Home is where the heart is – meet Sarah, a French interior designer in Brussels

We’ve never spend this much time at home before and it has never been more important that your home is a safe haven, where you feel comfortable, relaxed and safe. So we contacted Sarah Kalman, who is a member at The Library Ixelles, to get inspired.

Sarah, you are an interior designer wish a specialty in older houses with character. What are some of your best tips for getting the most out of your space?

Try taking time to observe and analyze your interior; to consider it as a whole and not to treat it as a succession of distinct elements. It is important to notice the strong details and those that deserve to be valued. Then ask yourself, “What is most important to you to feel good? ” This step back is not always easy when you have your nose in it, that’s why I’m here.

I am very interested in the history of the house so that I can tell it in its layout and continue to tell a (new) story. The material is also very important as well as the way the ornamental elements were treated. In any case, follow your heart, not the latest trends in a magazine. Home is where the heart is. An interior must be timeless and last over time.

Afterwards, there is no magic recipe: each interior is unique as well as these inhabitants – they must be treated with care, uniqueness.

 

You are from France and has lived in Brussels for eight years now, what do you think of the architecture in Brussels?

After finishing my studies in Paris in interior design, I came to settle in Brussels. I have been living there for eight years now and feel like a local. The architecture here has real potential and deserves to be valued. We all know the Art Nouveau and Art Deco style but the Belgian capital is distinguished by its eclectic style. This is what also makes the city interesting. This multiplicity deserves more attention. Take the time to observe the façades.

 

What do you find to be the biggest challenges to being a (female) entrepreneur today?

I think we have to juggle between our different roles: Woman, business manager, parent, lover, friend, etc … while being operational on each position. I think this is a pressure that we put on ourselves and that should not be necessary.

 

You are quite new to the coworking at The Library Ixelles, how do you like working with other entrepreneurs?

I am inspired by their dynamism and the voluntary side of each worker. Everyone wants to prosper but above all to do better every day. It is very motivating to get up in the morning and be surrounded in this way.

 

Connect with Sarah here:

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Feel confident, look amazing, meet Astrid

Astrid is a personal stylist and image consultant who joined The Library Ixelles coworking only 1,5 months before Covid-19 hit us. At a time, when it’s never been more important to have a positive and beautiful look on self-care, we turned to Astrid for inspiration and advice. Read all the way to the end as Astrid has an offer to share with you.

a personal stylist and image consultant is definitely related to how people feel on the inside, what are their own personal experiences, to work on self-confidence and improve their communication skills.

Astrid, you work in the very interesting overlapping field of how we look and how we feel. Why do these two areas go together?

My approach as a personal stylist and image consultant is definitely related to how people feel on the inside, what are their own personal experiences, to work on self-confidence and improve their communication skills. It is not (only) about physical appearance but also about self-care. Our personal image can be influenced by a lot of factors (social standards, education, lack of trust) and my mission is helping people raise their own talents and express better who they are and their own personality through clothing. I create authentic personal style in order for the clients to feel good on the inside and express the better version of themselves on the outside.

 

You are working on building and developing your business at the moment, what are your plans for the future?

I just moved to Brussels at the beginning of this year to grow my project and develop my network as an entrepreneur. I started my business with private clients and I would like to extend my activities to companies. I have 10 years of experience in the corporate sector and I think image consulting is more important than ever as it guides employees to improve their non-verbal communication skills, express their potential and gain confidence.

 

As a small business being affected by the Covid-19 crisis, do you have any advice for other small business owners/independents?

I think that everyone is living this crazy period differently depending on the type of personality, but I would suggest of course to self-care (doing the simplest of things that are necessary for our own mental health) but also to use this time as an opportunity to read, to follow online trainings, to create contents in order to feed the mind and improve our expertise. It is what I try to do personally, even if it not easy every day.

 

You are quite new in coworking at The Library Ixelles. What do you think of working closely with others in a set up like this?

I am definitely not made for loneliness! and I think it is important to connect with other people and simply share inspirational time together or our vision of business. And The Library is the perfect co-working for that, as there is a very warm atmosphere created by the Library team, and even if I am new, I can feel a natural kindness and mutual aid between the members. Can’t wait to come back soon.

 

Special offer!

There is no better time than right now to update your look, so take Astrid up on her offer of a free styling session to respond to your current need in term of style and communication. She will help you simplify and reorganize your wardrobe and talk about how to create an elegant easy-to-wear look and how to look and feel comfortable for your professional online meetings.

 

Contact Astrid directly on info@astrideckelmans.com or by phone 0474 40 46 29.

Website

LinkedIn

 

 

A New Dawn for Legal Help – Meet Aurore

Most of us only use lawyers when we are in trouble. When in fact, the right lawyer can mean the difference between success and failure for your start-up. That’s why we were so excited, when Aurore joined The Library. Forget about an old-boys club of snobbish lawyers in wigs, Aurore is approachable, competent and friendly and knows absolutely everything there is to know about the start-up scene in Belgium.

Aurore, you are a lawyer specialised in company law and you work with helping entrepreneurs launch their businesses. What are the top three tips you can give to people, who are considering launching a business in Belgium?

First of all, study your market. Who are your competitors? What is your target? Who is your ideal customer? Is your market willing to buy your products / services? This might seem obvious, but very few entrepreneurs ask themselves why they offer their products / services and to whom. My second advice is to build a strong network. No one ever created a successful business on their own. You need strong partnerships whether informal or formal to test your ideas, get them into shape and tell people about them.

Thirdly, I highly recommend designing a strong, honest communication strategy. What is your story? What is your identity? How are you going to reach your customers?

Those three aspects are generally considered by most entrepreneurs to be dull, because they are difficult. Though, they are, in my opinion fundamental to building a strong and successful business – not only in Brussels.

You meet all kinds of entrepreneurs. Do you find that there is a difference in mindset between female and male entrepreneurs?

I generally don’t like gender stereotypes. We often read that women are risk adverse and do not dare as much as men. It’s true that women will anticipate more and look for accompanying structure when men will more often try on their own. I’ve seen plenty of men being totally risk-adverse and plenty of dare devil women but I must say that women are generally more cautious. Men will naturally work their networks via business groups, sport, etc. This has to change.

People are sometimes intimidated to see a lawyer and worried about the cost. But you have a great approach offering easy-to-choose packages for entrepreneurs. What do the packages consist of?

It is true that lawyer’s services are expensive. Legislation is more and more complicated and beyond the fees that you pay, we must continually refresh our knowledges which requires time and energy. The level of responsibility that lawyers take is also a reason for high fees. More and more often, lawyers apply fixed and predetermined rates for specific services. It enables the client to get an overview of the final, total amount. I have created six different services packages that enable a start-up to determine their business model and translate it into a business and financial plan, chose its legal form, have a professional and compliant website, legally binding terms and conditions of sale, apply for the author’s rights taxation and close a shareholders’ agreement. The point for me is to have professional legal services accessible to entrepreneurs. All details can be found on my website:

 

You’ve recently joined The Library. What is your impression so far of working in a coworking environment?

I like coming to the Library. It feels very much like home, though I can’t take naps as often as I would, if I were working from home 🙂.

It’s also nice to meet new people and to share experiences with Anne-Laure with whom I share an office.

To me, the Library is more than a place for work. It’s somewhere I can fully express my professionalism and put in place new ideas.

You can find Aurore on :

LinkedIn

Website

Instagram 

Bring the world closer with World Options

Years ago, Ulrik and Dirk met at a wedding. As it happened, Ulrik, who is Danish, and Dirk, who is Dutch worked for the shipping giants DHL and UPS. They quickly realised that by combining their expertise and entrepreneurial skills, they could offer shipping to an overlooked and ignored group – the smaller companies – and do it at reasonable prices with the added benefit of great customer service.

 

Dirk and Ulrik, what makes you passionate about shipping and logistics?

Shipping is an important part of the culture in both of our countries, so we are kind of born into it, but helping to facility trade, sharing experience from around the world is fascinating for both of us. You are selling a true service and, even though, we do rely on technology, it is still a business where people make all the difference.

If you ship parcels, packages or larger things like pallets or maybe run an online shop, let us know! As members we would be pleased to offer you our extended service including preferential rates.

What is the strangest thing that you have transported through World Options?

We have been challenged with many different things, probably the biggest was when a customer wanted a “used generator” to be shipped from outside Istanbul to Rotterdam. The challenge: It was in one piece and with a weight of 20 tons. When loading it in Istanbul, it fell of the trailer and in the middle of Ramadan, we needed to find a replacement trailer. This is when you provide customer centricity. We managed to get the shipment out in time for Turkey closing for one week and delivered to the customer in Rotterdam.

 

You are quite new at The Library and in an industry that would normally be in a more traditional office environment. What draws you to coworking?

We were looking for a place with character and where you easily can connect with people. We felt that The Library was the perfect place for our business and we see that we can easily manage growth within the walls of The Library. In addition to this, we greatly appreciate the service of the team and your customer focus. Our business is all about focussing on our customers and we feel we are in an environment that reflects this.

 

If you ship parcels, packages or larger items like pallets, or maybe run an online shop, let us know! As Library members, we would be pleased to offer you our extended service including preferential rates. You can find out more about the benefits of shipping with World Options by visiting our website or by contacting one of us at dirk.kruisinga@worldoptions.com or ulrik.topp@worldoptions.com .

 

 

Unlocking deep sources of wellbeing within you – a conversation with Brussels Mindfulness

Some of our members go way back. Like Brussels Mindfulness who started running mindfulness courses at The Library Europe as soon as we opened our doors. If you were ever in doubt about what mindfulness could do for you, I think this will convince you.

 

Beate, I love how our businesses are connected as you started Brussels Mindfulness right as I opened The Library Europe and so our collaboration has lasted for five years now. What is your secret to surviving the first crucial three years as an entrepreneur?

Indeed, we started our journeys together and it has been a great support to me to have partners like The Library. As a start-up it is important to have flexible partners. You have given us this flexibility to add more courses when we had lots of registrations and to allow a cancellation when we had not enough registrations.

For me, it is important to know that I am not alone in this journey and that I have some great colleagues who supported me through the ups and downs of these first years. Also, I am very grateful that we have many faithful clients who believe in what we do and who regularly book our activities.

Brussels Mindfulness runs 8-week courses, away-days, retreats and much more. How do you see that mindfulness makes a difference in people’s lives?

My mindfulness practice is essential for my wellbeing.

My mindfulness practice is essential for my wellbeing. In our busy lives with so many stimuli and distractions, our stress system gets triggered much more often than it was designed to be. Add to that the constant solicitations of our smart phones which keep our body and mind in a constant state of alert and contribute to building up chronic stress and fatigue.

It is possible to find an alternative to the constant stress and struggling. There are deep sources of wellbeing within all of us, no matter how stuck and frantic you might feel right now. Mindfulness helps you to step out of this stressful autopilot mode and to rediscover your inner sources of happiness, peace and strength.

How? By training yourself to live more in the present moment, rather than constantly thinking about the past or the future. By learning to be kinder to yourself, and to take good care of yourself, moment by moment.

Many of our participants tell us that learning mindfulness has been truly transformative to them. It has helped them to step out of unhelpful habits and to flourish in life.

 

 

Entrepreneurs are among the people with the highest levels of stress and anxiety in the western world. How can we help ourselves on a daily basis?

What helps me tremendously to stay healthy is my mindfulness practice. I know I have all the tools to help me to find peace and calm even in the business of an entrepreneur’s life. I am very conscious of my stress symptoms and when I notice that it is becoming too much, I freeze my calendar and invest more time in nourishing activities. During busy days I also try to build in enough pauses so that stress cannot build up so easily.

Also, what helps me is to know that my thoughts are not always true. Because after all it is not through physical work that we get exhausted but rather through all the worrying and negative thinking. So if I get stuck in thought patterns that drain me and make me unhappy I question those thoughts. Especially self-critical thoughts can make us very exhausted. I have taken the habit to wish myself well when I feel overwhelmed. In those moments I tell myself something like “may I be peaceful in the midst of this” or “may I be kind to myself”.

 

You do most of your 8-week course the Sky Room at The Library Europe – what importance does space have, when it comes to understanding and teaching mindfulness?

Space is very important for us as it supports the practice. All our locations are carefully chosen on the criteria of cosiness, warmth and kindness. We have been working with most of our partners since many years and are very grateful about this cooperation which goes far beyond just renting a space. At The Library, our participants love its coziness and stylishness and the welcoming atmosphere. Also, people appreciate that we can offer free delicious teas during our sessions.

 

 Finally, when are your next courses?

Our next 8-week courses start in the week of 20 January. You can choose between Tuesday night at the Library and or Friday afternoon at MM81. Once of our assets is flexibility for busy people: If you cannot make a session you can come to the session at the other weekday.

https://www.brusselsmindfulness.be/agenda/8-week-mindfulness-course-on-tuesday-evenings-3

https://www.brusselsmindfulness.be/agenda/8-week-mindfulness-course-on-friday-afternoon.

 

We also have a new course on “positive neuroplasticity” coming up in January for people who already followed a mindfulness course:

https://www.brusselsmindfulness.be/agenda/8-week-positive-neuroplasticity-training-1

 

 

An expert in change makes a big change

When we met Evi a couple of months ago, she had recently made a huge change in her life: Leaving San Francisco to move to Brussels and start all over. So we sat down with Evi to find out more about how to handle change professionally and privately.

 

Evi, you have recently moved here from San Francisco. Why did you make the change and what have you learned from it?

I was born in Germany and my family emigrated to the United States when I was 5. These last 12 years I have been drawn to reconnecting with my European roots and to live and work in Europe. I chose Brussels as it is such a highly international city and I enjoy meeting people from various cultures. I have been here 11 months and am delighted to be here. To me, Brussels feels like a large village, people are friendly, there is such a vibrant cultural scene and I love being able to walk everywhere. One highlight this year has been the reinstatement of my German citizenship; Germany did not allow dual citizenship until recently.

 

It is a year of many changes and as I am professionally focused on the issue of change, it is also a time of learning. One outcome for me has been an interest in writing about change and resilience so as to help bring more understanding of the complexity of the process of change and to underscore the impact of societal change on the individual.

 

Why should we be paying attention to our ability to change?

My expertise is in the human dynamics of change, personal, cultural and organizational. The failure rate of organizational change initiatives continues to be very high as there is insufficient understanding and appreciation of how change impacts people and culture and how to work with that constructively.

 

I am fascinated by change and believe that our ability to manage change will be critical in the future as there are so many changes in society today and an ever-increasing pace of change. In many ways, change is a much more complex human process than is often understood.

 

I am living through major life changes at the moment: my move to Belgium, change in my professional direction, my identity, home, relationships, culture, even language. I find it interesting to be my own personal laboratory, having previously been through many significant changes already. What continues to stand out for me is the inherent chaos and depth of emotional experiences. Change is not linear and takes us into many parts of ourselves. Real change entails facing our anxiety, fears, failures and losses, perceived or real. Real change allows and sometimes forces us to develop aspects of ourselves.

 

Resilience comes from actually living and working through difficult situations, learning from them and allowing ourselves to be changed by them. This brings the emotional balance, wellbeing and freshness necessary for creativity and innovation.

 

You are new at The Library, but not new to co-working. What, in your opinion, does co-working bring to your work-life balance?

For me, the key attraction is the ability to meet people and share my working day in the company of others. I enjoy being in conversation with people from other businesses and with different perspectives, both sharing and learning from each other. And as I am still settling in in Brussels it is a wonderful opportunity to feel part of a community. The warmth and welcoming nature of the people at The Library add a social dimension to my day. And the people and conversations are genuinely interesting. One unexpected and wonderful benefit was immediately meeting another member, Monika Hoegen, and discovering mutual interests in change and challenges in business today. We are now collaborating in researching ideas and writing.

Find out more about Evi here

Go get some ‘hygge’ in Copenhagen

We are at peak ‘hygge’ season and nobody does ‘hygge’ better than the Danes. Here are a few of my favourite places in Copenhagen to shop, eat and visit.

 

Shopping

Every area of Copenhagen has it’s own specialty shops, so it’s almost impossible to choose just a few. But I tend to always visit these ones even during short stops in Copenhagen.

 

Intense interiors

This amazing interior universe was long just by appointment and for people in the know. But now they have opened a temporary pop-up in the centre of Copenhagen. You can also stay at The Apartment Residence, which is a mind-blowing experience. When in the centre of the city, visit Beau Marché or the grande dame of design Illum’s Bolighus.

hygge

My favourite department store

Forget about boring, old-fashioned department stores. Magasin has everything from fashion to food and foreigners get 10% off.

 

Danish fashion galore

For a concentrated fix of fashion, go shopping in the streets of Pilestræde, Grønnegade and Ny Østergade. Visit Ganni or Stine Goya for unique Danish design. Don’t forget that the Danish jewellery scene is fantastic too. My favourite shop is Dulong at Silkegade.

 

Where to eat like the Danes

Copenhagen is a mecca for healthy food, but also for bread and the world-famous kanelsnurrer (cinnamon buns) from Meyers Spisehus. Also a great place for lunch or dinner. For a quick and healthy brunch or lunch, I like Raw42 and Glo Food.

 

But why be healthy, right? If you’d like the ultimate hygge treat, then head to Nimb for Afternoon Tea in their big lounge with fireplace. The service is fantastic and the treats are unforgettable. Another beautiful place for a cake and coffee is the tiny, jewellery box of a tea salon called Winterspring. Their cakes and ice creams are so tasty and the place is so sweet and beautiful.

 

Also in Tivoli, you will find the beautiful restaurant Gemyse, where they’ve taken vegetarian to a whole new level. Book a table in the greenhouse.

 

For lively and popular restaurants, book a table with any of the Madklubben restaurants that look appetising to you. Or at Restaurant Llama, which also offers fantastic cocktails. I also LOVE the Sticks’n’Sushi restaurants, which are great if you travel with children.

 

To continue the night after dinner, head to K-Bar or Ruby, both are world-class cocktail bars with a great atmosphere.

 

Forget about The Little Mermaid

She is smaller than you think and looks a bit sad and cold. So spend your time on lots of other things instead. For example…:

Visit the art museum Statens Museum for Kunst. They have changing exhibitions and a wonderful shop and café. Take the train to Louisana for another art and design experience.

 

Rent bikes and discover the main neighbourhoods of Copenhagen; Christianshavn, Frederiksberg, Vesterbro, Nørrebro and Østerbro. Everywhere, you’ll find unique little shops and cafés. Or do like the Danes, get a to-go-coffee at Emmerys and walk around the main lakes to look at people and discuss your life.

 

Remember that Copenhagen is all about the hygge, the fashion, the food and the friendliness. Everybody speaks English and are ordinarily happy to help. Enjoy your visit.

 

Useful vocabulary

Tak – Thank you

Hej – Hello

Hej, hej – bye bye

Vi ses – see you later

Må jeg bede om en kanelsnurre – Can I have a cinnamon bun please

 

Transportation

The Metro is clean, friendly and efficient. Take it from the airport (get a ticket for three zones) or between stops in the centre (Kgs. Nytorv), Frederiksberg and Christianshavn. The buses are also easy to spot, but the best way of transportation is a bike…

 

Creating a Sustainable Business Meet the experts

At The Library, we are in awe of the work being done by Ilana Taub and Michael Minch-Dixon from Bolder Impact. In 2013, they co-created SNACT: A sustainable snack brand that has saved over 250 tonnes (and counting) of food from going to waste. Years later, Ilana and Michael found their way back to Brussels, set up Bolder Impact – helping companies be the solution to environmental issues – and joined us at The Library.

In October, we are organizing a series of workshop lunches at all three Libraries, where you can meet Ilana and Michael and find out more about how to create a sustainable business and tackle the climate crisis.

Ilana and Michael, you have dedicated your careers to help the rest of us make climate friendly choices. Were you always passionate about this cause?

 

Michael: Maybe not always but it goes back a very long way. I’ve always enjoyed being outdoors and remember fondly my uncle taking me to the Irish countryside. Then, when I was studied Economics at university, I started to think about the economics of climate change and seeing how profoundly climate change would not only impact our environment but also our economies. Both in negative sense and in an opportunistic one – if we are to manage climate change, it will require fundamental changes in our economy and I found that quite an exciting prospect. So I focused my thesis on that and never looked back. I did an MSC in Environmental Technology after my undergraduate, set up a sustainability strategy consultancy and then later went on to work for Vestas, one of the largest wind turbine manufacturers in the world.

 

Ilana: My journey isn’t exactly the same but there are a lot of similarities. It was my last year at Edinburgh University that really started determining this trajectory, though I should point out that from a young age, I’ve always loved and cared for the natural world and studied environmental sciences at school. I also have very fond memories of being in nature (but in Finland, not Ireland). My first job after university was working here in Brussels for (what was at the time) Dexia Asset Management where I analysed hundreds of companies across different sectors on their environmental and social performance. I found it very interesting but not “hands on” enough so I went to do the same MSC (in Environmental Technology) Mike had done a few years before. Knowing what we know about the state of the world, we both can’t imagine doing anything else… The nature of what we do will of course change but it will always involve working in sustainability.

 

You sold SNACT and set up shop as consultants. What made you make that change?

 

Ilana: A few different things came together at the right time to lead us to that decision. We’d spent 5 years working on SNACT and whilst we loved what we were doing, we felt it was time for a change. We sort of fell into the world of FMCG and developing a snack brand by accident – we saw an issue, food waste, and wanted to do something about it but we were very naïve about what it would take, and certainly about what running a food business in the UK would entail! The world of food retail is extremely competitive, it’s a really tough space to break into. We wanted to start a family and we decided a change of pace in our life would be a good thing, at least temporarily.

 

Michael: We found a lot of people came to us for advice as entrepreneurs and we’ve always been keen to help others. It made sense that once we had sold SNACT, we would build on our own business experience and expertise in sustainability to work with other businesses and continue having impact in the issues we care about. We’ll definitely start another venture in the future. It’s the sustainability challenge that excites us. Once we got SNACT up and running, we spent our days running a food business and that’s not as exciting as thinking about new ways of dealing with the issues we’re facing.

 

You are one of many entrepreneur couples at The Library (including Robert and me), what are your tips for couples working together?

 

Ilana: When we ran SNACT together, we were pretty strict about making sure our evenings and weekends were not spent talking about (and working on) the business. It’s hard, as start-ups tend to consume most of your time but we needed to make sure we had non-SNACT time to stay sane. Otherwise… The obvious stuff: Communicate and be kind.

 

Michael: Just do it. It’s a shame more couples don’t work together. We spend so much of our lives at work, it’s great to be able to share that with the person you love. And then what Ilana said!

 

Finally, you’ve been members of The Library for more or less six months. How is coworking affecting your work/life balance?

 

When you can structure your day however you want, it’s quite easy for your work to creep into every part of it. So having a space where you can go and work helps separate things a bit – especially with a young baby, it’s been very useful to have a place to truly focus.

 

Creating a Sustainable Business workshop & lunch

Thursday 3 October at 12:30

The Library Ixelles

 

Tuesday 8 October at 12:30

The Library Europe

 

Thursday 10 October at 12:30

The Library Ambiorix

 

The Creating a Sustainable Business workshops & lunches are in principle exclusively for Library members. If you are not a member, but would like to join, please email Anne-Sofie at asr@thelibrarygroup.be.

 

Promoting female entrepreneurship with the EU Commission

Promoting female entrepreneurship with the EU Commission

Brussels is a city teeming with individual entrepreneurs who specialise in everything from design to political consultancy. Working on your own can be challenging though, so Danish businesswoman Anne-Sofie van den Born Rehfeld, who arrived in the Belgian capital 9 years ago, had the idea of creating a homely workspace where ideas, friendships and informal networking could thrive.

 

City of ideas

 

“When I came to Brussels as a consultant, I didn’t know anyone,” she explains. “I was working from home and my clients were mostly in Denmark. I missed the social aspect of work, like finishing on a Friday and wearing smart clothes.” Anne-Sofie had the notion of renting a house, making it look attractive and inviting people to work there. Her aim was to combine the cosiness of home (including amenities such as a stocked kitchen and plush bathroom) with the advantages of a shared workspace. “In 2013 I ended up taking my savings and renting a lovely townhouse in Ixelles (a municipality in Brussels),” she says. “I then decorated it with everything I could find in the house, such as family heirlooms and paintings. My husband would come home from work and find another painting missing!”

Anne-Sofie called her business The Library, a name inspired by her childhood. “I grew up on a very small island in the south of Denmark, where my mum was a librarian,” she says. “Every day after school, I’d go to the library. When I was looking for a name for my business this just popped into my head – I love the friendly, calm atmosphere of libraries, which bring different people together to pursue their interests.” Anne-Sofie has since rented 2 other properties in Brussels, and her husband has since left his job and joined the company.

 

Promoting female entrepreneurship with the EU Commission

Making a positive difference

The business venture was challenging at first, in part because the coworking concept was not so well-known in Brussels. Anne-Sofie had to explain the benefits to entrepreneurs who were used to working from home. Nonetheless, all the hard work was worth it. “I remember when a guy told me that his girlfriend had noted how much happier he’d been since he joined,” she said. “This is what I wanted to do – to help people be less lonely, more productive, and happy to go to work as entrepreneurs. We now have 150 members, but I still remember that feeling.”

Anne-Sofie is adamant about the importance of doing something positive. “I think if you are in it just for the money, then the stress will become too difficult to handle. You’ll have a higher success rate if you have a higher purpose,” she says. She’d also advise young entrepreneurs to pace themselves. “My mistake at the beginning was being too immersed in my business,” she says. “Launching something is like having a baby full of needs, and you can’t give in to every need.”

Time to be heard

Anne-Sofie is also active in promoting female entrepreneurship, and hosts workshops on issues such as public speaking at The Library. She believes that confidence is one of the most important qualities in an entrepreneur, and suggests that girls are often shyer at speaking out. As a participant in an initiative to promote entrepreneurship in schools, she noted that girls tended to come up to her afterwards to discuss things; they were often afraid to ask questions in front of their peers. “This is why it is important to have strong role models and to show girls that anything is possible if they are willing to invest their time and work hard,” she says.

 

Did you know that…*

Women make up 52% of the total European population but only 34.4% of the European Union (EU) self-employed and 30% of start-up entrepreneurs.

In 2012, only 29% of active entrepreneurs were women in Europe-37 (28 EU countries, Albania, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Iceland, Israel, Turkey, Liechtenstein, Montenegro, Norway and Serbia).

In 2012, the top five countries with the highest entrepreneurship rates for women were Greece, Albania, Portugal, Italy and Croatia.

Many blame the low figures on the lack of confidence and fear of failure.

What we know for sure is that when establishing and running a business, women face challenges like access to finance, information, business networks and training, and reconciling business and family. We cannot tackle all of these at the same time, but we want to make sure that women have all the possible support tools at their disposal.

What is WEgate?

A growing and diverse number of stakeholders are engaging to support women entrepreneurs across Europe. The European Gateway for Women’s entrepreneurship WEgate is an e-platform launched by the European Commission to support this network.

Read more about WEgate here.

Stella talks to us about East African trade agreements

Stella recently joined us at The Library. She came to Belgium with a wealth of knowledge from her extensive career in East Africa. Uprooting and going to Belgium has been quite the adventure for her, but we are so happy to have Stella – our very own East African expert – with us at The Library. Here are a few of her insights.

Stella, you are a lawyer and a trade agreement specialist from East Africa. What can we learn in Europe from strategic partnerships in East Africa?

I believe Europe has a lot to benefit from strategic partnerships and collaborative efforts in Africa because of the innovation drive that is sweeping across the African continent. Africa’s long known development challenges like healthcare, infrastructure and education, are currently, the drivers and catalysts for innovation. As the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention.

Luckily, the exponential growth of technology has not left Africa behind. In the past 15 years, mobile phone-usage has exploded across Africa, bringing the complex and diverse continent closer by bridging communication barriers not only in Africa but also with loved one across the globe. This has increased the market for Internet and data suppliers in the continent, which poses as an opportunity for strategic partnerships with telecom companies present in Africa.

African youths are at the forefront of this innovation drive. Sub-Saharan Africa is witnessing ground-breaking innovations e-healthcare solutions and online education solutions backed by wide-spread used of smart-phones and computers connecting like-minded thinkers in strategic partnerships and collaborations to devise solutions to common development challenges across sub-Saharan Africa.

The pervasive usage of mobile phones also led to creation of mobile-money banking systems, which, drastically, revolutionised the banking system landscape especially for small-scale businesses and the informal sector- which dominants most economies in Africa – influencing changes in the way of doing business in the financial sector. The technology behind mobile money banking has been exported to the west. This trend, therefore, represents the coming of age of Africa as the technology creator rather than adopter.

 

Navigating the world’s biggest free trading area with Stella

In terms of trade, the coming into force of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement purports to create the biggest free trading area in the world. It creates a market of over 1.2 billion people, with a majority population below 30 years. This represents the future work force for the continent and the current and future consumers of goods and services.

Suffice to say that Africa is the future. These innovations and regional as well as continental trade groupings are shaping the business and investment landscape and the development aid received from the west to sub-Saharan Africa. The innovation drive is a big motivation for foreign direct investments in Sub-Saharan Africa, while investment aid is increasingly channelled toward creating enabling legal and regulatory environment for sustainable business development and growth.

With this growth trend, comes the need to make policy reviews and changes aimed at creating business friendly legal frameworks across the board. My expertise in regional trade, trade policy and foreign investment facilitation in East Africa, allows me to consult on sustainable development projects coming from Europe to Africa, essentially for private sector development and trade policy-related technical training for policy makers in Africa.

You just started at The Library, so it might be too soon to tell, but do you think coworking will have an impact on the launch of your business?

Since I have just launched my consultancy business in Europe, I found The Library co-working space an excellent environment to touch base in Europe. Its central location in Brussels, the heart of Europe, puts me in proximity to global development influencers and international policy makers. The Library brings me in contact with members is various professional fields from whom I hope to get insights on how to navigate the highly competitive business environment in Brussels, not to mention the power of networking in terms of referrals with their networks. The library also offers me an insight into the work culture in Europe but in less formal structure. It gives me room to adjust to my new environment in a less stressful way. Above all The Library in a special way has given me a space to keep my career goals alive while also looking after my child.

Read more about Stella here: www.nalwoga.com

Taking a walk with Stella of Stellar Walks

When I say that our members come from diverse industries, I am not kidding. Stella is not only from a super exotic place (Iceland), she also runs quite a unique concept and has made a success of it since arriving in Brussels almost two years ago. Stella organises walking tours of Brussels and will give you a whole new view of our city.

 

Exciting guided tour of the city centre of Brussels. It sheds light on the history of the city, interesting places and buildings.

She was super friendly, very clever and we just had the best experience. I would highly recommend this tour for everyone!’ Stella, this is one of your raving reviews on Tripadvisor. How are your tours different from other guided tours?

 I was repeatedly finding myself having the conversation “is there really something to do or see in Belgium?” with people who have never visited or only been here on short business trips. In my view, Brussels is one of the most misunderstood cities in Europe. In a way, I had become an advocate for the country and city because I simply love it myself. Since my mother language is Icelandic, I decided to emphasise that, offering Icelandic visitors a tour in their own language. We all know how much easier it is to listen and discuss topics in your own language, no matter how good you are in English. Also, when guiding your fellow countrymen, you have a better insight in what could interest them, make connections or compare to something from their own culture. It simply creates a relaxed atmosphere.

That is not to say that I only guide in Icelandic. I also speak Swedish and English so why not offer the tours in Swedish and English as well!

On top of that I tell stories from my own personal experience having lived one year in Bruges when I was a child, then in Brussels as a teenager around the turn of the century (It just sounds so funny to say it like that) and finally now again since the summer of 2017. All in all, a personal and Nordic approach to the history and culture of Belgium.

 

You told me once that you are a Wikipedia nerd, do you have any tips for remembering all these things about the city?

 Ahh, that´s a good one! The facts, stories and tales I have no problem remembering simply because I find them so interesting. I am not so good at remembering dates and in what year something happened, a challenge for a guide for sure!

This may sound silly or strange and it’s a bit hard to explain. I first try to connect it to something on a personal basis. I connect dates, months or even years to, for example, birthdays of family members. Then I add or subtract from that. Like if one my parents was born in 1961 and something happened in 1861, it’s simple to subtract a century or so! On top of that I have favorite numbers like 6 and 9, so if I see them, I have an “anchor” and can use my system with that. I know this sounds way more complicated than just remembering the year and the date, but it works for me!

 

You’ve been at The Library less than a month now. How is coworking effecting your work-life balance?

 It does create more of a distinction between the two, now that i am not only working from home. It really helps to leave the house and the distractions like the to-do list at home, and to concentrate only on what i’m doing for my business. On top of that it is very energising to meet others who are doing completely different things but still learning from them at the same time. It´s mind blowing to see the creativity, resourcefulness and entrepreneurship of others.

 

For more information about Stellar Walks or to book a tour, contact Stella directly.

www.stellarwalks.com

www.instagram.com/stellarwalks

www.facebook.com/stellarwalks

stellarwalks@gmail.com

+32 476 57 10 69

Finding your voice with Inês

Inês is a recent Portuguese import to Brussels. And with her she has brought extraordinary insight into the power of your voice. Your voice is an amazing tool for you to achieve goals and to be perceived in the right light. We’ll let Inês do the explaining herself.help professionals use their voice with authenticity and confidence

Inês, your company is called Voice Power Leadership, how do you see the connection between these three concepts?

Well, it was a 10 years journey to bring them together! The voice is an instrument that reflects your inner self and personality, body and mind. When used properly, it empowers you. Not only in your personal life, but also in your professional life where you want to share your thoughts with others, collaborate with colleagues, persuade clients/teams and influence those around you. Using the voice with quality is a starting point for you to become a leader in your field.

 

All your confidence, enthusiasm and assertiveness is mirrored in the voice. Sometimes the problem can be just your breathing, which is quickly managed, and other times it is deeply related to the way we see ourselves. I believe that all the resources are inside of us and the goal is to bring the natural voice that everyone has out. This concept is explored in my book ”The Secret Power of Voice” (in Portuguese only, for now, unfortunately). This work is called “Vocal Coaching” and not “Vocal Therapy” (even with my background in speech and language therapy). It’s a process where people have a specific goal for which the voice is highly needed (speaking in public, meetings, conferences, TV, radio) and they are committed to being a better speaker – occasionally or every day – depending on the goal.

 

How do you help people develop their voices?

My purpose is to help professionals use their voice with authenticity and confidence. I work the voice using an integrated approach, helping my clients to communicate with more impact. Through personalised training, I facilitate the discovery of their best voice. The training covers topics such as posture, breathing, resonance, vocal variety and extension, intensity and vocal projection, expressiveness, relaxation and vocal warm up.

 

I help people with techniques that allow them to align their voice with the message, keeping the public focused and interested, show confidence and presence, improve the clarity of speech, use effective voice modulations, insert strategic pauses into the speech, protect and take care of the voice, reduce fatigue and tiredness, avoid mistakes that harm the quality of the voice, and achieve a more professional and credible image when speaking. With these tools, people achieve autonomy, effectiveness and quality in their communication.

 

Many of your sessions take place at The Library. What attracted you to The Library in the first place?

I discovered The Library just a few days after I came to live in Brussels. I found a room with space, natural light, quietness, beauty and where everyone feels comfortable. That’s the way I like to work with my clients (leaders, politicians and other professionals that work with their voices). The Library Ambiorix had all these ingredients as well as the advantage of the proximity to the European Commission. I’m enjoying also the networking opportunities and business synergies that happen between The Library Members. I hope it will be a long and productive collaboration between all of us.

 

Inês works with face-to-face sessions and online sessions, coaching, consultancy and training for individuals and groups. For more information on Vocal Coaching and to meet Inês, you can contact her here: www.voicepowerleadership.com

Inês Moura’s LinkedIn

 

 

Join the workshop Introduction to Design Thinking

We are pleased to invite you to the Introduction to Design Thinking workshop at The Library Ixelles on 28 March at 18.00. During this fast paced mini workshop, Library member, Robert Vos, will take us through all the stages of a specific user journey ending up with solutions that will improve that experience. For those that provide a service or work in service delivery it’s an interesting way of getting introduced to some tools. For everyone else it is a way to spark creativity in a very structured way.

But first, let’s get to know Robert a bit better…

 

Robert, you are bringing design thinking to the public sector through The New School. How did you come up with the idea for this line of work?

I’ve been working in the public sector for the last eight years and the focus was always on service delivery. Because the business case is never the most important element in that sector, there’s a big risk of just deciding for users what the want and need instead of involving them in the process. After working in a government innovation lab, I realised that building a knowledge base on how to design services and products around and with users was a necessity. That’s when I starting working the idea of a school that does exactly that. 

How do you invite innovation into your life?

I get inspiration in many ways, not just through technology. I try to keep an open mind and stay curious because it helps me try new things and experiment. Whether it’s an app, a habit, 10 minutes of meditation or building a learning experience, it all involves the same mind set. I look at innovation as a work in progress.

 

Where do you get inspired for your business?

Basically from everything: Movies, stories, other businesses and nature. I’m a big reader and podcast lover. That combined with trying to look at global trends in my sector helps me come up with new ideas. I also buy a random magazine every month about a topic I know nothing about. Indie magazines are great for that. Diving into these unknown worlds helps me realise there’s so much more to do and learn.

 

What brought you to The Library and how is coworking working out for you?

I was looking for a workspace that had all the benefits of being a home without being at home with the distractions that come with it. Someone with my attention span needs a calm and welcoming space that contributes instead of distracts. And that’s exactly what The Library does. 

 

Do join the workshop, please email Helena at hc@thelibrarygroup.be to be registered to attend.

All you need is an audience…

All you need is an audience…

It was a beautiful summer evening, when I sat down with Marianne next to me, Peppe joining us from LA and a microphone between us.

I know Marianne from The Library, where she is a member in co-working and when she asked me to appear on her podcast series ‘Det kommer att bli bra’ (translated from Swedish: ‘Everything will be fine’), I was honoured and also wondered what I would have to say. Well, a lot it turned out. Incredible how much you can talk about yourself if people are willing to listen…

Anyway, we touch upon a lot of subjects within entrepreneurship, gender, womanhood, expatriation and much more. The first couple of minutes are in Swedish and then we switch to English. I hope you’ll like it.

You can read more about Marianne and Peppe on their homepages below

https://www.jeanetteohman.com/

http://www.grandnord.se/

Italian fashion has landed at The Library Ixelles

One of the things we love about The Library is how diverse the members are. One of our newest members at The Library Ixelles is handbag company Melina C.

 

Melina, how do you come up with your designs? What inspires you?

My homeland, Italy, is my main source of inspiration. Each bag in the Melina C collection bears the name of a village in North-Eastern Italy (Grado, Spilimbergo, Caorle, etc.): it’s a symbol and homage to the beautiful land of the Friuli Venezia Giulia and Veneto regions. The design, the choice of the leather, the production…everything is 100% made in Italy.

 

As every entrepreneur knows, there are so many choices to make regarding marketing, distribution and points of sales. Your approach is quite different and interesting.

I decided to invest in a new concept, in order to reinvent the buying process itself. When women want to buy bags, they either go to a shop – where they do not receive any advice for their purchase, but at least can touch the product firsthand – or shop online – where bags are probably cheaper, but they are still left with no advice whatsoever. I decided to give them a third option: to buy the bags at a house party, where a “Fashionista” (a fashion expert) will reveal precious secrets on how to choose the perfect bag according to their own silhouettes and colours, letting them feel the different types of leather, giving suggestions on outfit/bag matches and much more.

 

If anyone would like to become a Melina C fashionista, how should they go about it?

If anyone wanted to become a business man/woman and organize fashion parties with his/her friends and earn some money at the same time, they should totally have a look at our website page here where they can find all the information they need.

Finally, how did you find The Library and has coworking already influenced your work in any way?

I discovered The Library on line, but later found out that we have some shared connections – it’s a small world! I believe it is a great network, full of possibilities. My Business Visibility Manager, Giulia, says that coworking helps her focus and be more productive, so we both truly appreciate how it is influencing our work.

https://www.melina-c.com/

Student job at The Library

The Library Ixelles, The Library Ambiorix and The Library Europe are part of a whole new type of business centre focusing on great service and beautiful décor.

 

Receptionists wanted for The Library

We are now looking for a student to work as receptionists/hosts/hostesses at The Library Group.

The job entails:

  • Manning the reception, answering phones, handling post, handling minor IT/printing issues
  • Greeting guests for our clients, offering drinks and snacks, catering to the meeting room
  • Cleaning up the public spaces at the end of the day and preparing them in the mornings
  • Maintaining miscellaneous secretarial services for our clients
  • Helping out at parties and events

 

Qualifications

The Library will stand out for the unparalleled level of service and personal attention. If you get a kick out of putting our client’s needs before your own, then this is the place for you. You must have perfect English and French skills. Knowledge of the Nordic languages/culture is a plus. You must be presentable, polished and know how to dress, when jeans and sneakers are not an option. Creativity, a responsible nature and a sense of humour are also vital.

 

What we can offer

A stylish, fun and creative environment with contact to lots of small businesses. A great learning experience for the future and a part in our success as we grow together. You’ll join a team, where we have a lot of fun, look out for each other and genuinely like hanging out together.

 

Please note that this job takes place during the day on weekdays; so if you are only available evenings and weekends, then there is no need to apply.

 

Please send your CV as well as a short motivation for your application (in English) to Head of Events, Erica Herklotz at eh@thelibrarygroup.be.

Read more about The Library here or on the Facebook page or Instagram pages – The Library Brussels.

Behind the scenes of the coworking movie at The Library

I hope you enjoyed the movie? We’ve been wanting to show off our coworking, private offices and stylish meeting rooms for ever. Actually, Vita June (of Vita June Studios) and I talked about this movie for years until I finally got it together to decide to do it. Incidentally, Vita was one of the first Library members to move in to The Library Ixelles, where she still works. So not only is she artistically gifted, she also knows almost as much about The Library and its’ journey as I do.

Why the childhood references in the beginning?

I thought it would be nice to explain the name ‘The Library’ and also to illustrate the twists and turns that life brings that can take you from hanging out with your mum at the library on a remote Danish island to launching The Library Group in Brussels. I always meant the name – The Library – to be a tribute to my mum and this is a way of showing it.

What does the tapping foot mean?

There are a lot of symbolic references in the movie and this one is meant to show the impatience and high tempo connected with being an entrepreneur. And then it works well with music of course.

Where is this filmed?

All of the scenes are filmed at The Library Ambiorix. I’d have loved to show all three Libraries, but we wanted this movie to be about the atmosphere rather than have it be a tour of real estate. And for practical reasons, it also made sense to stay in one location. So it became The Library Ambiorix, because of the blue meeting room and the special door handles. If you look closely, you can see that they are shaped like lion’s heads: a fantastic, original detail from the 1920s.

What’s with the cakes?

From the beginning, I wanted this enormous Alice in Wonderland, magical, over-the-top cake. Because it kind of is over-the-top that Library members eat homemade cakes and cookies and energy bars several times a week, right? So the big cake was a given. Then we came up with the idea of having the little cake to illustrate the time, when I was on my own, working from home in solitude, ‘searching for hygge’. And then of course it grew to a big cake as The Library grew. Luckily, our colleague, Erica, is also a cake decorator and she really outdid herself with these two. What you can’t see in the movie is how wonderfully they smelled and tasted.

 

Who are these gorgeous people acting as Library members?

Well, the beauty of it is that all these people are or were Library members, who also became my friends. You really do make friends in coworking…So no acting required really. And they all have such great charisma that I just knew they would light up the screen. Our main issue was Oliver being too charming, so we’d had to keep re-shooting the scenes due to too much giggling.

 

Are the flowers real?

Of course! My 92 year old mother in law spent weeks contacting garden centres in Holland waiting for Hydrangeas to come into season, while we were all crossing our fingers that it would happen before we were set to shoot. For weeks after the shooting, you could see them all over the Libraries. Just like the cake, the idea was to take something that is a given at The Library (homemade cake and fresh flowers) and play up the magic of it by making it bigger and even more beautiful.

 

Where does all this Danish design come from?

The poster of Ærø (the island where I grew up) is from Vissevasse, the coffee cups are from Kähler, the plates and teapot from Royal Copenhagen and the wooden tables have been custom-made for The Library by Recollection. The round sofa table is from Menu. Wallpaper is from Tapet-Café, the pendant lamps are from Le Klint and the little porcelain pieces here and there are from Ditte Maigaard. Finally, my jewellery is from Marianne Dulong, which is the company I worked for, when I was working from home (post-The Library). In other words; a few of my favourite things…

 

Is there anything you would do differently?

I would get more sleep before the gruelling 13 hours of shooting, but otherwise everything went according to Vita’s super coordinated plan. Despite an un-seasonal snowstorm in Brussels, everybody made it on time and we had a lot of fun together as I think you can see. My favourite part was filming the cake and the flower scenes, because both cakes and flowers looked exactly as they had in my imagination. And then of course watching Vita work and having my friends – members and colleagues – come together to help me make a Library movie.

Just magical.

The secrets of an organised, entrepreneurial life (coworking)

On Wednesday 6 June, The Library Group will host a ‘Business Freedom Formula’ workshop in our coworking with the coaching company, Damarque, run by Library member Marc God. The workshop will take place at The Library Europe as of 18.00 and is open for Library members, coworkers and their friends. Here are a few insights behind the idea.

 

Marc, you run both fit20 and a coaching business. Will this workshop share some of your secrets to living an organised entrepreneurial life?

Yes, absolutely. Only, these are not actually secrets to live an organised entrepreneurial life, but proven tools and strategies that help you to generate more balance, success and happiness. Not every tool fits everyone; you have to try them out and see which ones work best for you and your company.

 

Is there a link between mental fitness and physical fitness and is that why you got into the fit20 business?

Yes, there definitely is a link between mental and physical heath and fitness. The saying ‘Animo Sane In Corpore Sane’ fits perfectly with my vision. When you are physically fit, research has proven that you are happier too. And happier people are more successful. This squares the circle. For me, my physical wellbeing has always ranked high on my priority list and even more so now that I am an entrepreneur. Fit20 targets busy professionals who want to stay fit and healthy in the most efficient way. These are the same people that we target with our business coaching work.

What can we expect to take away from your workshop on 6 June?

During this highly interactive event, participants will get an introduction to the Business Freedom Formula. We invite them to take a close look at their business & their life and discover the obstacles to reaching the next level. We offer practical tools and strategies for improving their business that can be implemented the next day. My business partner Joeri Billast, our digital wizard, will discuss how the power of digital marketing can be unlocked to attract your ideal clients and accelerate your business growth.

 

https://damarque.com/

Meet Monika The cosmopolitan communicator from Cologne

Monika is one of those quick-minded people, who immediately know what they want. Luckily for us what she wanted was The Library Ixelles. We asked Monika a few questions about her professional life, projects and city preferences.

 

Monika, you are a journalist by trade, but what areas do you work with now?

As a journalist and reporter I worked mostly on issues of development cooperation, EU development policies, global sustainability, environment, energy and climate, EU-Africa relations, human and social rights, gender, trade/fair trade and the like. I have reported for newspapers and radio – from numerous countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. In Brussels, I work mostly as a moderator of public panel debates – also with a strong focus on global sustainable development. Apart from that, I offer tailor-made media, presentation and communication trainings as well as support for strategic communication for individuals as well as for organisations and institutions, including the EU commission, namely the DG Development, DevCo.

Still, at the moment I am also looking for new areas of work – and I would like to incorporate more cultural and intercultural topics into my activities.

 

You travel between Brussels and Cologne for work. Is the professional and social vibe different between these two cities and what do you like best about each city?

That’s a tricky question, since Cologne is my hometown and I am surely a bit biased when it comes to judging it. But, yes, the vibe is different in both cities – with Brussels being much more cosmopolitan and also offering more interesting professional opportunities. Cologne, on the other hand, has a strong tradition of its own – e.g. it has one of the biggest Carnival in the world, believe me – and that is something I also like about this town. At the same time most of the people in Cologne are quite open-minded and welcoming to foreigners. There is some kind of “easy-going”, “live and let live” attitude.

Nevertheless, despite the ties that I still have with Cologne and my friends over there, I took the decision to spend more time in Brussels and focus on activities over here. This is also due to the fact that I feel very much at home in Ixelles and the beautiful neighborhood around Chatelain, where I live.

 

What brought you to The Library and has coworking had any impact on your work?

I happened to see an ad of The Library on Facebook a few weeks ago, after having been searching for a co-working place here in Brussels for quite some time without finding the right place. What I liked very much was that one could try-out The Library for a day. I chose The Library in Ixelles, because it is close to my house – and I must say I was convinced right from the start. The beauty of the building, the warm “acceuil” and the concept of this “office hotel” with its splendid Danish touch seemed very pleasant to me. The fact that I ran into one of Anne-Sofie’s special lunch offers the very first day might have also contributed to my quick decision to become a Library member. Now, after roughly four weeks of membership, I already feel very much at home in Rue de l’Aurore. Co-Working here for me means to get out of isolation, that freelancers and independent consultants often suffer from. It also means to make new and inspiring contacts – especially because The Library brings people from different professions together. People that most probably would not meet elsewhere. So, working and thinking “out of the box” is really made possible here.

Coworking in Belgium

Coworking in Belgium

Are you an entrepreneur or freelancer in Belgium interested in linking up with like-minded professionals? You might want to join a coworking space. Belgium’s coworking culture has grown rapidly in recent years, with Brussels now a hub of flexible, independent workers.

Anne-Sofie Rehfeld, founder of The Library Group (which offers three coworking spaces in Brussels), takes a look at coworking in Belgium and explains how to get involved.

Coworking is a modern way of organising workspace. In the 21st century digital age, it enables those who can carry out their work from a remote location – freelancers, entrepreneurs, startup businesses, digital workers – to work in a shared physical space, collaborate and become part of a professional community.

An increasing number of entrepreneurs and flexible workers are opting for coworking in Belgium. Nearly 15 percent of the workforce is self-employed – including many expats – and the country is one of the most digitally advanced in Europe, home to over 2200 tech startups Coworking spaces have proliferated over the past decade, particularly in Brussels. Belgium’s bustling capital contains over half of its coworking places and even hosted a Coworking week in 2017.  

A coworking space in Belgium will typically offer:
  • office space along with wifi and use of office equipment such as printers and scanners
  • access to meeting rooms
  • opportunities to collaborate and network with other members on-site and at social events
  • use of kitchen facilities including tea, coffee and refreshments
  • other benefits such as mailboxes and parking facilities

 

“Our three Libraries in Brussels offer traditional office facilities with a unique flavour and additional services including clubs, workshops, a range of fun social activities for members, and even dry cleaning and recommending babysitters!”, says Anne-Sofie.

Benefits of coworking in Belgium

Increased productivity: coworking gives freelancers and entrepreneurs the chance to work together, learn from each other and form new partnerships which can boost performance and growth.

Socializing: it means that talented independent workers in Belgium – especially expats – don’t have to work in isolation. “I moved to Brussels 8 years ago and found myself utterly disconnected since I had left family and friends behind and was working from home”, says Anne-Sofie. “Coworking gives you a place to belong and makes you feel more at home.”

Money savings: coworking offers startups and small businesses an alternative to paying for their own premises and tying themselves into a lengthy commitment. As Anne-Sofie explains: “Your membership fee is made back ten-fold through your own increased productivity and through the partnerships you’ll make.”

 

If you feel as if coworking could be right for you, read more here

Happy returns to Ilse

It’s wonderful to have people come back to us. This time we’ll have a talk with Ilse, who was one of the first members at The Library Ixelles and has just come back to us at The Library Europe.

 

Ilse, I know you have many interests in life, but what would you say are your main areas of work?

At the moment I work in three main areas: hosting and facilitating of meaningful conversations in participatory group processes, teaching Kundalini yoga and promoting the fresh, vegan and organic products of the Austrian company Ringana.

 

The hosting work includes a wide range of issues in the political area from team meetings to big conferences with some hundreds of people. My clients are those who have realised that we waste a lot of our lifetime in meetings or events that are not meaningful to us. There are these moments when someone talks and all the others are checking their phone, right? The approach of the Art of hosting, which is my toolbox, is to define a strong purpose before an event, carefully inviting the right people and then hosting them so that they can really contribute. Therefore at the beginning progress seems to be slower but at the end it pays off because they are all on board.

 

Over the years I realised that my strength is in holding space, something that sounds weird and that is not easy to grasp. You only feel it when it is not there. That is also what I do when teaching Kundalini yoga: Holding space for my students in order to make their experience possible. I started my teacher training mainly because I wanted to know more for myself and go deeper. But then there was the moment, when Kristen, my teacher and the owner of Radiant Light Yoga invited me to teach. Now I teach at her studio close to Schuman and private classes.

 

When Ringana came into my life I immediately decided to become a Fresh partner. I come from the region in Austria where they are based and above all I just love their clear and honest philosophy behind the skincare and supplements. At the moment there is nothing “greener” on the market: Fresh ingredients, sustainable, vegan and organic. Since we do not use preservatives we have 100 % of the flacons and bottles for what really serves the body.

What made you interested in the skincare business and do you think Belgium is ready to go vegan?

Yes, I do think that Belgium is ready to go vegan. When I arrived in Brussels over nine years ago there where only few little organic shops, now you can find a big variety from supermarkets, markets and other shops. Reducing waste, living a healthy and sustainable lifestyle and preserving our planet for future generations have become big topics. So we are much more conscious what goes on around us and what we put on and in our body. Ringana is high tech care coming only from nature with a touch of luxury and simplicity. What it also offers is a green business opportunity that you can start as a side business and from wherever you want. I am building up my team here in Belgium now and people who join me clearly see the advantages: You are free, work from wherever you want, without any commercial risk in a growing market. Ringana is on the market for more that 20 years and grows between 30 and 40 % a year and last year even 50 %. If you want to be part of this rapidly expanding idea please do not hesitate and get in touch with me.

What brought you to The Library?

Well, I can tell you what brought me back to The Library 😉 I was there at the very beginning at the Library Ixelles and I loved the unique concept from day 1. Then I quit because I started to travel more and not really using it. But last year I felt that it is time to move in again. I was super happy when there was a free space at The Library Europe whereI work now. For me it is a wonderful mix of beauty, warmth, personal touch, professional service, and much more. Overall I can say I feel well hosted while being able to concentrate on my projects.

You can contact Ilse here: ilse@pogatschnigg.eu

or read her Blog here:

And read more about Ringana here:

 

Looking for a personal leadership style? Head to the Grand Nord

I was very excited to meet Marianne this winter as she shares a lot of the same values that we believe in at The Library; empowering entrepreneurs, Nordic work-life balance and achieving sustainable growth. We asked her a few questions to get to know her better.

What is your main area of work?

Leadership development through training and coaching for individuals and organizations. My passion and ambition is to support future leaders in finding a sustainable and personal leadership style. To support organizations in growing and keeping talents (especially women) in their organization and to be a partner and sounding board for entrepreneurs. My experience is from international organizations and I really enjoy working with different cultures and languages.

 

You have travelled a lot and lived and worked abroad for many years. How do you find working in Belgium, compared to the other countries you’ve lived in?

I am new in the Belgian work environment at the same time as I am new to the life of an entrepreneur. But so far, I do find Brussels open and people eager to help and find solutions. I love the international atmosphere, it is exactly as Geneva where I used to live and work but more relaxed and down to earth.

 

What brought you to The Library?

I was looking around for meeting rooms to have somewhere to meet clients. Visiting the Library Europe, it was love at first sight. Anne-Sofie kept inviting me to events at Ambiorix and Ixelles and after a few months I just could not resist even though I was quite happy to work from home. I was amazed by Anne-Sofie’s networking skills and the positive and friendly energy in the buildings. I am now in the co-working at Ixelles since a couple of weeks and just amazed what I can get done in a day. Starting the day with a clear desk, being outside my home and around inspiring people.

You can learn more about Marianne and what she can offer here: http://www.grandnord.se/en/start/

Welcome to the embassy of Hygge

HYGGE (”Heu-Gah”)

The art of building sanctuary and community, of inviting closeness and paying attention to what makes us feel open-hearted and alive. To create well-being, connection and warmth. A feeling of belonging to the moment and to each other. Celebrating the everyday.

 

Five years ago, I was looking for a place to work in Brussels that would be as cosy and friendly as my home, but with the added bonus of other people and office infrastructure. I wanted it to be a place, where you would feel personally welcomed, where you could snack on something homemade, where people had obviously made an effort before your visit and where your shoulders would drop to a normal level and you would catch yourself humming for no good reason. Sum up all of that and you get the essence of ’hygge’.

 

Over the years, the word hygge (I’ll drop the ’’ now that you get the idea) has become more and more widespread and has even made it into the Collins English Dictionary topping the list of new words in 2016 – right after Brexit. Which funnily enough is exactly the opposite of hygge, but that’s another subject. It’s even become well known in Belgium, although the actual definition seems somewhat hazy to people. Some think it’s like a sport you practice – Nordic mindfulness if you will. Some think it’s mainly about cakes. A journalist even called me recently to interview me about how to add hygge to an evaluation meeting with your boss. Which, for the record, you can’t really do. It’s not a magic wand, people. Lighting a candle, pouring tea, smiling and each other and then discussing lack of performance just doesn’t mix all that well.

 

Anyway, I thought I’d make an un-prioritised list of moments of hygge that you can cross-reference with your Library experience at your leisure:

 

  • Friends invite you over for dinner. When you arrive, there is music playing, the table has been set, there is something cooking in the kitchen. Glasses and snacks are already on the table. Your friends sit you down and ask how you are, like really are. Do you see the effort and attention that went into this? It means you are all set for a hyggelig evening.
  • It’s been a long week and you are a bit edgy and stressed out, but some of your coworkers ask you along for Friday drinks and you end up talking and joking for an hour or two, while having a few drinks. When you leave you feel a bit lighter and ready to start the weekend (you’d be surprised by how much drinking goes on at Danish workplaces).
  • It’s raining outside, you light some candles and tell the kids to come help you make pancakes. The togetherness mixed with sugar and jam contrasted with the cold, dark outdoors makes this super hygge. (It works best with some dark, Nordic winter outside, maybe also some trees swaying in a storm).
  • Your colleague has a birthday coming up, so you conspire with your coworkers to get a cake (homemade or bought, it doesn’t matter, it’s the thought that counts) and you all sit down to enjoy it together, leaving emails, phone calls and bosses be for half an hour to enjoy making somebody else’s day.
  • Surroundings: You can create hygge by adding personality to your home or office, such as adding artwork that means something to you, incorporating textiles and smaller lamps rather than overhead lighting, making sure it smells nice everywhere and that you are not too stressed out by clutter.

I think you see a trend here that hygge is about making a small effort for somebody else or for yourself to make your day just a little better. I hope that this is what you feel when you step into The Library, even if you didn’t know that it had a weird, unpronounceable name.

www.thelibrarygroup.be 

 

 

The glorious and strenuous art of networking: Tips and tricks from the field

When I first started considering The Library Group five years ago, these were the facts:

 

  • I knew only a handful of people in Brussels, none of which were potential clients
  • The concept was not easy to understand and needed personal explaining/pitching
  • I had no money for advertising, so promotion had to be done by word of mouth

So it seemed clear that my only choice was to get out there and meet more people. People who could become clients, people who could tell their friends about The Library, people who could be employees or suppliers. And since I didn’t know that many people (I think my initial loneliness in Brussels is clear to the reader now), I would have to do it ALL ALONE. Like seriously on my own. Like showing up to places knowing NOBODY. I have to use caps lock to underline the effort this took.

So night after night, I forced myself out of my cosy home to go meet strangers in contexts that were often less than ideal. Based on this hard-earned experience, I’ve put together a few points for networkers and networking organisers.

Networking Tops & Tricks

You are a networker:

  • If you show up to an event and discover that there is not one single familiar face in the crowd, resist the urge to pull out your phone. It makes you completely unapproachable to stare at your screen. Find the organiser and ask them bluntly to introduce you to somebody. Once you know one person, you’ll be okay.
  • Listen more than you talk. If you strike up a conversation with somebody new, ask questions. You are bound to have at least one thing in common. The more you ask, the more the other person will feel seen and heard and will remember you fondly.
  • If you make two contacts in one evening, then you’ve done great. Don’t expect to walk away with a list of clients or connections. Just two is fine. Some of my most loyal clients and best friends came from chance encounters. Quantity is not a goal here.
  • Giving is the new getting. Be generous with your contacts – people remember helpfulness (sadly because there is not enough of it going around). So connect people as much as you can, even if there is no immediate gain for you. Example: Since I launched The Library Group, we’ve been sponsoring events for the Leadarise organisation. At almost any networking event in Brussels, there is at least one Leadariser, who I can hang out with.

You are a networking organiser:

  • You wanted people to show up to your event, now make it worth their while: Start introducing them to each other. Prepare beforehand by mentally summing up what you know about your guests on an individual basis. Do you not know them at all? Look them up at LinkedIn.
  • Don’t spend time with your friends or colleagues during the event. Circulate like a fidget spinner in the hands of a toddler, but make sure to dispense useful introductions as you work the room à la: ‘Hey Anna, you should meet Eric, you both travelled Iceland this summer!’. Or: ‘Monique, please meet Tom, who is looking for a graphic designer, I’ve told him all about your work’. And then spin out of there again, so people can talk. All they need is an opener…
  • Think about what food you are serving. It should be light enough to take the edge off after-work low blood sugar, but not so substantial that everybody is standing around stuffing their faces instead of talking. Also, wine is good. Really good.

Networking opened so many doors for me and got me enough clients to make it out of the early start-up years alive. And also networking is just a very un-charming word for meeting people. And meeting people is the basis of love, understanding and evolution, so you if you can learn to thrive on it, then you’ve done well for yourself already.

 

www.thelibrarygroup.be

Meet Enkhzül

All smiles and Mongolian friendliness

When Marcela, Yasmine, Robert and I first met Enkhzül, we were blown away by her positivity and easy laugh. She has now been working for The Library Group for a little more than a month and it’s time to get to know her a little better. So here are a few Q&As with this exotic beauty from Mongolia.

 

Where did you grow up and what do you miss from there?

“I grew up in different places from Ulaanbaator in Mongolia and East Berlin to Kiev, but I spent the most time in Ulaanbaator before I came to Brussels, when I was 20.

I miss mostly Ulaanbaator; it is my hometown. Of course I miss my parents and my high school friends – especially all the small talk in Russian. I also miss the Mongolian cold winter and hot summer and the steppe with its unlimited blue sky, where you will see millions of stars on summer nights”.

 

What do you like the most about Brussels?

“What I like the most is the international society, the old European buildings and the Belgian fries”.

 

Now, you’ve worked at The Library for a month, what are your impressions so far?

“I find The Library to be welcoming, friendly and interesting. The trust of The Library team and the easy conversations with the members is so fantastic. I am really happy with my choice of new workplace”.

If you need Enkhzül’s help, just contact her at eo@thelibrarygroup.be 

P.S.  If your tongue has some trouble with Enkhzül’s name, she says to please call her Zula…

 

PPS. To read more about Enkhzül’s hometown, visit: https://www.lonelyplanet.com/mongolia/ulaanbaatar

The Library : More like home

Article from Together Magazine June 2017.

 

Gemma Rose met up with the founder of The Library, a woman that defies the conventional office.

If there was an ‘ugliest office’ title, mine would hold it. I have what appears to be a cross between a cubicle and an office. It’s an office because I have four walls and a door, but it’s a cubicle because the walls are flimsy and detachable. The walls are dull; the linoleum floor is dull; the fluorescent beams are blinding; and the furniture is bland, uncomfortable and sterile. To top it off, my office is adjacent to a heavy, secure exit, since it’s located on the main thoroughfare of the building. The door is pulled open and slammed shut about a hundred times a day. After four months of enduring this, my ears hurt.

“Why should we accept a work place being so ugly?” asks Anne-Sofie van den Born Rehfeld, the founder of the Brussels-based co-working space, The Library. “Why should we buy ‘office’ lamps – which are usually ugly – for the office, just because they are called so? An office doesn’t have to look like an office.”

This reasoning sums up The Library quite perfectly. The Library’s members can opt for co-working spaces, private offices and meeting rooms, in prime locations in Brussels. Its aim is to make the office feel more like home. “I decorate it like I would my own home, and the members treat it well because they see the effort that I’ve put into it. They appreciate it and therefore feel protective of it,” explains Anne-Sofie.

She shows me around the Ambiorix premises: a stone’s throw away from the art nouveau curiosity, La Maison Saint-Cyr. The Library is a converted maison de maître, with high ceilings and luminous spaces (“Danish people believe it’s a human right for places to be well lit,” she remarks). Each room – whether it is a meeting room, office or bathroom – is tastefully, thoughtfully and personally furnished, with light touches of humour here and there. She uses Nordic colours: calming whites, blues and greys to create this cosy sanctuary. Plus, less is definitely more: no clutter or clunky furniture, just simple, mostly custom-made pieces, with usually block colours. The wooden meeting-room, coffee and dining tables are made in Denmark; and the lights are designed by up-and-coming Danish designers. Sustainability, authenticity and ingenuity are key components to Anne-Sofie’s furnishings – for example, in a corner stands her great-grandmother’s stove, which her mum retiled into a side-table.

Seven years ago, when Anne-Sofie first arrived in Brussels from Copenhagen, she was lonely. “I was working from home as a consultant, married, with a six-month year old daughter,” she says. “You don’t meet people when you work from home.” At her daughter’s crèche, she met another Danish mother in a similar set-up. To stave off the loneliness, they decided to work at each other’s houses. Anne-Sofie had toyed with the idea of signing up to co-working spaces, but she found them too corporate. “I missed getting dressed in the morning and meeting people. But I also wanted to work in a place that felt like home but still had an office infrastructure.”.

There are 100 members in total and each house is almost at full capacity. The Library runs many social events and workshops to support its members, from krav maga to managing one’s finances.

Setting up the business was not smooth sailing. “When I first started describing the idea of The Library, all the people you need to start a business – accountants, estate agents – just didn’t get it,” she says. Not only did she have the challenge of conceptualising her idea to get people on board, she also had to find the right house to rent. She invested all her savings into the idea. The nights were sleepless, and even today, they still can be. Nonetheless, the factors that keep Anne-Sofie going are self-belief, the acceptance that risk is uncomfortable and delayed gratification. “The harsh reality of what I have to pay out every month is pretty scary,” she notes. “But, if you want to build something, it doesn’t come without risk. This is where being good at delayed gratification comes in, because at one point, I know I will be comfortable.”

The gamble is paying off. The old days of filing cabinets, dreary offices and tiny cubicles are opening up to space, light and comfort. Even for the innovative players, like Google and Coca Cola, the ‘office as a play pen’ concept is becoming outdated and rather, the trend is moving towards the ‘office as a home’. Design publication The Spaces, which explores new ways to live and work, writes: “Today’s best co-working spaces are conceived as just that – places people would happily live in. And it’s the little touches of domesticity that make the difference.” As Anne-Sofie recognizes, work and home life is becoming more fluid, and consequently she hopes that The Library helps to “win some of your life back”.

Designing office space in such a way makes the business itself more attractive. “Outstanding!” beams a member, Jacqueline, who runs a small consultancy firm. “The Library inspires you to come to work. Everyone here is really welcoming, and it has a nice balance in that it pleases our more corporate clients while not putting off the smaller ones.”

According to the book Cubed: A Secret History of the Workplaceby Nikil Saval, the workplace began with the rise of the factory in the 19th century and then of modern business (accounts, insurance, shipping, banking). Imagine dimly lit cubby holes by candlelight at the beginning. Then, the 1920s office was characterised by rows and rows of steel desks, with piles of paperwork. In 1968, the workstation was introduced, made up of three sides with interlocking, adjustable walls, joining at 120 degree angles; bright-coloured storage units; a desk and a chair. Soon enough, the angles became right angles and the workspace smaller, which led to the creation of the dreaded cubicle. Thankfully, Saval believes that the cubicle will soon die out as a new way of working emerges. Whatever the future of the workplace will be, one thing is clear, people need community, company and companionship. These needs are what encouraged Anne-Sofie to fulfil her dream.

The Library’s namesake is thanks to the library of Anne-Sofie’s childhood in Denmark, where her mum was a librarian. She remembers it as a cosy, warm and friendly place. Her mum also played a key role in setting up the business. “My mum is such an inspiration,” she says, “she is very brave, and she must have given me that belief in myself.” After an afternoon at The Library, I come away with a deep admiration of Anne-Sofie’s achievement. I also come to the conclusion that The Library is an allegory for generosity and bravery, as well as being an homage to her mum.

http://togethermag.eu/library-like-home/

www.thelibrarygroup.be

Understanding beauty

Meet Heini; a talented Finn working with strategic design, creative direction and research

 

1. How did you start your career as a designer and writer?  What was your inspiration and motivation?

HL : “As many other writers, I started ‘my career’ as a child by reading nearly everything I could. I also drew and painted through my childhood, and was lucky enough to have teachers that gave me freedom to experiment with both. The founding motivation is curiosity, I guess, and later a need to make the world a bit more beautiful and sustainable place to live in. How the word ‘beautiful’ can be understood, again, is a longer story.

I work independently as a creative director on concepts and content management of print, online and spatial media around societal aspects of design. In practice, this mainly means books, magazines, online platforms, websites and exhibitions. Working independently is still always working together, and I work with an international network of visual designers, writers, photographers and other professionals. I also write essays about the relation of design, aesthetics, human environments and interaction, and wellbeing.

At first, the dual interest in writing and design led to working in fashion and design journalism, and to establishing an online fashion publication in Finland. I have degrees in fashion business and marketing, in interior architecture and as the latest, in social design at Design Academy Eindhoven in the Netherlands. Now all this is coming together both in my own research and writing, and in the projects for my clients. “

2. What is currently your business goal?

HL : ” A quite a natural next step is to work on a book of my own. I’ve been doing research on the role of experience of beauty in human well-being, and how that can be applied to the design of human environments and interactions. Writing a book is a long process, but the research and journey through philosophy, psychology, neuroscience, arts, design and architecture – even physics – is fascinating. What makes all this interesting from perspective of societal design is the development of research technologies. Bodily and psychological reactions to our environments and to other people can increasingly be measured, which provides new kind of credibility to elements that have previously been considered too intangible to really be taken seriously. “

3. Why did you choose The Library?

HL: “I was looking for a multidisciplinary co-working space and a working community with a mix of different expertise, working fields and nationalities. I found that at The Library. A variety of backgrounds and skills enables finding new perspectives and connections, and creates kind of in-between spaces from which something new can appear. The same applies to Brussels as a city, I think.

Also The Library’s contemporary classic working spaces appealed to me from the beginning. Even though people can be stressed because of work, The Library is a kind of a stress-free zone to work in.”

More info

www.heinilehtinen.com

 

Copenhagen City Guide

So you’ve become used to the ambience of ‘hygge’ (well-being and cosyness) at The Library. You’re enjoying the Danish lamps in coworking and in your private offices. Or you’ve tasted the cakes during your day in our meeting rooms. And you are wondering if it might be time to tap into the source of Danish happiness and visit Copenhagen. Here is my very personal and thoroughly tested once and for all Copenhagen City Guide.

Where to stay

Book a stay via Airbnb.com. Look around the lively area of Nørrebro, slightly posher Østerbro or gritty and hip Vesterbro.

Bonus info: I can promise you that you will not find naked light bulbs or horrendous kitchens anywhere. Danish people treat interior decoration like a religion: Something to revere, cherish and spend a lot of money on.

Or why not check out the small Danish chain of design hotels: http://www.brochner-hotels.dk

Bonus info: Both my sisters work there!

For a stay in 100% luxury and magic, check into Nimb Hotel in the Tivoli Gardens: http://www.nimb.dk

Bonus info: They put fresh flowers in their müsli and live peacocks entertain you if you eat on the terrace.

Where to eat

As you might know by now, I love porcelain. Probably from my time working for Royal Copenhagen. If you also prefer your coffee in crispy white porcelain with hand painted illustrations, then head for The Royal Café on the main shopping street of Strøget. Hidden away in a courtyard between the Royal Copenhagen and the Georg Jensen shops, you can enjoy cakes and Danish open-faced sandwiches in beautiful surroundings. http://www.royalsmushicafe.dk

In general, Copenhagen is full of great places to eat. Oh and the bakeries…be sure to try fresh bread or kanelboller (scrumptious cinnamon buns). Here are a few of my favourites:

Danish specialities, from Claus Meyer (co-founder of Noma): http://www.meyersmad.dk/spis-ude/deli/gl.-kongevej/

Chain of restaurants with THE BEST SUSHI and fantastic menus and entertainment for kids: http://www.sushi.dk

Madklubben litereally means ‘the food club’ and their slogan is ‘honesty has the best taste’, you can’t disagree with that…http://madklubben.dk

For a Paleo-style lunch, a quick ginger shot, some lumpfish roe or regional cheeses, candy or even soap products, take a stroll through the covered market of Torvehallerne…https://torvehallernekbh.dk

Amazing restaurants all of them, tremendous, the best! http://cofoco.dk

You know I like baked goods…: http://mirabelle-bakery.dk and http://lagkagehuset.dk

Where to shop

Where to not, I ask you. Here are some more of my favourites: For design classics, head to the mothership: https://www.illumsbolighus.com

Forget Inno, in Copenhagen the department stores rock: http://www.magasin.dk and http://illum.dk

For more unique pieces and little illustrations or art works, visit the tiny shops of http://www.anneblack.dk or http://vaerkstedet.getshopflow.com or Handcraftedcph (a Facebook profile, but no homepage). I also like the Danish brands Ganni, Designers Remix, Malene Birger, Baum & Pferdgarten and many more.

What to do

There is so much to see and do in Copenhagen that I don’t know where to start. Did you know that there is an enormous beach? And you can swim in the harbour? Take a train up to world famous art museum Louisiana? Admire architecture and bridges all day long? Rent a bike (don’t worry, many of them are electrical) and visit all the lakes of Christianshavn? Admire the cutest little castle and the crown jewels in the middle of the city? Browse antique shops and find new treasures on Nørrebro?

I can’t even pick a favourite neighbourhood, because I’ve lived all over the city and every area holds memories for me. But check out events and suggestions here: http://www.visitcopenhagen.com/copenhagen-tourist?_ga=1.198520751.1260462050.1433677102 or here http://www.visitdenmark.com/denmark/tourist-frontpage or here http://www.aok.dk/english

 

What to say

Hello =             Hej

Good-bye =                    Hej, hej (easy, right?)

Thank you =                  Tak

See you =                       Vi ses

Now you are ready! Enjoy your trip to Denmark.

 

Remember when you worked from home ?

 

“911 OPERATOR: 911—what’s your emergency?

ROBERT: Hi, I . . . uh . . . I work from home.

OPERATOR: O.K., is anyone else there with you, sir?

ROBERT: No, I’m alone.

OPERATOR: And when’s the last time you saw someone else? Was that today?

ROBERT: Uh, my wife . . . this morning, I guess.

OPERATOR: Anyone else?

ROBERT: I don’t think so. Well, the mailman, but that was through the blinds. I don’t know if that counts.

OPERATOR: I’m afraid not. (Pause.) I’m going to ask you to open the blinds, O.K.? Let’s go ahead and let some light in.

ROBERT: How much light??

OPERATOR: Just a little is fine.

ROBERT: O.K. (Pause.) I did it. (Pause.) It’s bright. It feels so bright on my face.

OPERATOR: That’s good. That’s how it’s supposed to feel. (Pause.) I need you to tell me what you’re wearing, O.K.?

ROBERT: You know . . . just regular clothes.

OPERATOR: Outside clothes or inside clothes?

ROBERT: Hold on, I’ll check. (Pause.) Pajamas. I’m wearing my pajamas. I could swear I’d changed into regular . . . I thought these were jeans!

OPERATOR: It’s O.K., sir. Calm down.

ROBERT: Wait, this isn’t even a shirt. It’s just my skin! Goddammit.

OPERATOR: So just pajama bottoms, then. Can we assume that you haven’t showered today?

ROBERT: I don’t know.

OPERATOR: I need you to walk over to the bathroom to see if your towel is damp. O.K.? Can you do that for me?

ROBERT: I think so.

OPERATOR: Great.

ROBERT: I’m walking over there. (Pause.) O.K., I’m here. I’m in the bathroom. I see my towel . . . .

(Muffled sobs.)

OPERATOR: Sir?

ROBERT: It’s dry.

OPERATOR: O.K., that’s O.K. Let’s get you back over to the window where the light is, all right? Walk toward the light. (Pause.) What’s your name, sir?

ROBERT: Robert.

OPERATOR: Hi, Robert. I’m Cherise.

ROBERT: Hi, Cherise.

OPERATOR: You did the right thing by calling today, Robert. I’m going to get some people over there soon to help you, O.K.? And I’ll stay with you on the phone until they get there. Do you understand?

ROBERT: I think so.

OPERATOR: Now, Robert, did you eat anything today?

ROBERT: Yes. Many times.

OPERATOR: Are you eating now, Robert?

ROBERT: I keep putting things in my mouth a lot.

OPERATOR: O.K., can you tell me what food you’ve eaten today?

ROBERT: You mean everything?

OPERATOR: Yes.

ROBERT: I don’t know exactly. I mean, I started out with breakfast before my wife left for work . . . scrambled eggs with toast and coffee . . . and then I think I maybe had a bowl of cereal when she left.

OPERATOR: Is that it?

ROBERT: Like an hour or so later . . . I had a banana with peanut butter.

OPERATOR: Did you slice the banana?

ROBERT: No. I dipped it right into the jar, because no one was watching. (Pause.) No one watches.

OPERATOR: So no plate or anything?

ROBERT: No.

OPERATOR: And that was it until lunch?

ROBERT: No.

OPERATOR: What else did you have?

ROBERT: I made a quesadilla . . . another bowl of cereal, I think . . . and some pretzels, the flat ones that are like chips. I love those.

OPERATOR: Those are good. (Pause.) And did you have lunch after that or was that lunch?

ROBERT: (Pause.) I remember ham . . . lots of ham.

OPERATOR: In a sandwich?

ROBERT: No. No sandwich. Just ham pieces. (Pause.) There were also some . . . spoonfuls of chocolate frosting, two or three . . . green peppers, I think, and yogurt. A large tub of yogurt. Peach.

OPERATOR: O.K., Robert, you understand that what you just described isn’t really lunch, right?

ROBERT: It is lunch. When there are no rules, it is lunch, Cherise!

OPERATOR: Did you at any point dip the green peppers in the peach yogurt?

ROBERT: Probably. Sorry.

OPERATOR: That’s O.K. (Pause.) Now, Robert, did you get any work done today?

ROBERT: I don’t think so. I was supposed to make a deck for a meeting and I . . . I started it . . . I started the deck.

OPERATOR: And then you stopped?

ROBERT: The Internet has fun things for me to do . . . so I did them. (Pause.) I think I played some guitar, too . . . oh, and I separated all the dimes from my change jar, which took a while.

OPERATOR: Why did you do that?

ROBERT: I have four hundred and seventy-nine dimes.

OPERATOR: (Pause.) Anything else?

ROBERT: Then I got sucked into watching a YouTube video about meerkats.

OPERATOR: A documentary?

ROBERT: Yeah. (Pause.) And then that led me to . . . other videos . . . that weren’t documentaries. . . . It’s not important.

OPERATOR: So you started to watch pornography?

ROBERT: Yes.

OPERATOR: You went from meerkats straight to pornography?

ROBERT: That’s right, yeah.

OPERATOR: (Pause.) And how long did you spend watching videos?

ROBERT: It doesn’t matter because I make my own schedule . . . you know? (Pause.) Cherise?

OPERATOR: I understand. Now, since you didn’t get any work done, do you think you may have exercised today?

ROBERT: I don’t remember. . . . It’s possible, I guess.

OPERATOR: Can you look around the house for me and tell me if you see any signs that you may have exercised? Sneakers, gym shorts, ThighMaster? Anything.

ROBERT: Uh . . . I don’t see anything, I don’t think. (Pause.) Wait, I see a yoga mat.

OPERATOR: Oh, O.K., good. Is it your yoga mat?

ROBERT: No.

(Sounds of hysterical sobbing.)

OPERATOR: Robert? I need you to stay with me, O.K.? The E.M.T.s should be there shortly, and I’m going to need you to let them in. Can you do that?

ROBERT: O.K.

OPERATOR: You mentioned a meeting earlier. What time is your meeting today, Robert?

ROBERT: Four-thirty.

OPERATOR: O.K., well, the E.M.T.s are going to help you get that deck ready and get you showered and changed.

ROBERT: It’s just a conference call.

OPERATOR: Regardless. And they’ll help tidy things up around there before your wife gets back, O.K., Robert?

ROBERT: Thank you.

OPERATOR: But, until they get there, no more eating and no more meerkat videos, O.K.?

(Silence.)

ROBERT: I work from home.

OPERATOR: Shh-shh-shh . . . I know you do.

Read more : http://www.newyorker.com/humor/daily-shouts/i-work-from-home 

Getting rid of SAD at The Library

Growing up in the long, dark Scandinavian winters does not, unfortunately, make you immune to a touch of SAD – which stands for Seasonal Affective Disorder. Basically, your classic winter slow mood, with a bit of lethargy, feelings of gloom and cravings for carbohydrates thrown in. Something has to be done!

Did you know that…

‘”In the distant past human’s lived in the outdoors and were exposed to sufficient levels of sunlight the whole year round even in the northern and southern hemispheres. However, nowadays our lives are mainly carried out indoors due to work pressures, busy lifestyles and change in social behaviours. With the advent of television and the growth in computer, phone and tablet based entertainment we spend more time than ever indoors and miss out on the light cues our body needs”.

Yup. Not great, right? However, your business would suffer if you just gave in to the season and started hibernating at home in your woolly socks with stacks of toast next to you. So to help you out of the gloom, we have invested in a SAD Therapy daylight lamp for every Library. The basic idea behind the SAD Therapy lamps is to create a simulation of sunlight, so that the receptors in the eyes can trigger the required Serotonin release within the brain for natural sleep cycles and general feelings of well-being.

It’s best to use the lamp in the morning, so you will not be too alert at night. So when you arrive at The Library in the morning, just take the lamp to your office for some light therapy or book it in advance at reception.

And then cake, Friday drinks and good company will have to do their parts as well for a gloom-free winter at The Library.

Enjoy the fake sunshine!

Meet Mattia – a Neapolitan addition to The Library Group Team

In January, Mattia, who was born and raised in Napoli, joined us at The Library Group to work at all three houses along with the rest of the team. But what is behind the handsome and friendly exterior? More friendliness and no dirty secrets, it seems…

 

1. What do you like about Brussels?

M: ” It’s a small capital, but with lots of energy. You feel part of a community unlike bigger cities like Paris and London. I also like that it is so international. You can go out with friends and speak 3-4 languages in a night. Even if it’s a small city, there is loads of things to do and lots of events going on. You can always find new things to do and to discover.”

2. You are the second youngest out of four brothers; how has it shaped your personality?

M: ” I had to fight for my rights in my family. When you have two older brothers, everything that you want, you’ll have to conquer and fight for. I always had to have discussions with especially my mum to get my first scooter, my first mobile phone or even to get the right to go out with friends.”

3. What is your favourite dish?

M: ” It depends on my mood. One of my favourite things to eat in Napoli is pizza with mozzarella di bufala. I prefer to eat at home, because meals prepared at home are always made with love and energy. “

4. What has surprised you during your first week of work at The Library?

M : ” I was expecting the members to be serious, business environment types. But the members at all three houses are so kind and have really made me feel part of a real community, where we share lunch times and experiences. It’s fresh and much more friendly than I thought.”

5. What would we be surprised to know about you?

M : ” I like cooking for other people and love organising dinners. It’s something that I had to learn since I left Napoli (and my mum). I used to be terrible at cooking and now I am actually quite good at it and will even cook for my family in Napoli and for my girlfriend of course. “

If you need Mattia’s help, just contact him at ms@thelibrarygroup.be.

 

 

 

Fashion trends at The Library Group

Meet Pierre-Antoine, young and promising high-end fashion designer with a unique perspective.

  1. How did you start your career as a fashion designer and what was your inspiration and motivation?

P-A: “I was always passionate about fashion and beauty, I studied fashion in Paris and then in Belgium at the prestigious Royal Academy of Antwerp. In 2010, after I got my degree, I moved to Brussels and I decided to start my career as a freelancer while still collaborating with big fashion brands.  My work is versatile, textile design, design of women’s clothing, creation of a loungewear collection for men and product management for other brands is also part of my activities. I also work occasionally as a producer of fashion-related events and I also give Fashion history courses and garment in Paris as part of a program for American students.

My background allowed me to launch myself as freelancer and gave me the opportunity to express myself and to understand the overall structure of the company, which is not easy to do when you are an employee. I love traveling, especially in India, Africa, the United States where I can discover different textile work that inspires me a lot for my new and future collections.”

  1. What is currently your business goal?

P-A: “I like to create connections and work on different projects in various fields. Such as art exhibitions, create and produce collections, organizing events related to fashion and beauty or entrepreneurial projects. For now, I am very satisfied with this accelerated life rhythm.”

  1. Why did you choose “The Library”?

“It all started four years ago, when a friend of mine told me about this beautiful concept. As I am still travelling often I thought that coworking will be great for me. I visited The Library and I liked very much the space and the international networking.

I also, organize workshops sometimes therefore this is the perfect place for my work projects.

Besides, it’s so close to home and I love this nice district of Brussels.”

More info:

Personal website: http://pierreantoinev.com/

Workshops makeup & Brunch: http://www.makeupandbrunch.be/

Loungewear collection: www.kuudl.com

Client Management Workshop

How to prevent or deal with unpaid invoices?

We all know how important is to manage expectations in order to maintain rewarding relationships with our clients. That’s why, we recently met with young entrepreneur and lawyer Alexiane Wyns. Together we will offer an interactive workshop for Library members on 25 October at The Library Ixelles.  We asked Alexiane a few questions to get you in the mood:

  1. What is the first step to take on how to best manage your clients?

 “Start by double-checking the financial health of your customers. I will introduce you to a few tools on how to do that. Besides, a well-informed client will be less reluctant to pay your invoice in the end. We will discuss how you can improve this step. Finally, a close follow-up of sent invoices and late payments is essential and there are many things you can do before you will need a lawyer.”

  1. What do you think Library members can learn from your workshop?

“We can see business as a game and laws as the rules of the game. There are some specific rules about payment obligations. We will learn this together by sharing our experiences and I will give some strategic tips to the participants.”

  1. How did you get to know The Library?

“I’m a volunteer at Leadarise, a network and community aimed to empower aspiring female leaders to achieve their career ambitions. The Library is a big supporter of Leadarise and we often run events at the different Library locations –  and that’s how I met Anne-Sofie.”

For more info, check out  http://www.alexianewyns.com/  or contact us directly. All Library members are automatically invited. If you are not a Library member and wish to receive an invitation, please contact us directly via this link.

“Client Management Workshop” by Alexiane Wyns will take place at The Library Ixelles on Tuesday the 25th of October starting at 17:30, rue de l’Aurore 4 , 1000 Brussels.

Let’s say goodbye to late payments together!

 

ZEN Week at The Library

Research shows that entrepreneurs and independents are more prone to anxiety and stress than people in 9h-17h jobs.

At The Library, we’ve decided to take mental health into our own hands by introducing ZEN week from 3 to 7 October. Join our free workshops and meet other entrepreneurs and fellow members.

On 3 October, members are invited to an introduction to meditation by Geraldine de la Vigne at The Library Europe from 17:00 to 19:00.

On 4 October, Library member Clarisse will give an introduction to European Law for expats. Getting your house in order is a great way to achieve inner peace. Take the workshop at The Library Europe from 17:00 to 19:00.

4 October is also the date for a workshop by Baldwin Berges on how to win more business. Improving your financial situation will combat your sleepless nights and give you more energy. Improve your sales skills at The Library Ambiorix from 18:30 to 20:30.

5 October is the date for the long-awaited stress management workshop by external coach Kat Matina. The workshop offers training and individual coaching that will completely change your ability to deal with stress and broker your energy for work and in life. Kat Matina is a founder of Relaunch Coaching (www.relaunchcoaching.com) and partner at Q3T (www.q3t.eu). She is an ICF certified coach and trainer. Her passion is to help individuals and teams foster their growth and success, achieving breakthroughs and outstanding results on the way while keeping the balance and stressing less. At The Library Ixelles from 17:30 till 19:00.

On the evening of 6 October, we invite you for a meet-up with other entrepreneurs hosted by VOKA (Flemmish Chamber of Commerce) and The Library. Hear inspiring stories by the CEO of Uber and our very own members Louis and Charles-Edouard from The Library Ixelles. The event takes place at The Library Europe from 18:00 to 20:30.

Finally, on Sunday 9 October. Pierre Antoine from The Library Ixelles will host a Makeup & Brunch event at The Library Ambiorix. Because inner beauty is not always enough… Library members get 10% off the price. Check the Members of The Library Facebook group for more information.

And on the 7th of October….we relax.  Get your ZEN on with us at The Library.

Treasure making at The Library

 

We are pleased to present another one of our Library members, a jewellery designer who deserves to be known and well known.

It’s been almost two years since Axelle Delhaye joined us at The Library. She spends her life in a beautiful world apart; timeless, sophisticated, unexpected and magical.

Each piece of jewellery is unique and her work is based primarily on the research of antique jewellery from the Victorian era. Rich symbols, Victorian designs, hidden and coded messages through precious stones are her favourite subjects.

She likes to travel the world, to visit the antique shops, to participate at auction sales and even go treasure hunting in the attics of her friends’ grandmothers.

After having found treasures, she studies the best way to offer them a new life. It is exactly this passionate, wonderful combination of past and present, which make her pieces treats for the eyes.

There is something for everyone and every taste, in all colours:

Bracelets, earrings, necklaces, flowers, insects, symbols of the country, amulets, lucky charms, precious stones, coral, pearls etc.

We are very pleased for Axelle that she is soon to take on another adventure; the opening of her shop in the well-known district of Place Brugmann in Brussels.

Discover her universe and contact her personally here: www.axelledelhaye.com

Bijoux-AXL-06201650492-WEB-©-Alexandre-Bibaut Bijoux-AXL-06201650494-WEB-©-Alexandre-Bibaut _F7A7761

 

Design and art of creativity at The Library Europe

“We Are Viewtiful” creates unique and memorable experiences for yours business.

The Library met the young and talented Chris and Arnaud, who have recently launched their own studio “We Are Viewtiful”. To demonstrate that the visual can play a key role in the image of the company, they have opted for the methodology of “user experience”. They are preparing major projects and they have reserved for us some amazing surprises.

  1. What was your motivation and inspiration for starting « We are viewtiful »?

WAV: “Chris was always passionate about the photography, that’s why at some point he decided to transform his passion into his job. He started as an independent photographer in Brussels, surrounded by professionals and with a dogged determination.  I was already working for few years as a freelance web designer in Paris on behalf of several companies and startups. Despite the distance between us, we were very close and that’s why we were always interested in each other’s projects and work. We started to work together helping and advising in order to succeed in our jobs.  Thanks to the good agreement and quality results, we have decided that the time has come to gather our talents and start our own business.  Thus, once I moved in Brussels, together with my cousin Chris, we created our studio “We are Viewtiful”.”

  1. What is currently your business goal?

WAV:  “We are a creative studio specialized in art direction and user experience. We provide tailored services according to the needs of our customers. All the projects are unique and they are based on an immersive approach and precaution. Knowing everything about the products, the brands and the consumers is essential for a good quality work. The user is always in the center of each reflection; we must know his habits, his expectations, etc. We help them design specific solutions for they goal (= user experience). The range of services that we are offering is vast: websites, photo shootings, promotional videos, graphic identities, UI / UX, etc.

We also launched a new concept “Beautiful People” and every summer, we prepare a promotional event for the artists “Beautiful Summer Party” and this year it will be the second edition of # BSP16. See you on 27th of August 2016.”

More info on: www.jesuisbeautifulpeople.com 

  1. What are you first impressions of “The Library“?

“One year ago, we were looking for coworking spaces and offices for rent in Brussels. We visited several until the day when we stumbled on the website of The Library Group. The philosophy and its charm quickly attracted us. After visiting the office and meeting the team, we decided to join this friendly community. The flexibility and ease of The Library is what we like a lot and also the credibility that we can offer to our clients. Since we became members, we are very happy, fulfilled and privileged. ☺ “

For more info about We are Viewtiful, check out their site :  www.weareviewtiful.be

Guest blog: The Library Academy

Guest blog: The Library Academy

Who would have thought that you can actually create a place that feels like a cosy boutique hotel with warm people that almost seem like they live there and still have a space that makes you want to get to work!? Our friends at The Library have proven that if you really mean it, you can do anything!

 

Early on, way before I ‘moved in’ with you all, we had talked much about making the Library a place where people could learn and grow. And as you know, there is a quite a menu available ranging from the practical all the way to the inspirational and even the spiritual. I am so glad to have been a part of that.

I am happy to announce that we will be starting a new season of The Library Academy in September! We took the best parts of last year’s program (check it out here; http://bd-insider.usefedora.com/courses/business-voodoo)and put all the lessons from last year’s experience into practice.

So here’s what’s coming:

Systematic Business Development

This is all about creating a practical system that helps you follow up with your best customers, and while you are at it, it makes sure that you are adding so much value to them that they eventually chose to give the business to you.

This is a practical session that will help you brainstorm on how to create amazing follow up experiences. The best ideas are often inspired by other lines of work. For example, what ideas can a B2B business pick up from the way a coach wins clients?

You would be amazed at how serendipitous the process behind of the greatest breakthroughs really were…

Storify Your Business

We are all wired for stories. It is how we have always shared information. When you tell a good story, people pay attention!

Knowing how to tell a great story goes a long way to conquer a place in the minds and hearts of your prospects. This is an interactive workshop where you put together a script for your business that will earn your customer’s attention.

Everybody can tell a great story, we do it all the time, even in our heads. You’ll be surprised to see that there is a format that works every time. Hint: it is the secret that those people use to make you want to watch hours and hours of all those TV series…

Future Proof

If I had a tattoo, it would probably say: “You can’t do tomorrow’s work with yesterday’s skills and expect to be in business tomorrow”.

Future Proof is an experience to think about your business and/or your career in a near future of exponential technological innovation. We’ll play a simulation game where you will need to consider your strategy to stay relevant in a fascinating, but often confusing near future.

Investor Pitches

I made this program to help people more successfully resonate with investors – also known to be the toughest ‘customers’ in town. Interestingly, the same skills to land investors are also required to convince people to partner with us. Both are essentially about money, reputation and the promise of getting results.

There comes a time when most of us need to raise capital or secure that strategic partnership that will take us to the next level, or even save our business. Regardless if you are business owner or an employee, this is a skill set that will increase your value!

So there you have it! We will be running each of these programs every month during September, October, and November. We’re running 3 rotations of the program so most of you can get the opportunity to participate.

I’ll also be running a few test versions (like a dress rehearsal) at the end of the month, so if you are in Brussels and would like to help me test drive these babies, just let me know via email on baldwin @ bd-insider.com (I put the spaces in there to keep the spam bots away).

We’ll be in touch soon to provide you with more details such as dates and venues. Another good way to stay updated about the programs is to get on my email list via :

http://www.bd-insider.com/library

If you made all the way down here, thanks for taking the time. I’m really looking forward to this. Winter is coming (or summer never came), so let’s make sure it gets nice and warm between our ears!

Take care

Baldwin

 

Wall Paper and well-being

Today we are going to look into a piece of decoration that has made a great come back these past few years, it is essential; it is Wall paper!

 

Wall paper tells a story, it makes a room lively and cosy. If you are afraid of covering all of the walls, then you can also choose to cover only one, it will still make a noticeable difference.

The creation of your  corporate image is a step forward to succeed on your own in business . This is why the three business centres The Library are located in prestigious neighborhoods in Brussels. Charming meeting rooms, offices for rent and its beautiful coworking spaces are the proof of a meticulous and daring work done by Anne-Sofie van den Born Rehfeld , founder of The Library. In addition to Scandinavian and modern style , Anne -Sofie chose Tapet Cafe to decorate three The Library.

Tapet Cafe was founded in 1974 by a Danish family. They have decorated hotels, restaurants as well as the Danish Royal Court and have collaborated with different designers such as Helen Blanche.

The choice is wide and there is something for everyone! geometric, floral, art deco or conservative. Really, have a look:

http://tapet-cafe.dk/category/products/wallpaper/

The Tea Room at The Library Ambiorix is decorated with Helen Blanche’s hand drawn Tea room wall paper (hence the name) blue birds, tree leaves flowers and branches! The room is peaceful and dreamy as the wall paper cover the entire walls.

The Library Ambiorix – Tea Room Getty images Maria Lind Photography

The Library Ambiorix – Tea Room Getty images Maria Lind Photography

 

If you like the wall paper, click on the link below:

http://tapet-cafe.dk/tea-house-paper/

In the kitchen and lounge area at The Library Ixelles, willow leaves bring freshness and even reminds us that we are indeed in summer, even when the weather is morose.

We love relaxing and sipping on our ice teas surrounded by the beautiful wall paper.

ixelles lunch

The Library Ixelles – Lunch Getty images Maria Lind Photography

If you like the wall paper, click on the link below:

http://tapet-cafe.dk/willow-510663/

Lugomedia joins The Library Europe

Discover LUGOMEDIA – full service media & EU affairs consultancy providing support in EU affairs consulting, publishing, business development, communications and event management. 

About two months ago, Aleksandra and Filip, a nice couple with grand personalities, joined us at The Library Europe. We met with Aleksandra over a coffee in our cozy Sky Room and talked about their business and future plans.

  1. Aleksandra, when did you start working on your own and what inspired you to launch LUGOMEDIA?  

“For several years I worked as a Conference Manager at EUobserver and was in charge of organizing all their EU affairs events. The more events I organized the more people showed interest in my work hence as any Business major, I saw a lot of opportunities in this. I discussed it with my boss and decided to become an ‘independent’ where I would continue to organize events for EUobserver but for other clients, as well.  In 2011, my husband Filip decided to join me on this journey and LUGOMEDIA was born. We started working from home and soon rented our first office at Place Ambiorix, then Place Luxembourg until one of our clients introduced us to The Library Group  which we became part of just a little while ago.”

        2. At the moment, what is your company’core business?

“Lately we have divided our business into 3 spheres:

  • EU affairs events(under the umbrella of EUvent www.euvent.be ) – we organizer events bottom-up for our clients. From content writing till registration, from full logistics to securing high-level speakers, moderators, drafting balanced panel discussions to ensuring press & media coverage
  • Communication, Consulting and Business Development support for our clients which include various national and regional governments, big industry names such as Google, various NGOs, most of EU Institutions and variety of others. Full list is available on our site: www.lugomedia.eu
  • Launching our own projects such as “Stakeholder Monitor,”“Upcoming EU Affairs Events in Brussels,” and a few more currently being in the development phase.”

        3. What are your first impressions of “The Library”?

“Loving it! Nice and cozy, beautiful décor, exceptionally friendly staff and very helpful team always ready to assist you with whatever you may need. The Library is a great concept which offers fancy courses and a handful of opportunities all with a purpose of making small business’ life easier.  We fell in love with it from the very beginning as it goes far beyond just a boring office space…

For more info on LUGOMEDIA, check out their site :  www.lugomedia.eu

 

The Library Europe, our Business Center is situated in the well know “quartier” by Montgomery. Besides its amazing meetings rooms, the center offers also personalized coworking spaces and astonishing offices for rent. We are so happy every time when we open the doors for new members. 
All I wanted was friends and good lighting

How I discovered coworking

In 2010, I arrived in Brussels from Copenhagen. Full of optimism and adventurousness, I was certain I would make friends straight away. What followed was three years working from home with the arrival of the mailman as a social highlight and too much day-time TV.

I realized over the time that being at home all day quite alone is not the recipe for integration and happiness in a new country. So I compiled a list with everything my dream workplace would have to offer and it looked something like this:

  1. Other people
  2. A nice smell
  3. Business networking opportunities
  4. Internet that works all day, every day
  5. Good lighting
  6. A Christmas party
  7. Inspirational events
  8. Meeting rooms that would make me proud to invite clients over
  9. Snacks

However, that place was simply nowhere to be found. Meanwhile, I found that my personality slowly turned from extrovert to introvert. It was clear that something had to be done…little did I know that coworking in a boutique business centre,  with unique offices and great meeting rooms, would be the answer. Check in in a couple of days to see how the story evolved.

Meanwhile, this little video shows pretty well, how coworking has evolved in the last couple of years:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=le0dfcG_jVw

 

Balancing events in coworking

Enjoy one-of-a-kind experience thanks to “Balance Event Design”

Since opening, The Library Ambiorix, welcomed new members to its coworking spaces, offices for rent or in its charming meeting rooms.  Members dedicated to their professions and who share with us their passions, values and expertise. Today we decided to introduce you the coworker of The Library Ambiorix, Thierry d’Otreppe and his company “Balance Event Design “. A new innovative agency, born from a desire of beauty and efficiency, specializing in corporate events. In order to find out more about its activities, The Library has interviewed Thierry during a nice coffee break in the ” Tea Room ” at The Library Ambiorix.

  1. Thierry, how did you start your business as an “Event Planner” and what was your inspiration and motivation?

T: After working as sound and light engineer for many years, in many different environments, I have acquired a certain expertise and I built myself a good network. Step by step, I refined my vision of the market and developed my creativity, thereupon I decided to start my own business. Today, my mission is to create one-of-a-kind experiences that my clients and their guests will remember for a long time. From my point of view, it is a question of balance between the traditional codes of the event, the audacity and the innovation.

  1. At the moment, what is your company’s main goal?

T: Become a major actor in creating customized and high-end corporate events.  To offer a global concept, very personalized, reflecting the image of our customers. In the innovation spirit, Balance Event Design, will launch in October 2016, its first self-production, the “Boarding Pass” event. The first Belgian event bringing together airline pilots community and active individuals in the world of aviation.

  1. What are your first impressions of “The Library”?

T:  A pleasant working environment with friendly people all over the house; a strong emulation that we can feel in the coworking and motivation and constant help of others. The Library for me, it’s only the good side of the colleagues. For more information about “Balance Event Design”, check out their website:

http://www.balance-events.be

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