Meet At The Apartment: Reinterpreting An Old Business





Just when you think you’ve seen every possible business and can’t imagine anything new, you come across a completely fresh take on an old business.

When that happens to me (quite a lot), I am reminded once again that entrepreneurs have unlimited potential for business.

Why?  Because we entrepreneurs don’t have to invent completely new businesses that have never been heard of before.  What some of the best entrepreneurs are good at is taking older established business models and reinterpreting them.  They turn an established business category on its head.  They make it more interesting, more exciting or just different enough to stand out.

A case in point is “Meet at the Apartment.”  This past week I was in New York for some strategy sessions.  One of those sessions was held in a unique meeting space called “Meet at the Apartment.”

Meet at the Apartment - unique meeting space by entrepreneurs

Meet at the Apartment is a loft space in the artsy Soho district of New York.  (OK, you New Yorkers may laugh at me calling Soho artsy.  But remember, I’m from the Midwest.  To me, it’s artsy.)

Meet at the Apartment is set up to look like an open apartment space.  When holding a meeting in it, you feel comfortable and at ease.  You feel like you’re in someone’s apartment.  For instance, some of the group ate lunch around the kitchen table, here:

Meet at the Apartment - giving new meaning to "kitchen table business"

Not only are the surroundings interesting-looking, but they are outfitted with technology that you need for meetings, such as large flat screens.  As a group, you can view websites (as we did) or ad layouts or design mock-ups … or anything visual.

The surroundings are so intriguing visually, that they get your creativity flowing. As a participant I felt relaxed.  New ideas were jumping into my mind.

Meet at the Apartment - a entrepreneurial take on business meeting space

Compare that to the standard experience of holding a meeting in a sterile hotel conference room.  After a few hours people can’t wait to get out.  Here, you feel like you could stay and hang out.

Meet at the Apartment is owned by a husband and wife team of entrepreneurs: Sara and Marc Schiller.  Marc also facilitated our session and did a nice job at it.  And joined us for dinner later that night.  (See if you can get a hotel manager to do that.)  They are also on Twitter:  @meetnyc.

21 Comments ▼

Anita Campbell


Anita Campbell Anita Campbell is the Founder, CEO and Publisher of Small Business Trends and has been following trends in small businesses since 2003. She is the owner of BizSugar, a social media site for small businesses.

21 Reactions

  1. I love old but better ways to satisfy a need. Entrepreneurs are terrific at finding a way to brand themselves as the only one in their segment.

  2. Shirley George Frazier

    Shirley @ Solo Business Marketing

    The most-productive way that many of us find new ideas and inspiration is to leave our offices and find another place to think.

    This environment truly appears inviting and inspirational. It’s funny how you, Anita, introduces Meet At The Apartment to me, just a stone’s throw from NYC.

    It’s easy to envision, from your photos, how much can be accomplished in this great space.

  3. Anita Campbell

    Hi Norma, “old but better” is a great way to put it!

    Hi Shirley, the environment at Meet at the Apartment is in fact, inviting and inspirational. It does not suck you dry, like a sterile conference might.

    And I just love the name “Meet at the Apartment” .. so evocative of the purpose of the business.

    — Anita

  4. Great idea! Conducting business meetings with clients in a place that feels “homey” is not only comfortable for the client but also the meetin conductors. This place looks incredible. They did a great job.

  5. RedHotFranchises

    In today’s world, it is harder to try to invent a new wheel when it is much easier and convenient to try and sell wheels instead, you can sell wheels in almost every Industry. Never be afraid to try something new, and never be afraid to try something old.

  6. Wow. I love the idea of that “Meet at the apartment.” I definitely feel the same way if you have to meet at a hotel conference room something like that. Participants (including me) could not wait for the ticking of the clock for the session to end. But with a relaxing environment for a meeting, it’s awesome.

  7. Great place to meet with potential and current clients!

  8. Wonderful! A neat idea. I don’t think I ever want to meet in another hotel conference room.

  9. Martin Lindeskog

    Martin Lindeskog

    Anita,

    You must have had a good time in NYC! I am very interested in different types of meeting places. We created a meeting place for entrepreneurs and business minded individuals in Gothenburg, Sweden. It had a coffee house section, with a piano. We often streamed old time music from the speakers, e.g. vintage music from the 1920s & ’30s by Dismuke.org. Further in the building you found PCs and a multi-copier machine and then some open office spaces. We had a conference section and library as the “backoffice”! 😉 Our coffee guests and office tenants could use our secure WLAN net connection.

    Blue Chip Café & Business Center didn’t have the same colorful design and decorations as “Meet at the Apartment”. We had a more of a Scandinavian design with furniture from IKEA, but also antique furniture from different periods.

    Sara and Marc Schiller: I am interested in discussion the “third place” concept with you at some time. At the moment, I can’t follow you on Twitter. It seems that I have reached a limit at the moment. I am following around 2000 people and about 1500 individuals are following me. I have to decrease the difference somehow. I don’t really get Twitter’s reasoning of a follow limit, if you follow people in a natural and manual way, one by one at a time.

  10. I know I would rather have a meeting here than in some lame conference room (I would say in MY apartment but my apartment is not nearly as well decorated and furnished as this place). The seating looks comfortable and the ambiance seems like it would really help ease the mind and let the creativity flow.

    One question, I’ve been seeing a lot of co-work locations springing up. Does this location double as a co-working space or is it exclusively meetings?

  11. This is a really good idea. Sitting in boring conference rooms can get so uncomfortable after a few hours. This looks so much more relaxing. Besides the comfort factor, a lounge atmosphere encourages people to move around and communicate more with the group.

  12. Wow, I’m impressed! That is TRULY creative, out-of-the-box, innovative thinking and the place is absolutely beautiful. I can see how new ideas and creative thinking would naturally begin to take place in surroundings such as this. It’d be a like a breath of fresh air!

  13. Feeling at home opens more ideas and creative thinking and makes the meeting a success!

  14. That sounds like a really great place for a business meeting. I have been to many law firm retreats over the years. Most have been in hotel meeting rooms and a few have been only slightly more inviting, such as a country club meeting room.

    None have had the atmosphere you describe here (except, of course, the time we met at a partner’s apartment, but a real apartment isn’t usually functional for a meeting of any real size).

    Thanks for sharing this idea.

  15. Very cool. How long has the Apartment been around? I think it’s a very interesting business model. I’ve been at lots of meetings at the back of coffee shops with noise and people and other distractions going on. I’d love to have access to a meeting space like the Apartment!

  16. TJ McCue

    If it wasn’t for your curiosity, Anita, we would not learn so much here. Like the rest of the group, I love this. And like the rest, I’d choose this over a sterile office space. In Seattle, we have a bunch of independent coffee houses that often have creative working spaces you can borrow or rent inexpensively. I think one of the more popular ones here is Third Place Books (aptly named) that has couches, corners, working tables. Presentation rooms, too, I think.

    Along this lines of turning an old concept new, there’s another company in Seattle that took the plain old public storage building concept and turned them into hobbyist and work-at-home office spaces. Every 10×10 or 5×10 storage space became a wired little private cube you could set up as a homey office. I can’t remember the name of it even after 10 minutes of searching Google!! Ahh.

  17. Franchise Opportunities

    It is so creative and inspiring to meet at a place like these! A truly inspiring way to make an old place bring out new vibes and satisfy many. It just shows how one’s creativity can bring out the best in others.

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