Jeremy Thomas here…with a note on whats up next for Cubby Space. And a little bit more…
In the 2 short years at Cubby Space Redfern we all achieved quite a bit. Along the way I met many locals and visitors, made new friends and contacts, all whilst facilitating a super divers cultural platform with all kinds of activations in a really cool pop up space. Personally I feel it was a fantastic achievement and I look forward to the future focus of a mobile version of Cubby Space which will be as exciting and even more diverse as the pop ups were on George street.
Where Cubby Space came from?
Like all good business ideas Cubby Space was born out of the need to fill a niche market with a service that was not readily available in a certain format. Pop ups were a buzz for a while there but the lack of flexible venues was stark. Markets and malls just don’t suit certain ideas, galleries and temporary shop fronts can be outta most startup budgets and have plenty of red tape, plus there’s other challenges like tricky bump in/outs, weather and more. Cubby Space fitted perfectly to what my clients were after and with minimal red tape, a social enterprise vibe and a PR package to boot it was a recipe for success for all our amazing clients. So a big thank you to my clients, guests, friends and family is needed as you were a big part of what made Cubby Space great!
Where is Cubby going?
I, Jeremy Thomas founder of Cubby Space, have a strong events background. So taking Cubby Space mobile was a logical step, a sensible pandemic pivot. An extensive network keeps me abreast of a huge range of venues, old, new, above ground or underground and you can expect some interesting activations to take place in some cool places in the near future.
Cubby Creative was launched out of Cubby Space as a way to diversify services provided. Now helping clients with creative promotional ideas for their small business is key (focusing on building websites and content creation plans) theres always an array of entrepreneurial ideas that will fit under the Cubby Creative banner. Pop ups and activations will remain part of the product mix and I look forward to maintaining a divers set of services as one never knows what curve ball the world will throw at us now or in the future.
Whats coming next for Cubby Space?
Cubby Creative will host a series of Art and Cultural Popups courtesy of a City of Sydney matching grant. The Cubby Creative Art and Cultural Popups will support different spaces as well as emerging and established artists. A group show with artists who exhibited at Cubby Space will complement other shows with a range of contemporary styles presented. Stay tuned for more information about each show and your special invite to opening night events and more.
The following musings write the history of how the Cubby Space site came and went…take the time to read if you are interested.
A successful sequence of moving on, growing, pivoting and more.
Cubby Space was a business created out of necessity. The need to move on from a few things such as 2010 Productions the events business I built and ran successfully for 10 years but was forced to move into a container. For a number of years I’d been feeling it was time to move on from events; the long days, no breaks, working Monday to Saturday, and Sunday to start it all again on Monday starts to take it out of you even if one is having an amazing time facilitating fantastic events around Sydney. And when my hand was forced to move out of the huge successful warehouse Cockatoo Creative and pack everything into a container change was in the air. Trading out of a shipping container was neigh on impossible but paying rent to store a bunch of expensive equipment indefinitely was also stupid. So when I found a suitable site in Redfern I couldn’t sleep with the dreams that were to become actions as an escape from an old business and venture into a new kind of entrepreneurial lifestyle.
So with a hired 3.5 tonne truck the move and set up was underway. I had a strategic plan to market the sale of the old business under 2 packages; 1 Mobile Cocktail Bar business and 1 Mobile DJ business. So I packed everything into what was to be know as Cubby Space and started to promote the site as a versatile pop up space at the same time packaging what seemed like millions of items into packs and single sales. A huge ice machine, awesome glass washer, large double stainless steel sinks and more all sold quickly and well. What about tiki bars, 1000s of glasses in transport crates, random theming, cocktail shakers…the list goes on and all sold well in various packages or individually. But I kept the bones of the business such as office equipment, tools, some glassware and crockery, a small lighting and sound pack and of course my network continued to grow in this new site which was of great importance to help launch this new phase of business for me…. a social enterprise with a focus to provide a platform for artists and start ups to present pop up activations in a multicultural area.
The sale of a good portion of infrastructure provided cashflow for the first 6 months of Cubby Space and coupled with an Airbnb room the site was well on the way to breaking even.
Within a year Cubby Space was well established and Cubby Creative was born as a way to market a range of services I was building, creating, offering and running under a consistent banner.
Cubby Creative had a great foray into experiences and tourism. Tours were developed, listed, run tweaked and grew to popularity and the great reviews started to flow in bringing more avenues for marketing. Listings with Airbnb Experiences and Class Bento helped market my services to a wider audience. Joining up with Lokafy and WithLocals, both international companies, started to bring in a heap of bookings and within a relatively short timeframe I was running 2-4 tours a week to a good profit…especially considering there was virtually no expenses. But like all good things they don’t last forever and whilst the bushfires made it tricky for tourism, the rains finally came after 2.5 years of drought and when the skies cleared tourism picked up again. But that was not all that 2020 had install for us humans of the world…and along came a pandemic like none seen before.
The only constant in life is change”–Heraclitus
It seemed like overnight there were no more bookings coming through and those that had booked in advance cancelled. So bookings for Cubby Space, Airbnb Experiences, tours through Lokafy and WithLocals as well as the cash cow of the Airbnb room all disappeared within in the blink of an eye and a lockdown across Australia was enacted to curb the spread of this very infectious virus. This was certainly a hard time for me and everyone. I was fortunate to have a side project Camp Rockley, a 1/2 acre of land in a rural country town I’d recently purchased, to keep me busy. It was very important to have this sustainability project to focus on during this time…and it will always be there.
As restrictions eased I enacted another marketing push for Cubby Space. But the research and ROI was clearly indicating that Sydney would not be carrying on with business as usual and with my 2 years lease coming to an end it was clear that I was not able to commit to the +3 option to extended under the current terms. I was very fortunate to have flexible Real Estate and landlords and after some negotiation I received fantastic covid rent relief and was able to consider my next move.
And that is where we find ourselves in the Sydney Spring of 2020. The world is in turmoil but I will continue to focus on social enterprise using my privilege, knowledge and experience to help fringe cultures gain a foothold in the mass media market at the same time promoting sustainable lifestyle choices. And I’m looking forward to the challenge!