coworking space. And by that time, community events weren’t happening and I didn’t get a lot of value out of being there.”
Missing Culture Fit
The reason Ian never felt entirely comfortable with the professional communities at previous workspaces ultimately boiled down to a lack of culture fit for him.
“I was never able to form any sort of connections with people who worked there,” he admits. “Just because you see a stock photo on the website of somebody sitting on a couch with their shoes off working and eating quinoa chips doesn’t mean it actually translates into reality.”
He adds, “I almost got this sense of having to be really cool to work in a place like that and, in a way, it felt like many people weren’t even really getting work done. Breakout rooms were never available. The experience just didn’t live up to the image.”
Finding the Right Space at Launch Workplaces
After a few let-downs with finding office space, Ian reached out to Launch Workplaces.
“I reconnected with the building manager at Launch and she got me in for a tour,” explains Ian. “I looked at some spaces and luckily, one of the all-glass corner units I’d be been dreaming after was available.”
He continues, “I definitely found that the people in the building were really interested. They wanted to know who I was and what I did. It was a very lucky find. I felt a genuine curiosity from people and a more friendly vibe because the community was a little bit tighter, a bit smaller, and a bit closer.”
Now, Ian finally feels like he’s found a home for his business.
“Launch is a coworking space but it feels a bit more permanent to me,” he says. “There’s a good balance of demographics, with a good mix of professionalism fused with that creative energy you get from the uniqueness of the space mixed with people doing some really cool things. And there are real opportunities to connect with people. It’s such a wonderful place.”
The support he receives from Launch Workplaces is also a big benefit for Ian.
“This isn’t just a company I’m paying rent to,” he says. “I’m getting some great support services. I have the flexibility to add new coworking desks as I need to. I’ve even used some of the resources I’ve received from the weekly emails Launch distributes, such as information on grants and things like that.”
Looking Ahead at the Future for The Creative Industry
Despite current challenges caused by the pandemic, Ian’s got some big plans for the future of The Creative Industry.
He shares, “I want to find new ways to help people. I’m looking into new projects and new industries. I’m bringing in new creative freelancers. We’re finding new ways to create innovative solutions for our clients. And as we get back to business as usual, I want to start transitioning my freelancers into full-time employees. These talented people will be able to help us offer top-notch results for clients across a plethora of industries — including politics.”
If you’d like to learn about how The Creative Industry can help you build better connections with your customers, get in touch with Ian for a consultation today.
And if you’d like to learn about our flexible office services or to book a tour of one of our Launch Workplaces locations, contact us today. Our team is here to help and answer any questions you might have.