If you find yourself thinking about unearthing your long-forgotten passion projects, getting that big idea you’ve been rolling around in the back of your mind going, or taking on a new adventure after chatting with people here, you won’t be the first one.
Ask anyone who’s spent time here: the Vibe community is that it is chock full of a wealth of people who carry an infectious air of encouragement, creative energy, and zest for life.
Take, for example, Michelle Nelson.
A newly-minted entrepreneur, and a Senior Program Manager at IMDb with a long history of working on film-industry award and festival campaigns, Michelle Nelson joined Vibe in 2019 in search of a quiet place to work on her writing projects. Thanks to company remote work policies changing since COVID, she’s since taken up a private office, and made Vibe her permanent place of work for her day job, too.
Tell us a little bit about yourself. What’s your story?
Michelle: I’m a wife, mother, artist, music lover. A cinephile. I grew up in Florissant, a boring suburb in St. Louis, the middle kid in a family of five kids.
Over the course of my life, I have lived in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Chicago, before making my way to Seattle.
July marks 14 years since I moved here to work at IMDb. July will also be six years since I moved to Poulsbo with my husband Kraig and my six-year-old daughter Ophelia, and our dog Dennis. Though I love it here, I dream of owning a farm in the South of France.
You recently launched a business called Ographika, together with your family. Can you share a little bit about what it is and how it came to be?
Michelle: Ographika is still very much a new business venture. Although I have full-time job, I have been wanting my own side hustle for a long time and have been toying with a few ideas.
My daughter Ophelia is in kindergarten and as she’s learned to read and write in the last year, she has taken this graffiti style approach to her artwork. She has an easel and also paints letters and little pictures. One in particular, a large painting of her name she had like 5 lines on the E and double letters.
At first, it was instinct to correct her, then I just realized how cool her perspective was. I created a t-shirt of it for everyone in the family to encourage her to do more. When she created this mixed media polar bear with painting and glued on ears, we made it into a shirt for her birthday. Suddenly people started asking us where we got the shirts and were all surprised by the answer.
My husband had a friend who worked at a store and said she thought she could sell them. One thing led to another and it all just clicked and now we’re on this new adventure. We just recently launched, so we have a long way to go. But it’s now out for the world to see at www.ographika.com.
You recently took up a new position at IMDB. What’s the role like and what excites you most about the change?
Michelle: I recently switched teams from producing videos for social media, to being a Senior Program Manager. I wasn’t looking to change, but I kind of stumbled upon the role in a meeting.
It was a hard decision, but it felt like a good opportunity to help restructure our content strategy for our Events program. I also will be managing the content strategy for Heritage Months, which is exciting.
Earlier in my career, I used to work on awards and festival campaigns, so it’s exciting to revisit from a new perspective. But the thing that excites me most is that it allows me to have a better work-life balance and time for my own creative projects, like Ographika and my personal writing projects.
How did you find Vibe Coworks? What drew you in initially, and what made you want to stay?
Michelle: I originally joined Vibe as a part time member for the purpose of writing on the weekends.
I was working on a few writing projects at the time, and was mostly going to coffee shops and a few wine bars on slow nights, but there were always distractions or random seating and I wanted something more consistent.
I decided to invest in a membership so I could come in evenings or weekends. At the time, I was commuting to Seattle for work. When everything shut down, I started coming to Vibe which was minutes from my house.
While everyone else’s productivity went down, mine went through the roof because I had a secure and safe place to work. When an office opened up, I jumped at the chance.
Luckily my company is now allowing everyone to choose whether or not to go back. I couldn’t ask for a better work environment and I love, love, LOVE my office [at Vibe].
“When everything shut down, I started coming to Vibe, which was minutes from my house. While everyone else’s productivity went down, mine went through the roof because I had a secure and safe place to work… I couldn’t ask for a better work environment and I love love LOVE my office [at Vibe]. ”Michelle
Were you familiar with coworking before coming to Vibe? Did working at Vibe Coworks change any of your initial assumptions about what coworking would be like, or how you approach work in general?
Michelle: I never really thought much about coworking. I thought it was interesting, but since I worked in an office, that was really all I knew.
The biggest draw was the 24/7 access and the quiet room. I get distracted easily when writing so it really helped me to have a reliable place to create.
The thing that really changed my perspective on coworking was seeing how many people were doing their own thing.
There are so many entrepreneurs, and different types of businesses, freelancers, and corporations here. I love the rotating art on the walls. The conferences. Being surrounded by so many ambitious people is incredibly inspiring.
Working here made me believe I could actually start my own business, when before it seemed out of reach.
“The thing that really changed my perspective on coworking was seeing how many people were doing their own thing…
Working here made me believe I could actually start my own business when before it seemed out of reach.”Michelle
How do you keep your well of inspiration and creativity full so that you’re able to continue pouring all that energy into your work each day?
Michelle: Honestly, I really just love stories. In movies, TV, fiction, documentaries. Personal stories. I am always listening to music. I’m inspired by art and by those who passionately pursue it.
At my core, I am a creator and it’s what fuels me.
What inspires you to continue trying new things?
Michelle: Growing up, I feel like I had very limited choices. So many things I was told I couldn’t do. There were paths I didn’t take because they just seemed completely out of reach. But I have always been very inquisitive and was always trying to figure out the “why…” and “then what happened?”
I believe in creating your own destiny. And if you don’t like an aspect of your life, change it.
Believing you can is the hardest part.
“I believe in creating your own destiny. And if you don’t like an aspect of your life, change it. Believing you can is the hardest part.”Michelle