09/25/15 11:21am
Last year's IMC at 501 Union. This year's edition will be more intimate and focused on skill building. Photo: Alison Brockhouse

Last year’s IMC was a series of panel discussions, this year’s edition will be more intimate and focused on skill building. Photo: Alison Brockhouse

Every fall we host a conference we call Indie Media Camp to bring together independent media makers for networking, collaboration and learning. In the past, IMC has shaped up as a series of panels and talks covering everything from headline writing to online misogyny. After lots of consideration and review, we’ve decided to change it up and structure the day somewhat differently this year, to focus on intensive workshops designed to expand and hone your skills at the Made in NY Media Center by IFP in DUMBO. There will still be a keynote and a few panel discussions, but we really want our fellow independent media makers to leave IMC with new skills to bring to their own work. You can find the full schedule for Wednesday, Nov. 4 here.

The short story is that we’ll begin with a keynote address and Q&A with Clifford Levy, a New York Times masthead editor and the mastermind behind NYT Now, one of our favorite news apps. From there, we’ll break into small groups of about 20 people for three hands-on classes covering podcasting, photography and social media. We’ll finish the day with panels on the state of freelancing and what it means to make it in media in 2015. Throughout we’ve got breakfast, lunch and a happy hour with snacks covered. We’re very excited about this new format and about the fantastic instructors and speakers we’ve lined up to help you expand your skill set and meet fellow storytellers, journalists, and digital media entrepreneurs.

A limited number of early bird tickets are available now, so get ’em while they last.


09/25/15 10:10am
Common is bringing co-living to Crown Heights this fall, and the startup's founder Brad Hargreaves is one of 20 innovators speaking at ADAPT next weekend. Photo: Common

Common is bringing co-living to Crown Heights this fall, and the startup’s founder Brad Hargreaves is one of 20 innovators speaking at ADAPT next weekend. Photo: Common

One of the most interesting things about sharing a workspace in NYC is being able to get a first look at some very cool startups and companies that will influence what we purchase, how we make things, even how we live.

Since we’ve been working at The Yard in Brooklyn, we’ve been turned on to companies that we’ve become great fans of, like Makr, which has engineered an app that lets everyone become a graphic designer. Inkkas, socially conscious shoemakers who plant a tree for every pair sold, was working out of The Yard until they opened their showroom. And next weekend, when The Yard opens its doors at all six of its locations around the city, including its brand-new Herald Square spot, their inaugural ADAPT festival will introduce its members and the public to all of the smart people who work at The Yard along with innovators from other creative spaces.

One of those big thinkers is Brad Hargreaves of Common, a start-up that is applying the co-working approach to apartment living. His vision, to create dorm-style residences filled with entrepreneurs and freelancers, has a lot of legs in cities where housing is tight and expensive, and he’ll be talking about his ideas next Friday, Oct. 2 at 6pm at the Herald Square spot. It’s a shame, because that’s exactly when we’ll be talking about the freelance writing market with two of our contributors at the Brooklyn location! Jordan Galloway, who is a creative media strategist at the Daily News, and Elaheh Nozari, who has also written for Bustle and XOJane, BlackBook and LearnVest, will talk with myself and Annaliese Griffin about all sides of the media business, from crafting the perfect pitch, to going freelance writing rates, to copywriting, to the realities of bootstrapping your own media company.

While you can’t be in two places at once, you do have three days, five locations and roughly 20 panels to choose from at ADAPT, including a talk about the future of venture capital with Charlie O’Donnell, an Instagram branding how-to with Chandelier Creative, and gifts and goodies from Moleskin. Check out the lineup and when you purchase tickets use the code BROOKLYNBASED to get 50% off at checkout.


09/01/15 11:20am

The café at Freehold is designed for working. Photo: Elaheh Nozari

When you walk into Freehold, a coffeeshop, bar and all-around venue that opened on Williamsburg’s south side last month, the first thing you see on the menu board, below the wifi password, is an unattributed quote: “If you always do what you love, at least one person is pleased.” (A Google search identifies Katharine Hepburn as its speaker.)

It neatly sums up the vibe of the place–this is where you come to work on your passion project, and if you’re one of the lucky, entrepreneurial few whose passion project is also their career, then you’re Freehold’s target demographic.

The day-to-night hang spot on S. 3rd and Wythe is a hybrid between a members-only club like SoHo House and the lobby of a boutique hotel, like the Ace, but it lacks the exclusivity (or membership fee) of the former and the tourists of the latter. It’s egalitarian and welcoming, if very cool feeling. A sense of belonging comes not from an actual membership, but from the comfort of being able to spend an extended stretch of time working there without worrying whether you’ve ordered enough lattes and croissants, which is what I did for a few days to see if this was the freelance workspace of my dreams.


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04/07/15 11:43am
Cowork.rs current Flatiron location. The co-working space is opening a location in Gowanus in July.

Cowork.rs current Flatiron location. The co-working space is opening a location in Gowanus in July. Photo: Cowork.rs

With more than a third of America’s workforce–some 53 million people–freelancing right now, the need for co-working space is at an all-time high. Fortunately here in Brooklyn, it feels like a new place for self-employed people to set up shop crops up every couple of months. If it’s not a new-age church that offers desks space by day and sermons by night, then it’s a West Coast work space that’s found a second home in Williamsburg. Recently we’ve noticed that co-working spaces have started to sprawl outside of the general confines of North Brooklyn and Dumbo to occupy neighborhoods not necessarily known for their abundance of open desk space. Within this co-working trend are three new spaces we think are worth knowing about. (more…)

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03/03/15 9:45am
Church service at St. Lydia's takes place over a communal dinner served Sunday and Monday nights. Photo: St. Lydia's

Church service at St. Lydia’s takes place over a communal dinner served Sunday and Monday nights. Photo: St. Lydia’s

If I’m being really honest, I’m not a person who has spent significant time wondering whether I need more organized religion in my life. It factored pretty minimally into my upbringing and, although my Bible ignorance was an issue when I had to study Milton in college, I never felt like I was missing much. Obviously, I can respect religion to the extent that it provides comfort and ethical guidance—not justification for close-mindedness, judgment and the Fox News politics I happen to abhor—but I’ll confess that I might sometimes be a little cynical about how that often shakes out based on my limited exposure to religion as an adult. At any rate, I was thinking a lot about my beef with organized religion on a recent arctic Monday night, as I trudged over the Gowanus to attend Dinner Church at St. Lydia’s, a nontraditional church/co-working space that recently set up shop on Bond Street.


10/28/14 9:00am

Screen Shot 2014-10-25 at 3.30.13 PM

When a friend sent me a calendar invite for a spin date recently it hit me just how over-scheduled we all are these days. Between scheduling work commitments, dates with friends and larger group gatherings, the email and text threads are enough to make you wish for a personal assistant. There are more than a few calendar apps that can help you sort the whole mess, for free (or for a fraction of the cost of an assistant). So if you’re looking for ways to be more organized and spend less time thinking about scheduling, here are a few favorites.

When is Good
Best for: Scheduling multi-person outings, and avoiding dozens of emails just to coordinate a time

This is a simple and straightforward web app that, as the name implies, allows you to find a good time for something, like a dinner party or a meeting. You send a link to the group trying to schedule and each person highlights the times that work best and you’ll see what the overlap is. It’s free, and the design looks like something out of the mid-90s (probably in an authentically normcore way rather than a 90s nostalgia way). For a $20 annual fee you can eliminate ads and get more granular options–i.e. “This time would be possible but not ideal.” (more…)

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09/24/14 5:00pm

Red Hook Winery

Holly Howard is our go-to business consultant. She’s helped countless small businesses in Brooklyn and beyond (including us here at Brooklyn Based) with her expertise and know-how. This summer, in an unprecedented program, 10 small businesses in Red Hook, Brooklyn have come together to work as a community to grow their businesses through Holly’s From Artisan to Entrepreneur® Business Growth Program.  This program was made possible through the generous support from ReStore Red HookNew York Business Development Corporation, and Southwest Brooklyn Industrial Development Corporation. Over the next 10 weeks, Holly will dedicate her weekly advice column to a specific business in Red Hook that is participating in her in hopes that their journeys will bring enlightenment and inspiration to your business as well. This week she fields a question from Red Hook Winery. 

Hi Holly,

This hasn’t happened recently, but it has happened in the past, and I think it is a growing problem/concern with businesses…the dreaded Yelp review!

As a small business owner, the reviews often feel out of balance or focused on things that can’t always be controlled.  I hear lately how small businesses struggle with this topic.  It seems like consumers tend to write reviews when things are negative, and often they focus on bizarre parts of the experience. There are frequent tangents that may be off base or even just one side of the story.  

Any ideas on how to better address how to deal with Yelp reviews? (more…)

07/15/14 1:47pm

EllenJohnston (1)Designing business cards and wedding invitations is a not your typical DIY project, yet an app called Makr is putting the business of branding into the hands of anyone with an iPad. Run by designer-turned-CEO Ellen Johnston, we profiled the app last year as a way to create personalized holiday cards, though in practice Makr is used more often by entrepreneurs who want to take control of the look, and costs, of their own logos and printed materials. She works with a team of eight at The Yard, a co-working space we also inhabit, and recently told us about the inspiration for the app, her management style, and Makr’s latest features.

What was the inspiration for Makr, and when did you start to begin real work on it?

I’m a designer by trade. As someone who loves designing things, appreciating design and teaching it, I find it completely frustrating that complicated, expensive software creates such a barrier for people to design. As a UI/UX designer, I started designing for mobile pretty early on, witnessing first-hand a shift in accessibility to technology and how people interact with it. I saw an opportunity to harness the powerful devices that we carry with us everyday as empowering creativity tools. My team and I started working on Makr in the Spring 2013 and launched the first version of our product on the iPad that November.

How has it evolved since you launched? What have you learned about the app, and running the company, since it’s been out in the world?

We’re constantly inspired by how people use Makr, and that definitely influences our product and content development. Since launch, we’ve been seeing people use Makr for branding design–for Etsy shops, weddings, personal brands and more. They’re creating designs that speak to their personality and aesthetic, then applying them in multiple ways. This discovery led to a lot of the product decisions we’ve made post-launch, such as our logo creation feature, which allows users to design, export and apply custom logos. (more…)

06/12/14 11:00am

classic-female-dress-display-formsDear Holly,

I’m a clothing designer here in Brooklyn and have recently started a partnership with a larger retailer.  It’s always been a goal of mine to work with this company, and now that I’m here, it’s not really what I had imagined.  

I’m having a terrible time communicating with the company, and I feel like my standards of quality and design are being sacrificed in order to make this work.  

Part of me just wants to pull out, but I think I should give it one last go and see if I can improve the situation.

Can you give me any advice on what I can do to make this work? (more…)

06/05/14 1:00pm


Dear Holly,

I’m a florist in Brooklyn and needless to say, my busy season is underway.  My question for you is about staffing.  I basically double my staff this time of year, and to say that hiring is a challenge feels like the understatement of the year. 

I have high expectations, and I am always looking for the most professional, talented, and engaged staff that I can find.  My problem is that I feel like it’s impossible to find even a small group of people who fit my requirements. 

I get frustrated and tend to lose hope about the process.  I know that this is affecting my business.  Do you have any advice on how I can improve my hiring process so that it’s more effective?  I’m tired of feeling let down and want to turn this process around.