Camaraderie Coworking expands with retail store and production space


by Rachel Young

TORONTO – Owning a store to sell handmade goods is expensive. Owning an office to run a business is expensive. Combining the two makes it affordable.

Camaraderie Coworking expanded its Toronto location to include an artisan market on the ground floor to welcome members of a new kind, where local artisans share retail space as a membership model. It opened August 4, 2015 with 23 artisan members, breaking the mold for how coworking spaces can include a very different kind of member than laptop nomads.

“On the second and third floor of the building is what has become known as a traditional coworking space with desks, coffee, wifi, and an incredible range of engaged members working on laptops. With the addition of the ground floor and basement, artisans have been welcomed into the fold,” said Rachel Young, Owner of Camaraderie Coworking Inc. “Artisans have access to the basement for production space and product shoots plus the ground floor for retail space, and their membership includes a Lite membership to do the administration of their business on the coworking floors. It’s an all inclusive, collaborative membership for small-scale manufacturers and artisans.”

The founding artisans can have access to the entire building, and can enjoy the benefit in a diverse space.

“Having a retail and workplace at a shared cost resolves what can be challenging for young companies in acquiring viable retail and manufacturing space. The added benefit of access to the knowledge and experience within a community setting, especially in regards to company infrastructure and marketing, is absolutely invaluable,” said Michelle Rosetta, Owner of BEE23 Natural Beauty, a line of organic beauty products.

Jenny Carpio, Owner of Vintage 30, refinishes vintage furniture and is a member of Camaraderie Coworking. “To have a space shared by other artists where clients can see, feel, touch is vital to success. It benefits both the clients and the creators to be able to hold, examine and ultimately fall in love with what we humbly offer,” she said.

The retail market features mostly local artisans, artists, and makers, with the emphasis on  “shop local” and  “made in Canada” verticals, but will also have the occasional guest member with strong ties to ethically traded artist collectives from other regions as a philanthropic addition to the retail store. The range of current products from member artisans include clocks made from bicycle parts, dresses, pillowcases printed with TTC subway station names, bookmarks, bunnies made from recycled sweaters, pacifier clips, coffee and tea, scarves, refurbished vintage furniture, greeting cards, and framed paintings and photographs.

Membership is $200+HST/mo, and includes retail space in the market, Lite membership on the coworking floor, production space in the basement, business mailing address, ability to apply for the COHIP group health benefits plan, and more. Artisan members retain 100% of the revenue from their goods sold in the market; Camaraderie does not take a commission from members.

Founding artisans include:

Camaraderie Artisan Market is located at 2241 Dundas St. W., in Toronto. Check them out via their website, email, and on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest.