Meet our August That Girl, Saranta Gattie! Ultimate #girlboss and Co-founder of The Working Capitol
When we first laid eyes on The Working Capitol’s swanky new space, we only had one thought in mind: We have to set up office here! The cool co-working space is essentially a large shophouse-turned-hybrid multi-concept space set up by our August That Girl, Saranta Gattie, and her two other partners. We met with Saranta at the sprawling site and was instantly smitten by her friendly disposition and intelligence. We found her truly inspiring and deem her to be a patron saint of ambitious #girlbosses everywhere! Ahead, Saranta’s inspiring take on the challenges and triumphs of setting up one of the coolest establishments in Singers, and why she’ll always be a Sassy Girl at heart.
Can you tell us more about yourself and your role at The Working Capitol?
I’m a big believer in creating experiences – to foster relationships, interactions and unforgettable moments. An experience can be a serendipitous encounter in a café, a skills building workshop or an intimate discussion that follows from a screening.
My role at The Working Capitol is to bring and create these opportunities. To connect the dots between people and ideas, bring relevant content to the space and facilitate experimentation and collaboration. I work strategically with partners who I believe can benefit our members and their needs.
What was the inspiration in setting up a co-working space?
The inspiration was not so much to set up a co-working space, but a multi-faceted concept that included aspects of co-working, events, F&B and lifestyle. This was perpetuated simultaneously with finding such a property that could accommodate this – a quest that was luckily pioneered by my brother, Ben. Once the two came together, we were faced with an exciting project that had infinite possibilities!
We understand that you worked with many creatives for the design of the space. Talk us through the design process.
This was a unique project in many ways. The inherent architecture of this property allowed for infinite opportunities to create something beautiful, fun and unique. Working with some incredible minds – the teams behind FARM, Takenouchi Webb and Foreign Policy Design Group, the possibilities were endless. But the exciting thing was, that everyone was up for the challenge!
When we thought about the experience, we wanted to create micro-environments that could cater to different ways of working, collaborating and discovering. We thought about the spectrum of moods one might feel and the various activities people would do while working, organising or attending an event; like the need for natural light and how uplifting that can be, the ability to easily get some fresh air or grab a quick bite, the need for privacy or moments to brainstorm and come together. With these very fundamental needs in mind, we used it as a base to develop our brief and get to work!
Throughout the process it was always about coming back to our core values and ensuring that they permeated through the different aspects of the brand, the experience and the space.
What’s your favourite part/space/room of Working Capitol?
That’s really a tough one! I love sitting in different areas of the space, depending on my mood and tasks at hand. But to point out a couple spots:
- The mid-deck for its beautiful windows and natural light
- The Commons pantry and terrace for the greenery
- The Reception for its buzz of activity, people and amazing insights
Do you think Singaporeans are receptive towards the concept of co-working?
I think there’s a burgeoning trend in the sharing, peer-to-peer economy. Singaporeans are opening up more, striving for a purpose and are excited by new opportunities. But the concept of coworking is still young here and it does take some educating – which is part of the fun! It allows you to test and articulate your product in different ways, to different audiences with different needs.
Having said that, there are some amazing locally-born businesses in the space who are seizing the opportunities we have here in Singapore – they’re hungry to learn and not afraid of putting themselves out there. Of course, there’s always the fear of competition but I think more and more people are realising that collaboration is far more valuable than competition.
What are some of the challenges that you face in the process of setting up The Working Capitol?
There were the usual challenges of an old shophouse property and setting up a business. But I think the biggest challenge I faced in setting up The Working Capitol is coming to terms with the fact that there may not always be a right answer and it’s not going to be perfect… all the time! But you have to be confident in yourself and your team that you’re all working towards a common goal. The decisions are endless, but you have to trust your gut and have the ability to adapt.
In your opinion, what are some of the advantages of co-working?
The ability to meet all sorts of people working on interesting projects, at any time. It’s a physical platform for the cross-pollination of ideas. And can be particularly useful for solopreneurs and startups who require the basic infrastructural needs and services to set up a business.
How do you facilitate interaction between the tenants here?
I like that you used the word “facilitate”, because it’s exactly that. You can’t force interaction – people are busy, focused and on a mission! It’s about understanding what they want and need, from the beginning. From that, you can create the experiences and interactions that will benefit them – whether it’s a yoga or meditation session to calm their mind, a networking session for their industry, or a simple introduction, it’s about listening, putting it out there and being open.
What do you do in your downtime?
I’m loving learning new things and feeding my mind with inspiration beyond the realm of my work at the moment. I’m currently trying to cultivate my green thumb by growing my own herbs and vegetables. It can be disappointing and so rewarding at the same time…it’s a living cycle!
I’ve promised my life to a beautiful Italian man so I’m trying to learn Italian. Then I’ll try the cooking. And of course yoga, some activity and travelling are always on my to-do lists.
What qualities do you think a Sassy Girl should embody?
I see a Sassy Girl as someone who’s passionate and driven in everything that she puts her mind to. She believes in herself, has a positive outlook and can always have some fun. A trait I think is extremely sassy though is to have empathy – to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and treat them accordingly.
Do you have any advice for people who are starting their own businesses and are considering an office space?
Know your working style, the services you need to run your business and the people that will help you succeed. Then surround yourself with exactly that. Find a space and community that is most suited for you, your team and your business.
Thanks so much for your insight Saranta! You’re a real inspiration to all us Sassy Girls! Special thanks to the vivacious Shamsydar Ani Photography for the awesome images of Saranta!