About this project
Join this exciting movement… Help foster creativity, innovation and community! After searching for over a year, UNIQUE USA has found the perfect home for LA's creative community in the Arts District. The nearly 100-year-old, two-story, 18,000 sq ft building has a rich history rooted in the arts: it was the location for LA's thriving Bedlam arts scene in the 1980-90s, and when Shepard Fairey and his collective of friends and artists moved to the West Coast, this is the space where they got their start! We've secured a 10-year lease, we have a waiting list of tenants and co-work members who want to work with us, we’ve created a diverse lineup of programming for the space from small business workshops to weekend community events – now we need your help to finish renovating the building. Help build a better LA, help give entrepreneurs and artists a place to help make their dreams a reality! You can be a part of this historic venture, helping to open a groundbreaking co-work and event space that will provide a much-needed home base for LA's artists, designers, and creative entrepreneurs.
We’ve created a bunch of, er, unique rewards to get you involved in the UNIQUE community and contribute to this phenomenal cause. We truly believe "we’re all in this together" and every penny counts! According to the Kickstarter rules, if we don’t raise our target amount we won’t get a penny from the campaign. With your help we’re hoping to raise even more than our goal… We believe in dreaming big and hope you do to!
Why is THE UNIQUE SPACE so important for the community? Over the past five years UNIQUE USA has fostered an incredibly vibrant, ardently supportive and fast-growing community of creative entrepreneurs without any kind of permanent space to facilitate collaborations and independent work, learning, connecting, and growing. The time has come to drop anchor - the need for a place to house UNIQUE’s growing community of small business owners and artists is critical to LA’s continued growth and success. A healthy city and country is one that is filled with thriving small businesses and loads of arts and culture! THE UNIQUE SPACE is going to be much more than just shared co-work space, offices and studios - it’s going to be a game-changer helping to ensure that the Arts District, which is quickly being overrun by large companies, remains a place for creativity and design.
While running the largest Made-in-America shopping markets in the country, Sonja discovered that the vendors featured at Unique LA/SF/NYC wanted continuing education and help running their small businesses. There is a huge community of artists and creative entrepreneurs who are great at producing beautiful products but need help with things such as accounting, utilizing social media, building websites, and learning the differences between wholesale versus retail. Opening THE UNIQUE SPACE is crucial because it will become a home to the much-needed small business workshops, classes and events that entrepreneurs need to succeed and grow.
Opening this September, the space is going to fill a hole in terms of what today’s co-work spaces offer. As a creative lab of sorts, the building will be unlike any other: freelancers, small-business owners, and others who want to work independently but not in solitude will at last have a curated, comfortable, dynamic environment in which to be productive and creative with other like-minded people. Co-work spaces tend to be bare, cold and leave a lot to the imagination - The UNIQUE SPACE is being meticulously designed by Sonja herself (a former interior designer seen on HGTV and TLC) with the goal of being a warm, inviting, inspirational environment. A space that truly inspires creative thinking, innovation and great art and design! People will both work and play hard at THE UNIQUE SPACE with amenities that include a full kitchen and dining area for people to cook and eat meals in, a rooftop patio that boasts stunning, panoramic views of the city, a resource library and lounge to encourage inspiration and socializing, a boardroom for meetings and client visits, a photo studio, and a Handsome Coffee Roasters satellite coffee bar! THE UNIQUE SPACE will be a diverse and creative space for all! And as an event space thoroughly ensconced in LA’s downtown creative community, the building will be used after hours and on weekends as a venue for everything from weddings to Thanksgiving dinners to educational seminars to private events.
exciting and unexpected UNIQUE story...
In 2008, designer, entrepreneur and community leader Sonja Rasula launched the country’s largest independent art and design shopping show, UNIQUE LA, with a simple mission: to host an event that would simultaneously bring modern, made-in-America products to the masses, support small business owners, and revitalize the country’s creative economy. Needless to say, the show was a huge success and everyone from Monocle magazine to Details, The Atlantic to The New York Times has written about Sonja’s work. Today, each event features over 350 independent vendors, approximately 20,000 shoppers attend and $1.5 million is spent at every show which gets injected right back into the local economy! UNIQUE LA prides itself on having made extraordinary headway in helping small business owners and creative entrepreneurs achieve sustainability while also promoting conscientious consumerism.
Sonja’s instincts were right on target as she anticipated the tremendous need for an event that could bring hundreds of independent artists and designers under one roof, and the show has inspired and spawned many locally-driven movements around the country. In just a few years UNIQUE has achieved extraordinary growth: in addition to the Spring, Summer and Holiday shows in LA we’ve now had shows in New York City and San Francisco, have held wildly successful fundraisers (for instance our Fake Prom fundraiser for Inner-City Arts which raised over $20,000 in one evening), and this past June we launched CAMP (a business conference for creative entrepreneurs held in Big Bear, CA that included everything from workshops with experts on branding and social media to a high ropes course to a Wes Anderson-themed dance party). The UNIQUE community is moving full steam ahead! But there’s still just one thing missing: a permanent space.
About the Benjamins: Why we
really need your help!
To make all of this a reality, we need funding. We don’t have investors; we are an independently run and owned company. The renovation, construction and furnishing costs of creating THE UNIQUE SPACE amount to over $255,000. We’ve already invested close to $100k, our architect is donating his time and we've secured partners to help with some of the costs but now we’re hoping to raise at least $100k - your support and generosity is essential in order to make that goal a reality.
Walls are coming down, new ones are being built and fresh, new light fixtures are likely being installed as you read this. We have been working tirelessly to move mountains and make this happen, but there is still so much to do and it is crucial that we raise more money to help cover the costs of the remaining renovation and construction of the space. We need to put in new doors and windows equipped with a security system; we are opening up the space by tearing out walls and in other areas building walls; we need to build-out the studios that will be rented out to artists and designers; build the custom co-work desk systems; install a kitchen; furnish the lounge and library; install safety rails and benches on the roof. And that’s only the beginning. Once we’ve finished the building we’ll be initiating co-work, programming, and events, and building upkeep, and the more resources we have the more we’ll be able to offer.
Here is how our total costs break down:
Demolition of unusable
existing structures: 7%
Labor and materials for all office and interior walls: 21%
Demolition and installation of restrooms: 11%
Plumbing for the shared kitchen, event space and restrooms: 6%
Install electrical throughout the building: 10%
Custom kitchen for all co-work and creative offices: 7%
Heating and Air-conditioning systems: 9%
Interior design and finishing: 7%
Exterior paint and finishing: 4%
Co-work community design, furnishings and tech: 9%
Community lounge and inspiration library: 3%
Roof deck: 2%
Install security system: 4%
If we reach our goal all of the remaining construction and renovation costs above will be taken care of. If we surpass our goal, here are the exciting plans we'll be able to achieve:
$115,000: With an extra $15k you'll help us hire two LA-based artists to paint the side of the building, creating a beautiful hand-painted masterpiece!
$125,000: With another $10k you'll help us to build-out a much-needed photo studio for the community!
$150,000: Another $25k will allow us to not only plan and produce numerous community-driven workshops and events (at no cost to attendees!) but will allow us to give the event space free of charge to five non-profit organizations to use for fundraisers.
We are indeed all in this together... Thank you to our partners so far!
These great companies are already supporting THE UNIQUE SPACE and helping our vision become a reality.
Risks and challenges
With any project of this size and scope there are inevitable obstacles. We have to build out new walls, finish the basement, get a whole new roof (it's leaking currently), reinforce staircases and create the best physical layout for co-working and events. We know that there will be problems we can’t anticipate until they’re upon us -- but with more funding we’ll have more means to find solutions quickly. We have so much to get done in just two months, and can’t emphasize enough how much we need your help. We’re going to publish photo and video updates on the building’s progress as things move forward so you’ll be able to see in real time what your contributions are helping to make possible. We are so excited that when September 1st comes around we’ll be able to open our doors to welcome you and anyone else who wants to see what we’re all about and become a part of the UNIQUE world.
Thank you so much for your support!!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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