Today we’d like to introduce you to Danielle Casey.
Danielle, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I was in the middle of completing my Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology and working as a group counselor at a prison in Miami when I decided to leave it all behind and work for myself.
I took an entirely different route, one that that would honor my passion for community and natural eye for design. I partnered with my best friend and we launched a creative studio specializing in brand identity & print design. We quickly learned we wanted to design for ourselves versus clients and turned our focus to high-end greeting cards. While we were pushing our card lines throughout the South Florida pop up circuit we met so many wildly talented souls all creating beautiful products. The pop-up thing grew tiresome for us quickly (it’s a LOT of work to lug your setup around for a few hours!) So, we opened Locate Paradise; an online shop selling curated artisanal goods from those we had met and admired throughout our short journey.
Fast forward a year or so and I was given an opportunity to help create a tangible form of what we had been doing online — in the form of a very large, very old warehouse in a very industrial area just outside of downtown West Palm Beach. We basically gutted the place, painted it white and filled it with our favorite local creatives and their products. Elizabeth Ave. Station; an event-driven shop with a focus on music, art, and design launched January 21st, 2017 with a bang (nearly 2,000 people came out!)
We were blown away. We knew this was something this city has been craving.
The Station has grown to be the cultural hub of West Palm Beach and has given so much opportunity to creatives, designers, musicians, etc. Something I am beyond proud of.
I poured a lot into my work at The Station before being given another wonderful opportunity in 2018 — to create a space for entrepreneurs downtown to work, learn, connect and grow in an aesthetically pleasing environment amongst a group of like-minded and trustworthy go-getters.
1909 launched in the Fall of 2018 with about 40 members. Today we have over 200. I’m the Co-Founder and Creative Director so most of my days are spent strategizing how to improve the experience of our members, expand our resources and nurture our community all whilst maintaining our brand standards and an aesthetically pleasing environment.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Well, first we had to convince our Board of Directors that our ideas for 1909 were not too crazy! Offering a workspace and all of these resources for such a low cost is something you just don’t see. Plus we are not exactly a cookie-cutter concept. We set out to build an ecosystem of entrepreneurs and creators, and that is a multifaceted concept that takes a bit longer to explain than simply building a place for people to work. Basically, the Board of Directors thought we were nuts.
Once we opened and the people started coming, we found that community building is not as easy as we thought it would be! The community has to be carefully guided and cultivated or else the vision will get lost. We have to make sure every new member knows exactly what 1909 is and what is expected of them and of us. We can’t ever drop the ball on this or else our legacy will be “just another coworking space”. We are constantly learning about the psychology of community building. How do we get people to break away from their work and feel comfortable enough to introduce themselves to the person next to them? What can we do to further optimize harmony amongst all members? How are we making sure everyone’s voice is heard? These are the types of questions we ask ourselves on a daily basis.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about 1909 – what should we know?
1909 is comprised of entrepreneurs, creatives, technologists, musicians, engineers, etc. who all value community and being surrounded by hardworking, talented, skilled and trustworthy people. We are a collective of creators who are unapologetically experimenting. The space we have created is a place for the people who don’t want to wait a minute longer to start what they want to do with the rest of their lives. It could be a book that they are writing, a business they are starting, a side hustle that they are fanning the flames of at 11pm on a Saturday night, or assembling their fellow citizens to tackle a social issue. Whatever it is that the people of 1909 gather to work on, we want to make sure that they have everything they need to do it. We are tired of incredibly talented people having to leave Florida because there are no opportunities here for them.
We offer mentorship, a robust event calendar, accelerator programs and an affordable workspace with 24/7 access so that everyone, regardless of income or schedule, has a place to get inspired, connect with like-minded people and most importantly, feel at home.
We are most proud of the many opportunities we’re providing people with. When I started my first business, I dreamed of a program that would help walk me through everything from startup law to identifying my ideal customer, and now that exists with the 1909 Accelerator Program. I also wished I had a group of like-minded people around me who I could learn from, barter with, etc. and now that exists within the space we’ve created.
How do you define success?
Success to me is balance. I am striving to be not only mentally and physically healthy, but also surrounded by a great community whom I love and trust while working on things that I genuinely care about. A good baseline measure of success to me is whether or not I am excited to wake up every morning and go to work.
- $50 Community Membership (5 days a month)
- $100 Resident Membership (unlimited 24/7 access)
- $350 Dedicated Desk Membership
- $750+ Private Office Membership
- Address: 313 Datura St. Suite 200
West Palm Beach, FL 33410
- Website: www.weare1909.org
- Phone: 561-331-0728
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @weare1909
- Facebook: weare1909
The one of the moodboard that has our logo in the middle with ‘make waves’ underneath and the one of the mural that says ‘#weare1909’ — these two were captured by Koda Creatives and the one with the back of peoples heads at the presentation was a shot from KVL Media when we hosted CreativeMornings Palm Beach here at 1909.