The coworking revolution has officially extended beyond the professional services sector, with a new flexible workspace for hairdressers in Brisbane shaping up as the perfect fit for life post-pandemic.
The aptly named Freedom Suites are designed specifically for the hair and beauty industries with standalone salon spaces grouped together in one location.
Pre-coronavirus crisis, the set-up was perhaps the evolution of coworking, but now it seems to have also future-proofed small business leasing given each tenant has their own secure, and social distanced, workspace.
Colliers International Retail Leasing Manager Harry Dever negotiated the Freedom Suites leasing deal at 392 Logan Road in Stones Corner about a year ago and believes the concept could be replicated in other industries looking for more flexible tenancy arrangements.
“I think this could be converted into the healthcare industry quite easily,” Mr Dever said.
“Whether it be doctors, specialists or allied health practitioners, they are always looking for flexible workspaces or private consulting rooms outside of the hospital.”
Mr Dever said the model was the first of its kind in Australia but was very popular in the US and Europe.
He said small businesses seeking to reduce overheads in the coming months might seek out alternative options for tenancies.
“I think a lot of smaller businesses that have been around for 20-plus years do not want the stress of having to open 9am to 5pm and look after all the overheads,” Mr Dever said.
“They will look to consolidate and look for a cheaper option with more flexible space that will allow them to work in with their existing client base.”
During the past few months, many of us have been reflecting on our personal and professional lives with plenty of changes probably afoot.
For hairdresser Riley Buchanan, the downtime provided the motivation for him to branch out on his own after two decades’ experience in the industry.
“The pandemic made me question what I really wanted moving forward within my career and what I wanted my future to look like,” he said.
“I had a lightbulb moment that I needed to change. I’ve been hairdressing 20 years and haven’t owned my own salon space before.”
So, while most people were worried about keeping their businesses afloat, Mr Buchanan set about opening up his own salon in Freedom Suites’ Stones Corner premises.
He said the lower start-up costs, including a ready-made salon, made it a cost-effective way to launch his small business.
However, he said, having other people in the same industry nearby was also a selling point.
“Having other like-minded creatives around you to bounce ideas off, or just to chat with, helps keep me inspired,” Mr Buchanan said.
“Not being in competition for sales and clients, because you are running your own show, I think makes us all genuinely get along and creates a larger sense of community.”