When I set out to build Worklife in 2019, I wanted to build a future where work was more flexible and anyone could start something.
A lot of my original thinking stemmed from working at a tech company that encouraged having a life outside of work, i.e.:
- Teaching an improv class
- Drawing cartoons for the New Yorker
- Opening a brewery
- Selling t-shirts out of a camper van
I find the companies with the best cultures are the ones that find ways for each employee to show up as their whole self at work.
That being said, a lot of people are frustrated at work. Last year alone, the Great Resignation saw 47.8 million people quit their jobs.
We’re tired of working long hours and missing out on important life moments. We’re ready to build something for ourselves and for our communities.
Over the last two years, I’ve been inspired by:
- a B2B salesperson turned TikTok famous cosmetics founder
- a self-taught developer turned retro Vacation tycoon carried in Kith
- a clinically burnt out tech worker turned cowboy boot-creating genius
This is the New American dream: self-taught, self-made, creative entrepreneurs who are leaving well-paying corporate jobs to do something more fun, creative, weird, inspiring… meaningful.
At Worklife, we have a chance to build environments for these innovators to thrive. As first money investors, we meet a single person (sometimes two or three, if we’re lucky) with an idea and spend every day for the next two or so years making strategic moves to turn that idea into a company and that company into a great place to work.
Now, we’re opening our own go-to spot for creators, innovators, and out-of-the-box thinkers.
I’m excited to announce Worklife Studios, our flagship space for hosting workshops, team off-sites, and unique retail experiences in collaboration with artists, chefs, designers, and all types of founders in our network. Not only traditional software founders that we invest in, but also Etsy store owners, vintage curators on Depop, Grailed, and Instagram, and just about anyone who wants to display their work and make money by doing what they love.
Keep reading for an FAQ.
Check out our new Worklife Studios Silver Lake site.
Q: What is Worklife Studios Silver Lake?
A: The vision for the space came long before Worklife when I was visiting the Arts District in LA years ago.
Retail has made an incredible comeback with stores like Dover Street Market, Kith, and Showfields, plus artists who design Instagrammable experiences for shoppers.
I’ve always wondered why the same can’t be true for software companies who historically struggle to build differentiated brands because they acquire customers through ads, onboard new users over Zoom, and every touchpoint always kind of lacks personality.
And while direct to consumer brands, influencers, and even web3 projects have done a great job building a brand and connecting people online, the pandemic has taught us that there’s nothing quite like meeting an internet friend IRL for the first time.
Worklife Studios is how we’re contributing to my theory that flexible working hours and remote set-ups will strengthen these in-person community ties.
Our vision for Worklife Studios is a friendly, approachable space where neighbors and rising stars (from tech to entertainment) can hang out. We’ve designed a space for bringing people together from all industries.
- If you’re thinking about starting something, we’ll host dinners, workshops, and bespoke events to get feedback on your idea for the next big thing.
- If you’re an individual with a brand, podcast, newsletter, or someone that likes bringing people together, come host your first IRL event in our space.
- If you’re working remotely or spending time in a new neighborhood, come meet like-minded folks through our laid back experiences.
We’ll also be selling cool local merch, stocking trendy influencer entrepreneur brands, and running a bunch of pop-ups you won’t want to miss.
You can sign up for our newsletter to stay in the loop.
Q: How has remote work changed your view of the world and Worklife Studios?
A: Prior to the pandemic, many investors would immediately pass on a fully remote team.
Today, every company we’ve backed is a remote-first company with employees all over the world.
We wanted to create a space that’s uniquely designed for this new era of work.
It looks nothing like an office. Actually, think of it as an anti-office. Sure, members can knock out their to-dos in the space, but that’s not its primary function.
It’s designed in collaboration with our community, and it’s multi-purpose.
The role of the space is to become just about anything:
- Production studio
- Artists’ collective
- Retail space
- Community spot
- Event venue,
Our inspiration here is Andy Warhol’s Factory.
Besides serving as Warhol’s studio, the Factory was a prime meeting ground for musicians, drag queens, models, and all types of forward-thinkers in New York. You hear stories about how Warhol would be making silkscreen prints on one side of the room while someone else was shooting their own short film in the space at the same time. That spirit of innovation, open collaboration, and constant creation is what inspired Worklife Studios.
While we might not be adding much to Warhol’s screen-printing legacy, we will be keeping his spirit of out-of-the-box thinking very much alive.
Q: Who are some of the artists you have featured in the space?
A: We look for self-made, self-taught, and traditionally underrepresented people in the traditional art world. We want to create experiences that bridge cultures and give up-and-coming artists physical space to showcase their work and meet people IRL.
I’m inspired by hair stylists, tattoo artists, streetwear founders, and all types of creative people who have built a community through Instagram.
Worklife Studios is the physical space for these creative communities to meet IRL for the first time.
Right now, our space is home to:
- Our ramen profitable rug, a commissioned piece with Stripe designer Cynthia Chen who is currently working on the Stripe Climate team.
- Grailed’s 4gseller featuring brands Dior, Rick Owens, Celine, Balenciaga, and Chrome Hearts
- Seasonal Father’s Day drop in collaboration with @MiddleClassFancy
- Vintage furniture curators Roleplay L.A, Studio Pobrecito, Rehab Vintage
- All food, beverage, and products in our bathroom were curated by the team at Settle
- NSFW products from Pietra (Emojibator) & Feast (first drop this summer)
Even when there isn’t an event on, Worklife Studios is the type of place you want to stop by just to soak up the atmosphere.
Q: Why Silver Lake?
Although San Francisco is Worklife’s home base, we picked Silver Lake, L.A. for our first brick-and-mortar location for a couple of key reasons:
- Lots of foot traffic: Silver Lake is a new L.A. hot spot, blossoming as old go-tos like Melrose fade away
- Amazing neighbors: All Day Baby, Alfred Coffee, and Golden Age Hollywood, just to name a few
As much as we want visitors to hang out with us and explore our new and shiny space, we are also super excited to introduce everyone to what our neighborhood has to offer: from the farmer’s market, reservoir, and nearly 900 individual steps, to every mouth-watering local eatery.
To launch Worklife Studios, we took over and remodeled Depop’s very first in-person space. We’re excited to build on some of the basics the Depop team left and make the space our own. Read: the photo studio is staying. And many more goodies are on the way. Look forward to:
- Professional photo studio for editorial shoots, product photography
- Stage for hosting intimate unplugged events and album release parties
- LCD screens for displaying NFTs, album art, book covers, and more
- Room for 200 people standing or 100 people sitting
- Shelf space in our bar, kitchen, and bathroom for founders to launch new brands
- Custom art on the walls, vintage furniture, modern bathroom products – everything is for sale
Q: What Worklife Studios locations are next?
A: We look for creative neighborhoods that in recent years have become destinations for remote workers:
- Brooklyn, (New York)
- Wynwood (Miami)
- La Condesa (Mexico City)
They’re walkable, pet-friendly, small business-friendly places where someone new in town can easily get around, make new friends, and feel inspired by all the neighborhood has to offer.
We find these areas have artists, chefs, mixologists, and all types of creative people. We want to be the connective tissue that brings everyone together for dinner.
Q: What events are happening at Silver Lake?
A: Poetry reading with Rupi Kaur, AMA with Tinx, Live show with Cody Ko’s Tiny Meat Gang, musical performance with Bryce Vine, musical performance with Curtis Waters.
Our space can hold 200, but we’re planning to keep events on the small side to inspire deep person-to-person connection. You can look forward to:
- Small, family-style dinners
- Popups with emerging chefs
- Vintage market featuring local curators
- Food trucks
- Mini concerts
We recently held a pre-launch event in our new space. The evening kicked off a series of customer-facing workshops for artists, solo founders, and no-code builders.
Kairos—a no-code NFT platform co-founded by Katie Chen and Jeany Ngo—was first up with a presentation about taking NFTs beyond traditional digital art.
Next month we’ll be hosting a meet-and-greet with our wonderful artist-in-residence, Connor Meager. He’ll be talking about his work (latest collection = Allgorithm) and how he uses technology in his creative process.
Whether or not you can make it, you can catch his original work in the Worklife Studios bathroom.
Plus, keep your eye out for another mural on the way.
Q: Who are some people you’d love to collaborate with in the future?
A: We want to collaborate with all sorts of people, so the list is ever-changing. Right now, two builders high on our list are Seth Rogen and David Chang.
- Seth Rogen: we’re big fans of his ceramics and what he’s been building at Houseplant. It’s the most work from home friendly and Worklife-aligned weed company.
- David Chang: we’re big fans of his books, sneakers, remote work friendly home kits, and just about everything he does.
We also want to collaborate with our direct community. Five years from now, I’d love to see Worklife expand into large philanthropic efforts like Mr. Beast. Once we have a flagship studio in a new neighborhood, our next steps could include:
- Funding a community garden
- Working with Primer to build microschools based on children’s interests like video games, art, and hobbies that we take seriously
- Partnering with reskilling and adult learning programs to help our neighbors break into tech.
Come say hi at Worklife Studios
If you’re excited about the renaissance of in-person communities, creative collaborations, and up-and-coming brands, then keep us on your radar. We’ll be steadily announcing upcoming events, so sign up for our newsletter so you don’t miss anything.
Now that the doors to our very first Worklife Studios are open, we cannot wait to see how everyone will use the space. If you’re in the neighborhood, we hope you’ll come say hello! ∎
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