Interview with Paulina Lopez Rubio, the Founder of Cango Cowork & Play, Family Coworking Space in Santiago, Chile
Bringing up kids gives us so many happy moments. The first smile, the first word, the first step... Kids change our lives, add it a new sense. However, challenges are also quite common, especially during the first years of parenthood. You want to give your baby only the best but most often it is impossible to combine babysitting and running a business.
Paulina Lopez knows everything about the requirements of parents taking care of underage children because she is a super mom herself. It seems like she managed to find a perfect balance between kids & family and running a business. And she is going to share her story with our readers.
Please meet Paulina Lopez Rubio, an intrepid business lady who opened Cango, a family-oriented coworking space on the first of October in Santiago, Chile.
Felix: How did you come up with an idea to launch a family coworking? Is it related to your own experience of running a business and raising children?
Paulina: Exactly, I did this because of my responsibilities as a mother. I needed to keep working with a good environment and maintain my family at the same time.
A year ago, when my second daughter was born, I tried to become independent and work from home, but I couldn’t’ work even one hour daily.
Then I started searching for a place in the national market where I could take my children with me and work for a few hours regularly. That’s when I thought it would be wonderful to have a coworking with a zone for children, a place where you could leave your kids while you work in a different space with different sounds, but still watching them play.
So, I thought, if I needed something like that, maybe hundreds of parents or people taking care of children need some help to be able to work some hours in a complete and adequate environment.
Felix: Can you explain us the name of the space? What does it mean to you?
Paulina: CANGO has two meanings, the first one is dedicated to the marsupial that carries their offspring wherever it goes… The kangaroo! On the other hand, since we offer flexibility and a services combination to everyone, the name can be divided in CAN GO!
At Cango, you can go with or without children, rent an office or meeting room, pay the services by the hour or with a monthly contract, everything’s fine as long as the facilities allow it.
Felix: How many children do you have? Do you often bring them to work?
Paulina: We have three kids at home, two of them are under five and I’ve had the privilege to take them to “work with me”. They come with me when they have time, they spend the time with preschool teachers at a space equipped and apt for children while I keep working.
Felix: What special services do you offer to parents and children in your space?
Paulina: The parents will be able to work in peace because the children will be taken care of by nannies. Our family coworking space allows both children and parents to achieve different objectives in the right environment.
The parents can interact with their kids as much as they want. All premises at our child-friendly coworking are connected with cameras, so the parents can watch everything from their cellphones or computers and make sure everything’s okay.
At the same time, parents can spend the break of the day with their kids, give them lunch and play with them for a while before getting back to work. The parents are in a different zone, so the noise doesn't disturb them and they can concentrate on their tasks.
Felix: What’s the biggest challenge you faced when you created/managed a family coworking?
Paulina: To give peace to everyone. When you work with children, security is very important, and our objective is achieved when mom and dad can work without having to worry about their children’s safety.
Felix: How does the coworking software help you with space management? What are the most crucial features for you?
Paulina: In our case, we’ve created a coworking with multiple spaces, so every client can combine all the services according to their needs. That’s why it is so important for us to have a management system that allows to check the different options and auto manage contracts.
Felix: Families with kids usually have pets. Are they also allowed in your space?
Paulina: We are not a pet-friendly coworking space at the moment. But that’s just because we don’t have a specific space to take care of them and give them the treatment they deserve. We don’t like cages or small spaces, so we won’t have that service available until we can offer dogs a nice space.
Felix: What’s totally different/unique about your coworking space?
Paulina: The facilities (Children’s area) and flexibility. At Cango, you can have everything separate or combine all the services and facilities according to your needs. You use what you need, and you pay what you use. You don’t need contracts or memberships that force you to purchase base services to use “additional” services.
You can come with or without children, use a private office part-time, rent one meeting room + children’s area for two hours, etc. There are infinite combinations available to deliver a solution for every person.
Felix: How are you going to create the space’s community? Are you organizing events for the families?
Paulina: Yes, we have three pillars for community development. The kids, the parents, and the entrepreneurship and business development. We offer services, talks, and workshops using these three pillars to form a community of support.
Felix: What do you think about a specialized coworking business? (female-only coworking, rural coworking, etc.) Is this tendency in the coworking business coming to stay?
Paulina: I believe it's excellent because of the differentiation and the special offers for specific groups. Since some groups have particular needs that can’t be met with a standard offer. Ideally, the industry should grow to a point where specialized spaces appear for relevant niches for the development of different industries.
Felix: Could you share some advice about how to monetize a space? Maybe some secret marketing techniques?
Paulina: Of course, but the best growth from the point of view of the marketing will always be organic growth. However, there are ways to push that growth and achieve diffusion of recommended services if you’re looking for support of certain marketing tools relevant for your target audience. For example, if your objectives are parents or tutors, there are themes that allow you to empathize with that group, achieve a connection and your client will fall in love faster with your space.
Over to You
I hope this interview with Paulina Lopez Rubio, a founder of coworking for parents was inspiring and addressed many questions. Would you like her to share some more insights? Please leave your inquiry in the comments section. Do you have your own experience in the family coworking niche? We would be happy to hear about your business, it's special amenities, and community-building events.
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