Ever heard someone say that the people here at Vibe are the coworkers they’ve always wanted? It’s true!
Consider this: people come to work at Vibe Coworks because they want to, not because they have to. And since everyone is working independently on their own things, there’s none of the micromanaging, and none of the office politics.
Even with all that going for us, great days don’t just happen—they’re made. Here at Vibe, our Host Team has a remarkable impact on our members’ days, whether they’re here at Vibe in person, or online.
If you’ve been around Vibe much over the course of the last 18 months, Vibist Allison Wachtel of Dot Grid Studio (and her AMAZING baked goods!) is someone you’ve surely come to know.
When she and her partner got word that the Navy was moving them to sunny San Diego last August, we were reminded the power of the people connections here at Vibe transcends geographic lines, and continues to grow and thrive through members all across the country.
In addition to Washington state, active Vibe members are now living in California, Iowa, New York and Texas, all connected remotely through the Vibe Slack workspace and their Basic (virtual) memberships. Many—though certainly not all—of these members are military families that we are delighted to have as a part of our community.
As our virtual Vibe community continues to grow and evolve, Allison Wachtel has stepped up as our first-ever Virtual Vibe Host. Read on to learn more about Allison and her backstory, then hop on to the Vibe Slack workspace to stay connected, have some fun, and up your accountability game no matter where life’s got you working from.
Talk to us about Kitsap. How did you land in this corner of the world?
Allison: I moved to Kitsap in 2019 with my partner, who’s an active duty Navy doctor. We didn’t quite know what to expect because we’d both lived in bigger cities for most of our adult lives, but we fell in love almost instantly. We recently moved back to San Diego—again, the Navy—but we loved Kitsap so much that we’re actively plotting our return in a few years when we actually get to decide where we live…
Where did you grow up?
Allison: I was born and raised in a little suburb in Southern California just north of Malibu. My parents still live in the same house they bought before I was born, and I didn’t realize how lucky I was to have that stability until I started moving every 2ish years!
Tell us the story behind your company, Dot Grid Studio.
Allison: I was running communications at a DC-based education nonprofit for a number of years and kept hearing two main complaints from my colleagues who were looking for external creative and communications support:
- “Everything was SO expensive!” I’d experienced this myself when I had been seeking bids for a website redesign for my own organization and didn’t receive a single quote under $150K. I couldn’t imagine how anyone could think a nonprofit could afford that—and besides, didn’t they deserve great design and storytelling more than anyone?
- Since many consultants didn’t have a great deal of experience in education or nonprofit work, there was often a steep learning curve at the beginning of a project that ate up a lot of time and money. It felt like a waste, and it got me thinking: What if there was someone who had both the creative skills and all of the institutional knowledge they needed to hit the ground running on a project?
And thus, the tiny, scrappy Dot Grid Studio (named for my favorite notebook, which offers the exact balance of structure and creative freedom that my brain thrives on) was born, and I’ve never looked back. After almost five years in business, I’ve gotten to work with amazing clients across the country doing a dream job that I didn’t even know existed.
How has the pandemic shaped you—your work, your priorities, your relationships, your outlook…
Allison: It’s definitely made me appreciate the outdoors more. Nothing interrupts pandemic-induced claustrophobia like a hike or just a casual stroll, especially if you’re accompanied by a happy dog. It’s also made me deeply aware of how important it is to be plugged into a community. There’s so much less opportunity for chance social interactions that being a part of a trusted group of great people feels extra crucial to me.
You’d never worked from a coworking space before coming to Vibe. What was your first impression, and what was it like to be the newbie?
Allison: The amazing natural light was what hooked me, honestly. Just walking into the space made me feel happy and centered and energized.
Everyone was really nice to begin with, but I feel like I really got plugged in once I started joining conversations on Slack. It was a good way to make initial connections without worrying about interrupting someone’s work, and Slack chatter often turned into opportunities to connect face to face.
You’re diving into a brand new role as Vibe’s first-ever Virtual Host. What does that mean exactly, and what drove you to take on that role?
Allison: Speaking of Slack…that’s where you can find me these days! When we learned that we’d be moving away from Kitsap, I knew I wanted to find a way to remain a part of the Vibe community. And given Kitsap’s large Navy population and the ongoing challenges from COVID, it felt like a perfect opportunity to build out the online member experience.
That’s where my role as the Virtual Host comes in! I’m here to facilitate community among members on Slack—whether you come to Vibe in person or not—and make the virtual member experience as close as it can be to what you get when you walk into the building.
I may not be able to personally offer freshly brewed coffee and lightning-fast WiFi, but I will start conversations, make recommendations, introduce you to Vibists who I think you’ll click with personally or professionally, answer any questions you have about Vibe, and generally work to make you feel like you’ve always got a community cheering you on—no matter where you are.
Share with us: what’s a favorite memory / experience / story / person you’ve met since coming to Vibe?
Allison: Just about every First Friday happy hour is my favorite memory! I missed coworker happy hours more than I realized after leaving my last job, and it was so great to be able to connect with folks again outside of the work day. I also really loved impromptu conversations around the kitchen table. In addition to being nice breaks from work, I always feel really energized after a chat with a nice person (which all Vibists are).
You have a reputation for being a wildly talented (and generous!) baker. What is your favorite thing to make in the kitchen?
Allison: If I really had to choose a favorite, it would be making and decorating celebration cakes. They’re the perfect combination of baking and art, and the wow factor is hard to beat! But sourdough is a close second. It takes forever, but man is it gratifying to pull a gorgeous loaf of homemade bread out of the oven.
What’s one piece of advice that you’d give to someone who is considering trying coworking on for size?
First: Move around! Getting a fresh perspective within a space can be so helpful when you’re mentally stuck, and it’s something that’s pretty unique to coworking.
Second: Talk to people! Coworking can be so much more than wifi and meeting rooms. There’s an office full of people who you can—but are not obligated to—be friends with, which means you can basically curate your ideal workplace with only the cool people from the office. 🙂
Coworking can be so much more than wifi and meeting rooms. There’s an office full of people who you can—but are not obligated to—be friends with, which means you can basically curate your ideal workplace with only the cool people from the office