Co-working Barcelona – Renzo is an Amsterdammer living in Barcelona. His lovely wife, Deborah, is from Andorra. Both have decided to start a business in the city of “patatas bravas” and are now owners of the well known co-working space “Depot Lab”. We have met them. Adorable.
Hey Renzo! What’s up? So explain us how an Amsterdammer ended up in Barcelona?
I have made a tour from Amsterdam to Andorra to Barcelona. I live with my wife, Deborah, in Barcelona. We first started a concept store here. And in April 2016, we changed this concept to become a co-working. We are quite busy with that at the moment!
So you had a first business before Depot Lab! Why did you change? Was is not working?
The meaning of the concept store was to promote and sell Dutch designs and products in a different way. The idea was doing this in a setting like a concept store in Amsterdam, Berlin or London. We had a lot of people coming to our concept store, but a lot of people didn’t understand the properly concept.
Why that? The idea is pretty cool though?
Well, people here still are more used to go to a store to buy a specific product like shoes. And that’s it. They are not used to stores that offer different lifestyle products like shoes, bags, jeans and also bikes, vintage lamps or carpets. So first, we needed to make people understand the concept before we could sell products. Moreover, our concept store was not only store but also a coffee bar, exhibition space and a little part of co-working. For business reasons we needed to change.
But in another way, co-workings are booming in Barcelona, and it seems that you made the right choice dude!
Exactly! That was the reason we chose to change. We were very happy of the local. It was relatively easy to change it into a co-working space. We have 600m2, so it’s the perfect size. After two months, the concept store became a co-working space. Magic!
Wow, only two months, quite impressive! I’ve heard a fun fact about this local. But I don’t remember it..
Haha, well it has been a service point for Philips during 30 years (which is Dutch). Then it was a coffee shop with a Dutch owner. And now, it’s a co-working, owned by a Dutch!
So tell me a bit, how is it to work with your wife?
Shall we do a real answer…? Haha (Deborah was in front of him). Seriously, I’m blessed to work with her because actually, she is managing so well the co-working. You know, working with a business partner is the same as having a relation. And there are always things, differences or opinions you will have a fight for. But love is always winning 😉
You are from Amsterdam and Deborah form Andorra. Is this cultural melting pot the magic recipe of the success of Depot Lab?
I really think so. I am more the “strict men” for the ideas, and Deborah is the emotional way of doing business. And that makes the coherency of this co-working space. Plus, she understands the culture here and how to deal with it. This is huge.
I’ve heard that Deborah is like a mum for every co-worker here (and there is a lot).
I know she doesn’t want to be called the mother of the co-working (Deborah is staring at me. I’m scared). But I need to say that sometimes we really feel like being the mother and father of the co-working. Of course it’s our business, but we realize that your work is a place where your are at least 8H a day, maybe 50H a week. So it has to be nice – to stay focused, be more productive, and feel good. We want it to be the second home for people, you know, feel relaxed and smell the coffee when you arrive in the morning.
Do you organize some events for your co-workers?
Yes! We have different kinds of events. First of all: all business related events, or people who want to share their knowledge (for instance speaking about digital marketing, or about buying properties in Barcelona, paying less taxes and so on).
Next to that we organize a lot of social events. For example, we have a collaboration with COCOOKING, a startup from Barcelona that organizes lunches cooked by and for co-workers. This is also nice to build our community and let people know each other better.
As a truly co-working, you have a table football, couches, darts… I see a DJ booth as well!
Haha we try to give something to the co-workers to relax. We use to have a ping pong table but we were growing so fast that we needed space… Now the ping-pong table is used as a working table 😉
We also have a coffee corner, which is the social-point during the day. This is where co-workers go to lunch, to have a coffee or a tea. The area where everybody meets each other.
Concerning the DJ booth, well, I am a DJ. I used to play back in Amsterdam and I had my radio show. At the moment I’m trying to get a foothold here and to play in some clubs.
We wish you good luck! Are there many nationalities working here? For what kind of companies are they working?
As a matter of fact, I think that our co-working doesn’t have that many local people from Barcelona or even Spain. We have about 20-25 different nationalities working here.That goes from France to Pakistan, Chile, Italy, Latvia, Scandinavia,Argentina… It is also the interesting part of Depot Lab: because of all these nationalities, you also see how people from different cultures work in different ways, but they all work for the same goal: make their business a success!
Regarding the kind of companies, we have established companies, startups, and a lot of freelancers and “autonomos” who come to work in the coffee corner.
One last advice for an entrepreneur?
We were super lucky with the local that we could be so flexible. Imagine, we had an empty 600m2 local. But we took the opportunity to change our business. Being flexible is something an entrepreneur needs to be.
There is this German word, ”rücksichtslos”. It means that you have to make a decision following one objective. Concept store not working, it’s sad. But if we don’t change, we are dead. Sometimes you need to make a hard decision. But aside of that I would advice to always follow your heart on everything.
Thanks Renzo, and Deborah
Thanks Hilaire and Pick & Pow!
Interested to rent a table in Depot Lab?
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