When I opened my business seven years ago, I named it Creative Coworking. The clients I had in mind were the creatives of the publishing industry—writers, editors, graphic designers, web designers, and illustrators—because that was the industry in which I was working. But members of my spaces are people from industries I didn’t even know existed. And, ultimately, I find that the name Creative applies to an attitude and an atmosphere more than one job or another. We are all creative. Some of us just lose sight of that in our day-to-day lives. I want to inspire people to tap back into that creativity and freedom and create together in a chosen community.

I make very conscious choices in my spaces about everything from paint colors to bungee cord chairs with just the right balance of bounce and support. I have friendly staff and free-flowing coffee (from local entrepreneurs who believe in giving back). The workspace is divided into quiet zones and collaboration zones; with reading nooks and comfy chairs throughout. Most of all, my spaces are a thing of beauty. At Creative Coworking in Evanston, you work in an art gallery. At Creative Coworking in Edgewater, you spend your workday in a historic mansion overlooking Lake Michigan. Being surrounded by beauty enables us to be our best selves. What we are doing isn’t just work. Entrepreneurs spend their days pursuing dreams.

Another layer of my business is our events series. For seven years, I’ve had an open house Art & Wine Night at our Evanston location to highlight the 50 local artists displaying their work in our space. For almost four years, I’ve had a monthly networking group for women in business, which in 2018 became a partnership with Women Belong as Seeds for Growth. In February, I launched a signature bimonthly event at the Colvin House location in Edgewater, in partnership with WB member Laura Reitsma of Fierce Productions. Laura curates talented performers to inspire and delight our guests in our Parlor as they sip cocktails and nibble on delicious appetizers and desserts sponsored by other local businesses.

I believe strongly in creating beautiful spaces that fill you with a positive energy when you enter them. I believe in creating an atmosphere in which you can choose freely whether to keep to yourself and focus on a task, or get to know someone new—maybe someone who happens to be refilling their coffee cup or wine glass on the same schedule as you. Let’s get creative together and dream big.

All Women Belong members get one free workday with us! Please schedule a visit: support@creativecoworking.com.

~ Angela Valavanis, founder of Creative Coworking and owner of the historic Colvin House

Content provided by Women Belong member Angela Valavanis