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Jan 12, 2015

The Energy Behind Creative Hub BoxJelly

Photos by Jonas Maon

In line with Honolulu's burgeoning start-up community, which is filled with independent pop-ups, boutiques, and cafes, the concept of a shared work environment only seems natural.

BoxJelly was the first such space to put down roots—or, rather, tentacles—in Hawai'i, in 2011, under the vision of co-founders Rechung Fujihira and Anthony Stanford. "It's a double entendre," says Fujihira about the name of the coworking space he oversees in Ward Village. "Originally, BoxJelly was to be a series of pop-ups that would appear every month, then disappear, kind of like the box jellyfish. But we decided it was best to keep it to one location."

Today, this coworking space is located by a tentacle-marked facade, a graphic made by Clifford Cheng of Skin Diver Magazine to mark the event in 2013 when his larger-than-life cover designs were put on display inside. Since founding the location, Fujihira and Stanford have provided a venue for such inspiring artists, as well as a watering hole for thirsty entrepreneurs and online commuters, helping pave the way for likeminded spots in Hawai'i. And to think it all began on a layover at South Korea's Incheon International Airport, when Stanford realized how friendly people were at the airport lounge. "[Anthony] came back [from a trip] and told me, 'You don't know it yet, but you're a part of my team,'" Fujihira recalls. "'We are going to start an airport lounge outside of an airport.'" The two tackled the concept at Chaminade University's Hogan Entrepreneurial Program, completing BoxJelly as their final project, and are continually "helping Hawai'i become the best place to work."

This space is located next to interior design hub fishcake and continues to fill a hole in the market for providing an efficient, affordable, and convenient spot for all of us "digital bohemians" in desperate need of Wi-Fi, outlets, printers, and private spaces to hold "jellies"—occasional meetings of small groups of people to collaborate and exchange ideas, in global co-working terminology. In 2013, the 4,500 square-foot space expanded to include another 1,000 square feet of office suites, a conference room, and a lounge area.

"Working from home can be tough, plus you're losing out on the networking aspect," Fujihira says. "Most of our clients, including Uber, Bokashi Bucket, and KUA, have all seen significant growth since becoming members. They meet like-minded individuals who they can collaborate with." The son of a traditionally trained Tibetan Buddhist, he adds: "This year we're hoping to integrate daily mediation times. A focused mind works better."

BoxJelly is located at 307 Kamani St. For more information, visit theboxjelly.com

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