Business of Blogging,  Interviews,  Lifestyle

JIG + SAW // A Chat with Founder Christina Topacio

More than ever, women are taking the leap to become entrepreneurs, both as full time gigs and side hustles (for now). Finding a place to work outside of the home can be a little difficult: while we’ve all spent hours at a coffee shop plugging away on our laptops, it gets old real fast (especially when you need to regularly have meetings with clients).

Enter the co-work space.

While the concept isn’t new, the spaces themselves have become much more inviting, especially if you’re a creative entrepreneur. You need constant inspiration, so why not spend your time in a space that can draw it out?

I first heard about JIG+SAW last year when founder Christina Topacio hosted a series of workshops in downtown Los Angeles. My #creativetribe member Kaye McCoy was recruited to help shoot headshots during it as well, which made me happy, not only for her, but because I could immediately see that this would be a space/community where newbies would actually be able to get opportunities to shine.

I wasn’t able to attend, sadly, but I loved JIG+SAW‘s concept, and vowed to always support anyway I could (even if it was just a RT of events). I’d been reading Christina’s blog (ProFresh Style) for years, and had also chatted with her a few times when she worked in community outreach for a few brands, and one of the things that I always loved about her was that she truly was in her own lane with blogging. She never fell into that cookie-cutter blogger mode, which was extremely refreshing, and you could always tell in her writing that she was determined to do more than just show virtual support to her readers and female fellow creatives.

In January she ended her blog, because JIG+SAW is now a fully functioning co-working space and members only club! The doors opened in February and she hit the ground running with events, workshops and more. I reached out to Christina because she’s a friend in my head; I’ve watched her evolve over the years and am truly proud of what she’s accomplished. I hope to take a trip out to LA this year, and the JIG+SAW space is definitely on my radar.

Check out photos from this gorgeous space, and keep reading to find out more info about JIG+SAW!

Tell us about your own journey. How did you go from ProFresh Style to JIG+SAW?
It’s just simply transition, phasing out. Profresh Style was an ode to the journey of a 20-something. JIG+SAW is a business, pure and simple. It helped that I’ve always been community oriented, wanting to ensure I kept deep, close connections with the PS reader which parlays to JIG+SAW‘s members.

The space is beautiful. What was your inspiration behind its aesthetic + vibe?
I wanted something clean; I originally created a very masculine space to counter-balance the feminine energy about to take place but somehow the feminine energy made its way into the aesthetic. We’re neutral-toned and plant-based 😉 I love plants, so they are everywhere in the space and online. I also really love having the pop of pink to really hone the feminine energy that we ALL have within us. It’s breathtaking to witness, when a woman comes into the space, and see that kind of energy exude so naturally. Plus, we want our members to shine. So no loud colors or furniture. Just us, neutrals and plants.

What do you feel makes JIG+SAW so unique from other co-work spaces and members only clubs?
JIG+SAW is about community, first. We want to make sure we’re always serving them something real, something tangible. We like to remove the fluff and focus on the good shit. How can we grow, evolve, support and educate? Those are the questions being asked every time we create an event or community exercise. I think it’s rare to find a safe, supportive space in Los Angeles. I’m really glad we’ve been able to cultivate one here.

Obviously, co-working is ideal for startups and freelancers; who else can it work for?
It’s for any person who wants community, period. You can have a job and still crave a connection to your creative aspects, or learn more about the world.

What do you think are some of the things that keep creatives from becoming entrepreneurs? How will JIG+SAW help with that?
It’s funny you ask that; as we’ve seen, most women just need permission when taking the leap. A lot of us don’t consider ourselves entrepreneurs even though we’ve been working with clients for months, or even years. A lot of us don’t think it’s real until we have a website or a logo. I can tell you my first clients I ever had, I had no logo, no website, just an EIN. So, I think JIG+SAW‘s place in that is to create a safe space to share your fears, the hard-hitting questions about how to make it real. One of our members came back from one of our work sessions (these are called Track) and finally made the step to hire her first paid intern. It took her 10 months to do it, and one month of Track to cause her first action towards getting support. It’s amazing what happens when a community sits down and gives a shit about you.

I looked at the Calendar and love that there are wellness classes to help with finding that elusive work/life balance. What made you decide to include those?
We are actually working towards including wellness that isn’t exactly fitness. We are seeing that most women coming to JIG+SAW are looking for a moment to clear their minds, do something that’s fun and engaging. Most women who are attending work full-time jobs and just need a moment to breathe. This was our reason to include; why not create something beautiful and have access to a community for a few hours? It’s time we took more time for ourselves.

Where do you see JIG+SAW going in the next five years? Expansions?
JIG+SAW will grow, pivot and evolve. It will turn into something completely different than the original investor deck I made two years ago. But no matter the evolution, it will be a safe space to grow into your business and a community that gives a shit about you + the work you do. How we do that… only time will tell.

Follow Christina on Instagram at @Profreshstyle  | check out JIG+SAW on IG @jigplussaw |  visit the website

All images c/o.

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