166B Rochor Road
WHEN friends Mark Wee, Ken Yuktasevi, Renyung Ho started Kennel two years ago, it was literally a pioneer of the co-working movement in Singapore.
Since then, over 20 such spaces have sprung up, with Kennel also having to move with the times. While it used to be located in Dempsey, high rentals have forced the trio to find another space.
The new Kennel is now in a shophouse at Bugis, with space enough for eight desks, down from more than 20 desks before. But the concept remains the same.
"We are still creating a beautiful working environment defined by a spirit of creativity and collaboration, as an alternative to sterile service offices or Starbucks," says Mr Wee, an architect. Ms Ho is currently launching a clothing line, while Mr Yuktasevi is also an architect.
For $850 a month, members get desk space that they can access at all hours, use of the pantry and a room where they can toss ideas with each other and draw on the walls. The space has a fun vibe to it which allows for much creative thinking.
Its members come mainly from the creative sector, start-ups and traders
"We interview all of them, and try to curate a good diverse mix of people," says Mr Wee. "We are looking for shared values so that a safe but creative dynamic environment can happen which is really what people want, but is so hard to find."
He adds that he has had to kick people out before who were "just being a pain to others. We uphold values such as humility, courage, compassion, generosity, and love. So if you work in Kennel, you have to also value that spirit".
Members must contribute what Kennel calls Knowledge Bank Hours through workshops, events or lectures. "This way, everyone learns from each other," says Mr Wee.
There are also Kennel Nights, where speakers talk about their journey to success, focused around a certain theme or value. Past speakers include Janice Wong of 2am desserts, former national swimmer turned entrepreneur Leslie Kwok, and Javier Perez, founder of Japanese-Italian eatery, Kilo.
Kennel Nights are also open to the public and response has been overwhelming, with spaces filled up within two hours of registering.
"We are all searching and have a desire to do our thing, but we want to connect with others who are on the same path, or have already gone further down the path," says Mr Wee.