There’s a new spot in the neighborhood that gives creative types a place for brainstorming and coworking.
Makeshift Society (235 Gough) opened its doors last week in Hayes Valley. They want to be a place where creative freelancers make connections and establish relationships with other people in similar fields.
Their mission is to be “an organization for those who crave camaraderie to fuel their creativity” and they’re accomplishing it with their new space on Gough. Their spot feels like a mix of a coffee shop, library and bookstore (minus the espresso, card catalog and vampire fiction). Tables and couches are grouped for conversations, books are abound for learning and there’s even a wall to post your creative goals.
We spoke with Rena Tom, the founder of Makeshift Society and previous owner of Rare Device (an art gallery located here and in NY), about her new adventure.
H: How did you come up with the idea for Makeshift Society?
RT: I used to own Rare Device with a business partner and after we sold it, the thing I realized I missed the most was buying the art and design books, so at some point I thought I’d get a little space and open a subscription library (like Mechanics Institute) but just for those $80 books you like to flip through but don’t want to buy because you won’t look at them that often. I talked to a lot of people about this and eventually the idea morphed into Makeshift. We still have the lending library for members, though.
H: Tell us about the process of making this space what it is today.
RT: A long process – saw the space in April, leased it in June, opened last week. We did a ton of prep work to build community and find members before we opened doors – that is as important to us as the physical space. I have the support of two great ladies who helped with the branding/creative direction (Suzanne Shade) and interiors and outreach (Victoria Smith) and I couldn’t have done it without them.
H: What’s your vision for Makeshift over the next few months/years?
RT: We’re going to get our classes and workshops up and running in October. We want to have member lunches and mixers so people can really get to know each other and help each other out. We want to offer a residency, or quarterly membership to someone with a creative idea but maybe not the money or workspace to get it done. We also want to partner with more community groups. For example, we’re a Community Food Hub for Good Eggs so that Hayes Valley folks can pick up their orders from us in the evenings.
H: What have you noticed about who’s coming in already?
RT: Everyone is so chill and funny, and new friendships are already happening spontaneously. I love it. People really get stuff done but the vibe is very friendly and approachable. We have people walking by and popping in to check us out too, and that’s great. Gough is definitely on the rise!
H: What do you like about it being located in Hayes Valley?
RT: Everything! I specifically did not want to put this space in SOMA because personally I hate travelling down there (I live up by DMV so it’s a fast shot down to Hayes) and because we are central, easy to access by transit, and there is great food and drink outside our door. Our members come in to work, wander out for coffee or lunch, come back for another couple hours. I feel like the pace is perfect.