Interview: Inside SHOWFIELDS' Coworking Space That Merges Retail With Community
As SHOWFIELDS continues to flesh out its next-gen, discovery-led department store, PSFK speaks to the CEO about its just-opened free coworking space and why community is essential to retail today
While coworking spaces like WeWork are increasingly expanding their retail services, partnering with everything from food & beverage to apparel brands to make their spaces more useful to customers, pure-play retailers are also merging work with shopping. SHOWFIELDS is the latest to do so, launching today its 40-person space complete with roofdeck terrace to complement its flexible, experience-led retail space that helps popular online-only brands go physical.
Perhaps one of the more unusual aspects of this coworking space in particular is that it is free of charge—asking only that those interested subscribe to SHOWFIELDS' newsletter. PSFK spoke to CEO and co-founder Tal Nathanel to find out more about how the service space adds value to its business model, as well as how it helps generate what he explains is an increasingly crucial element of brick and mortar retail: community.
What trends have you noticed lately with the ways retail is embracing value-added services?
When people say “Retail As A Service” they tend to focus on the ability for brands to have fixability around space only. What SHOWFIELDS is trying to do for brands is give them a platform to that next phase of commerce: consumer commerce or C-commerce. There are five principles of consumer commerce, one being convenience. I believe that RAAS falls into the convenience principle and is just one part of the future of retail.
What inspired or motivated you to add the coworking space to the SHOWFIELDS experience? How does this particular type of service complement the business and drive engagement?
One of the most important principles of C-commerce is community. This concept invites retailers to ask themselves what the space could look like if it was built around the needs of their community. At SHOWFIELDS, that's exactly what we did. Our community is made of creators and one of their needs is space that serves as a place to work while they build the brands of tomorrow. This is not an office. This is a place to stay, meet, chill and get inspired by people like you.
Tell us about the space! What will it offer guests?
The SHOWFIELDS coworking space can fit up to 40 people and is open weekly Monday through Thursday. The space features free WiFi, plenty of seating and even a roofdeck terrace if you prefer sending emails in the sunshine! The space is staffed by a SHOWFIELDS brand rep daily. To join us at The Loft, staff will first confirm you are a FRIEND of SHOWFIELDS by having signed up to our mailing list which you can do here.
One unique component of your coworking space is that it's free of charge—interested parties need only sign up for your newsletter. What drove this choice for form of ‘payment,' and how do you enable it?
SHOWFIELDS is building a community, and with that, we want to increase our FRIENDS of SHOWFIELDS. These customers are the first to learn about new brands, events and exciting announcements. With our rotating programming and events calendar, there is always something new to see each time you walk through our doors. Our free coworking space gives our community a chance to show up and work while discovering the many surprises throughout SHOWFIELDS each day. In order to gain access to our coworking space, visitors can head up to our 4th floor and check in with a brand host via our sign in page.
Who is your target audience for the space?
SHOWFIELDS is a destination to discover new brands, products, events and more. While the 4th floor will host a coworking space for several hours of the day, we encourage our guests to explore and discover all 4 floors of SHOWFIELDS. Our target audience for this space are those that want to work amongst a community of people like themselves. Our audience is curious about the future of retail and the brands of tomorrow, and they want to be a part of the experience.
What's in store next for SHOWFIELDS—any other projects you can share?
Enhancing all five c’s of consumer commerce. We have big plans for SHOWFIELDS moving forward and are excited to continue building our community.
Lead image: Eitan Gamlieli/Courtesy SHOWFIELDS