Updated: Oct 22, 2018
Life threw lemons at Rachel. Literally. She grabbed them all and made lemonade. 🍋
The coffee culture in Toronto is huge. There are so many out there, more trendy and hip than the last. Rachel worked from coffee shops while freelancing, she hopped from one to the other. She was looking for a more permanent space, a place that would motivate her, that would allow her to get shi*t done. She also really wanted to create something for herself. The idea came to her in October 2016 and she spent the following year researching coworking spaces, understanding the Toronto real estate, developing the interior design plan, come up with the branding & so much more. September 2017 marked the official opening day for Make Lemonade. They just celebrated their 1 year anniversary - with over 150 members!
I first came across the Make Lemonade Instagram page almost a year ago. I was so intrigued by it's happy, bright colours, but more specifically - the concept. Although Toronto is a melting pot, and highly considerate of diversity, a physical working space for women had not been thought of just yet.
Q&A with Rachel
Did you always see yourself doing this role?
Mmm… NO! I didn’t even know this job existed. I'm making up my job everyday as I go and it's changing all the time. I always imagined myself running something and being my own boss but I didn’t know what that business would be or what it would look like. Even a year ago, I didn’t imagine myself to be in the place that I'm in now.
What's the ultimate goal you wish to achieve with Make Lemonade?
My ultimate goal is changing all the time. Our values are simple, we want to help women get sh*t done and connect them with different resources and tools that help them excel in their businesses. I want to ensure we're reaching as many women who want to make their dreams a reality.
Any future plans for Make Lemonade? Perhaps opening a second location or expanding beyond Toronto?
I would never turn down an opportunity. Right now, we're really focusing on building our community and making sure things are really strong here in Toronto. But, we have some cool expansion ideas (in Toronto and elsewhere) that will be exciting and allow even more people to be a part of our community.
The concept of a coworking space and specifically a women's coworking space can be totally foreign to other parts of the world. Have you experienced any feedback or outreach from other areas of the world?
I did, actually! Someone reached out to us who runs a coworking space in Egypt, and they were so inspired by our focus on women that they dedicated a portion of their space to women only. Our favourite quote that we have printed on our wall "she believes she can, so she does" is now printed on a wall there as well! This was such a big realization for Make Lemonade and I was so excited that we were inspiring people to build their own communities, achieve their dreams and build safe spaces for women.
What are your responsibilities as the business owner of Make Lemonade? Give us your 'Day in the Life of Rachel'
I cannot express how much it changes on a regular basis. My main focuses are to ensure my team is equipped with all the resources and tools that they need to succeed in their roles. I also deal with the day-to-day accounting. All day, every day I'm looking at the numbers just to make sure we are where we need to be, and we're headed where we want to be. I'm also not an early bird, definitely a night owl. But I love socializing with the members, talking to them about their businesses, nurturing relationships, engaging with future partners and just making sure everyone is set up for success.
Ok, the ultimate question…. coffee, tea or lemonade?
Rachel's advice to aspiring entrepreneurs/anyone trying to achieve their dreams -
The ideation and conceptualization of Make Lemonade came to me in a moment where an opportunity that I was about to embark full-force on was taken away from me. I looked at the cup half full, and took the perspective that life was throwing a lemon at me.
It's going to take twice as long and cost twice as much, so be prepared for that. If you can paint the picture, can see what you want to see for your business and this new version of reality that you want for yourself - hold onto that picture. Paint it vividly and constantly remind yourself what you're working towards. Remember, it doesn't have to be a fully painted picture, it could be painted by numbers. You'll eventually realize that your picture is one page inside of a colouring book.