The Creative Class: What, where and who are they?

by Janna Marlies Maron on September 12, 2012

The ThinkHouse tagline is “A coworking community for Sacramento’s creative class.”

What’s the Creative Class? 

We are often asked, “what’s ‘creative class?’ ” We’re asked it so often that we added to our FAQ page and tried to answer it in a succinct manner.

We’re asked it so often that we wrote a blog post back when we first opened titled “Why we serve the creative class.” And we’re asked it so often that we even hosted a discussion about the book Rise of the Creative Class, which is where the term comes from. The book was one of the main inspirations behind ThinkHouse and bringing the coworking movement to Sacramento.

We don’t say this often, but we were one of the first ones to start talking about coworking in Sacramento, back in 2007. Here’s a blog post that I wrote when I first came across the concept. It had just started one year before that in San Francisco (where else?).

At the time I had been considering a move out of Sacramento, to places like Seattle or San Francisco, where I could find the culture I was looking for in the city where I wanted to live. I wanted to be a part of a thriving city life that would support coworking, that would support local independent business, that would support collaboration. Seattle, San Francisco, Portland — we all know those cities fit that bill. And those cities all had thriving coworking communities back in 2007.

Where is the Creative Class? Creative Stimulation vs. Isolation

It was a time in my life when I had just finished grad school and started freelancing. I had previously been on staff with a magazine publishing company for almost four years. I was the managing editor. We had regular editorial meetings. The editorial department had a shared office. We were always bouncing ideas off each other, reading sentences out loud to each other, reading each other’s work, offering suggestions, editing and feedback.

I went from that environment to freelancing. From home. No one to talk to. No one but the cat.

I tired going to coffee shops. At the time I lived on 18th and O Streets, and I’d walk the few blocks over to Java City. I liked it well enough, because I could sit at the bar along the window and look out to that amazing tree (that we just had to say goodbye to a few weeks ago) for inspiration.

But it took only a few days of sitting at Java City when I couldn’t be at home alone all by myself anymore to realize that even at the coffee shop I was still alone. Yeah, there were people all around me, but I never spoke to any of them. I couldn’t turn to the guy next to me and say, hey can I read this sentence to you?

I guess I could have, but he might have tried to hit on me or something.

Who are the Creative Class? Others like me.

From that experience I thought, there have to be other people like me in Sacramento. We aren’t a tiny town. I know there are other people who feel the way I feel about working alone. What if there was a common place where we could all work alone together?

In that moment I decided to be a part of creating what I wanted and needed in the city were I lived. Instead of moving to a city, searching for the thing I wanted or needed, I would be a part of starting it here.

And then I read Rise of the Creative Class. It was like Richard Florida spoke directly to me. He wrote about a group of people who make up the dominating economic class and he called it the Creative Class. He gives it that label, not because of what these people do for a living, but because of the type of life these people want to live.

They want to see local talent performed locally in interesting venues. They want to see the community support the local talent — whether that is musicians, artists, writers, start ups, freelancers or small independent retal boutiques. They want to participate in a vibrant night life. They think globally and act locally. They bristle when the city council talks about the possibility of brining Target to the Downtown Plaza. They eat at the bar and get to know the proprietors of their favorite restaurants and shops. They buy art from local artists. They know their place and they choose to stay and make it better by participating and contributing.

They are people like us: people who care about Sacramento and want to see it become the next Austin, a place that marries economic prosperity with its local talent, creativity and innovation. They are stay-at-home moms who think critically about things like the food they eat while they are pregnant, the kind of food they feed their kids and where they buy their baby paraphernalia. They are full-time employees who demand more of their city, shop at the farmer’s market and support local nonprofits like 916Ink or Fit For Girls. They are state workers who have a photography business on the side. They are college students already working on their first business idea. They are marketing directors who find value in regular round-table brainstorming and idea sharing.

Do you have to be a freelancer or an indie biz person to be part of the Creative Class? Absolutely not. You just have to care about this place called Sacramento. This place we all call home.

That is why we created ThinkHouse Collective: because we believe Sacramento is a great city and we want be part of making it the best place to live and work.

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