Posts Tagged ‘sharing’

Shared office space bringing businesses together

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

Shared open-plan space at Co-lab's Shibuya Atelier allows co-tenants to collaborate

Even if you’re sharing the same floor with another business, traditionally in Japan, to preserve a sense of privacy, office boundaries are properly demarked with booths and partitions. But lately, according to Nikkei Trendy, some new real estate ventures are offering office spaces that blur or even demolish these lines, allowing businesses to interact in potentially beneficial ways.

Take Co-lab, for instance, a company that owns trendy office space in several locations across Tokyo. They offer open-plan office space to those in creative industries, with the aim of getting residents to collaborate together. In order to rent office space, companies must first submit creative work to be vetted by the people at Co-lab before being allowed into the fold. Rather than being secretive about what they’re working on, creative types have the opportunity to share ideas and even collaborate together on projects.

This model resembles the way entrepreneurs are sharing office space and ideas at startup incubators. But open plans are not the only way to encourage connections between businesses located in the same building. Real Gate real-estate agency manages five office blocks across Tokyo, with a sixth to be opened in Aoyama in March, and organizes networking events at all of them to bring tenants together. In addition some buildings also house communal spaces such as bars, gyms and spas, where people can gather to socialize and exchange ideas.

Their latest venture, The Share, in Harajuku offers shared office space similar to that found at Co-lab and, in addition, shared housing space, so that those working there are also able to rent living space if they chose to do so. Opened in December 2011, the place now has a waiting list for those wishing to rent units. Shared housing starts from  ¥95,000 a month for a small private room and access to shared kitchen, bathroom and lounge facilities.

Another space-sharing idea is for businesses to rent out space when their property is not in use, or to rent out surplus space. Website MaGaRi serves as a bulletin board for businesses offering just that. A bar in Shibuya, for instance, is renting out its space in the day to a young woman selling homemade sweets. The bar gets a little bit toward the rent and the businesswoman gets a prime retail spot. Those offering surplus office space also get the chance to make connections with companies in complementary fields, not only lowering their rent, but also potentially giving their business a boost through collaborations.

Come all ye hoarders and swappers

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

Brother, can you spare some shoes? Japanese men are being encouraged to swap their shoes via a new online service called 4 Jigen (Dimension) Closet, which launched this month. To register, men simply upload information about a pair of shoes they’re willing to loan out and once that’s done, they can borrow a “new” pair of shoes from an online collection of secondhand shoes for a small fee. The fee, which usually comes to around ¥525, covers a cleaning service and postage.

Before you borrow some shoes, simply register a pair of your own

For those who like to keep in step with the latest styles, the concept definitely has an upside: Puma, Lanvin and YSL are just some of the brand names already available. And if you’re worried about using other people’s whiffy shoes, be assured that the cleaning process is pretty thorough: The company behind the scheme, 1K, sticks the shoes in a washing machine, scrub ‘em with a toothbrush, buff them and deodorize them before finally putting in new insoles.

According to Fashion Snap, the idea was the winner of a competition sponsored by Skylight Consulting which is aimed at encouraging the start-ups of twentysomethings. If it’s successful, 1K  intends to expand the service to include other clothing items. But will today’s fastidious male be willing to swap shoes with a complete stranger?

One good indication for the future fortunes of 4 Jigen Closet is that the economic downturn seems to have made the Japanese less squeamish about buying secondhand clothing. A recent article in The Japan Times reported that secondhand book store Book Off are now expanding into the clothes market and sales of secondhand apparel on online store Rakuten are taking off.

The concept of getting something for next to nothing is also at work on Livlis, a site on which you can acquire other stuff for free (if you’re willing to pay delivery charge at the other end). A beta version of the Twitter-powered site went live in December last year. Originally set up for residents of Kawasaki City last year, the site now offers its services nationwide. At post time, electronic gadgets, video games, textbooks and an Ikea desk were among the items on offer. If you have clutter, it certainly beats paying the haikibutsu shori guys. Be warned that people also tweet stuff they want to sell on the site, so make sure the item you’re after is flagged 無料 (free) before you send off a message.

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