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Meet Kirby Israelson of LAX Coworking in Westchester

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kirby Israelson.

Kirby, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
With over 900 startups in our very own backyard, the rise of Silicon Beach, and a changing demographic of business leaders, organizations such as the traditional Chamber of Commerce need to reinvent themselves in order to better help the new business community. The days of the traditional brick and mortar business are fleeting; today’s professional is mobile, willing to work anywhere rather than limit themselves to a single office space with a signed contract.

When faced with this challenge, the LAX Coastal Chamber chose to pioneer the next phase of business in order to create new opportunities to attract, engage, and assist the new business leader. Enter LAX Coworking.

Officially opening our doors to the startup, freelance, work-at-home, and solo-preneur communities in January 2015, LAX Coworking is excited to share their space, community, resources, and connections with our LAX Coworkers. We are a family of dreamers and doers, working together (and separately) to accomplish our goals, and will do whatever we can to help elevate your business.

As one happy LAX Coworker said, “I have discovered that LAX Coworking will actually repair damage to your soul.”

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Opening a coworking space in Los Angeles, especially a coworking space connected to a nonprofit Chamber of Commerce, has been an eye-opening experience with lots of ups and downs.

When we first opened our doors, coworking was on the rise but still highly localized, with most coworking spaces located in Santa Monica and Downtown Los Angeles. We knew there would be demand an our area, with the tech-hub of Playa Vista down the street and the LAX Airport literally two blocks away, so we began LAX Coworking as a neighborhood resource. Now, only 3 years later, coworking spaces are almost as prolific as Starbucks, with each space boasting its own perks and benefits to attract clientele.

As one of the smallest coworking spaces in the area, one that is literally housed inside of the LAX Coastal Chamber of Commerce offices, it has been a difficult journey for us to compete with the “hip and cool” spaces like WeWork (who are actually a Chamber member!) and CTRL Collective, but we have done our best to advertise to what we call the “unpretentious coworker.” Our members aren’t looking for the bells and whistles or happy hours or beer on tap, they’re just looking for a desk to work and a cup of hot coffee with great people (at a cheap price!), and LAX Coworking delivers.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the LAX Coworking story. Tell us more about the business.
At LAX Coworking, we are proud to offer an unpretentious coworking experience for our LAX Coastal freelance and startup economy. As a program of a nonprofit, our aim is to provide resources to grow local business and enhance the skills of our professionals at an affordable price. We are able to do this because, as a Chamber of Commerce, we have a variety of members who both use and sponsor our coworking space to help offset cost. We are proud to have amazing community partners who all work together to help our area thrive. Without their help, we would not have been able to build the internal LAX Coworking community we have today, full of ambitious professionals and great friends.

Also, as a Chamber of Commerce we have a variety of resources not seen in your typical space. Each LAX Coworker receives an honorary Chamber membership, opening the doors to networking opportunities, professional relationships, educational workshops, promotional outlets, community projects, philanthropic engagements, and more as they join our 500+ membership base. We have been a community partner in this region since 1953, and thrive on sharing our experience with new companies and professionals.

To make it even better, we recently launched our “Coworking Space with a Heart” program, enabling us to offer free or discounted services to local nonprofits as a reward for doing great things within Los Angeles and beyond. Humanity is in this together, and we are striving to do our part to recognize those working to make our planet a better place.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
It’s hard to gauge exactly how luck has had a part in the life of LAX Coworking, because we haven’t seen anything extremely lucky or unlucky happen to our business (which is perhaps where the luck comes in?).

The role of today’s working professional ebbs and flows perhaps more dramatically than it has in the past, thanks to rises in technology and new career opportunities, which interferes with their demand for the coworking lifestyle on an almost daily basis. I’m not sure if its luck, timing, or just the daily cost of doing business that has brought our numbers up and down throughout our years of business, but we probably do have some amount of good luck seeing as how we have never once hit our desired membership numbers (our dream was to have 25 coworkers signed up) and yet are still able to pay the bills!

Pricing:

  • Enjoy a day pass for only $20/day
  • Enjoy a full-time membership for only $159/mo
  • Enjoy room rentals from groups 2 to 35 starting as low as $30/hr

Contact Info:


Image Credit:

Angela Clouse. Kirby Israelson. Venice Paparazzi.

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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