Contributed By: Katrina Garnes
Online social spaces have allowed me to access a world beyond the rural area of South Carolina that I once called home. I was able to create new and innovative concepts for my area and collaborate with like-minded and diverse individuals. However, it was social spaces like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter that allowed me to see the broader scope of ideas and niche concepts that brands and businesses were creating miles away. My friends would define my personality as being obsessive.
Once I get my head wrapped around something, I become very inquisitive, and my journalistic instincts kicks-in. I ran across a newly opened business called, Open For Business Co-working Space while searching the online platform for networks in the Atlanta area. I was immediately intrigued, because I knew I would be moving to Atlanta within a few weeks, and I had already been searching for co-working spaces. It stood out from the other co-working spaces located in Atlanta for three reasons. Firstly, I noticed it was a females only co-working space. Secondly, I noticed by the events and classes they hosted it catered not only to the person but the woman as a whole. By providing a holistic approach of building women from the inside out, it echoed its belief that the better woman you are the better business woman you are. Lastly, it’s location. It was located in a non-traditional area of a co-working space of its caliber, on Auburn Avenue.
During a time of racial discrimination and economic segregation, “Sweet” Auburn Ave. housed more financial institutions, professionals, educators, entertainers and politicians on this one mile of street than any other African American street in the South at time in history. Atlanta’s history, culture, and liveliness thrives off of diverse professionals, business owners and creative individuals. This is why when looking for a new city to relocate Atlanta was a top contender for me. At the beginning of the year when I decided to relocate here, my goal was to immerse myself in the culture. When I saw that Open For Business Co-working was having there ribbon cutting; it was only right for them to be my first official blog feature in the new city. I recently reached out to the phenomenal Nicole Garner Scott and she granted me an inclusive interview.
Katrina: I recently attended the ribbon cutting for the opening of the business. The momentum is high. I’ve actually known about this establishment before I moved to Atlanta it’s a very niche and unique workspace. What made you decide to venture into this?
Nicole Garner Scott: It’s been going on 11 years now that I’ve been running the Garner Circle. I started in a co-working space. Cost was very important back then. I fell in love with the co-working concept. You don’t have to work by yourself, you don’t have to worry about the distractions of working from home, and the idea of being able to share with other entrepreneurs and professionals is great. Years later, I’ve had my fair share of high-rise offices, but I kept gravitating back to this concept. The managing partner, Tiara Johnson, came to me with the concept of doing one just for women. So we partnered together to get this project up and running, and we started looking for spaces. I was very interested in bringing it to Auburn Avenue.
Katrina: Location is always key. With so many great establishments here on Auburn Ave, What do you think your business will add to the historic district?
Nicole Garner Scott: Energy, Cenergy and Girl Power!
Katrina: You’ve coined yourself as being a “serial entrepreneur”. You’re the creator of 100 women, the owner of The Garner Circle, and now Open For Business. One great thing about building a business or brand is building a strong team. Who are some of the people you’re working with on this project?
Nicole Garner Scott: The team consists of Managing Partner, Tiara LaRae Johnson. Then there is my Space Partners, my husband, Artis Scott III and Eugenia Johnson. Our Community Manager, Quians Nelson and our events person is Shontel White. We have a board of advisors, and an investor group that helped us in the beginning. We’re just trying to keep growing. We look at our members as all partners. It’s not about the building it’s about the people inside of it!
Katrina: You mentioned it previously, but tell me about 100 females.com. Is it collaborative with this space?
Nicole Garner Scott: Yes, it is. 100 Female Entrepreneurs is a global business league that helps women along there entrepreneurial journey. So this is an extension of that.
Katrina: What are some of the amenities that are provided here?
Nicole Garner Scott: It has Wi-Fi for all users as well as Wi-Fi printers. We have a snack bar and a fresh juice bar courtesy of Suja Juices. We have a communal hot desk, as well as a conference room that’s available for meetings. We have a private room in the back that’s available for private
calls, periscopes, webinars or anything that you need good lighting or just a quiet space.
Katrina: What’s Going On focuses on highlighting entrepreneurs and professionals, as well as giving tips and advice whether you’re established or up and coming. A lot of our viewers and readers are looking to establish their own businesses. What advice would you give them?
Nicole Garner Scott: It might be cliché but your network is your net worth. The people you surround yourself with can be your acceleration to the next level or your stunt in growth. Put yourself around an “eco”sphere of progressive individuals that are at least like-minded, or if they’re diverse in mind-set it only alludes to the growth.
Katrina: There has been big controversy over women and their roles in not only the corporate world but as entrepreneurs. How has your femininity played a role in your success this far?
Nicole Garner Scott: My femininity has been a home court advantage. Being able to build, have empathy, creativity, and build a sisterhood that I can pull on of other female entrepreneurs. I never shy away or try to hide my femininity or try to do business like a man. I’ve never subscribed to any of those philosophies.