Monique Pons and Andy Clark, event curators
Whether you’re in hospitality, small business, creative industries or community, the Gold Coast as a whole is flourishing ...
They’ll be the last to admit it, but Monique Pons and Andy Clark are a power couple. They really are. This dynamic duo are the brains, creative direction and driving force behind WAREHOUSE No.5 – and they are turning heads on the Gold Coast as they aim to redefine the concept of community and culture through innovative experiences. When the space first opened in Burleigh Heads in April 2016, it gathered a strong following as a collaborative workshop where creativity could thrive and coffee could flow. Fast-forward to now, and the duo have steered the creative hub in an exciting new direction, sans coffee and croissants, with a shift in focus to acting purely as an events and workshop space. There are creatives and businesses from all over the country knocking on the WAREHOUSE No.5 door, eager to utilise the space, as both Andy and Monique juggle bookings and interest from various industries for activations, events and workshops. The pair’s take on life and business is truly refreshing, and their collective passion, creativity and down-to-earth nature is pretty darn inspiring. We had a chat to Monique and Andy about what we can expect with WAREHOUSE No.5’s exciting new direction.
Let’s take things back to the beginning, how did the concept of WAREHOUSE No.5 first come to life?
WAREHOUSE No.5 took flight shortly after we first met – it’s a bit of a love story if you will. We met in April 2015 and from the beginning it was clear to us both that we shared the same values and desire to be a part of something that had real impact and substance within the community. Our date nights consisted of think-tanking ideas, researching and drafting the business plan, but it was Andy who was the driving force behind taking our concept into reality. The space is a reflection of our individual careers, experiences, travels, passions and creative interests fused together. We felt that there was a need for a place in which people were encouraged try something new, expand their minds and connect with others without a hefty fee or a lengthy process attached to the experience. On our one year anniversary we opened the doors to WAREHOUSE No.5 – it wasn’t planned that way, it just happened. I (Monique) was at my desk (as I was still working my full-time job) and getting updates via text messages. Fast-forward three months, I resigned from my job and since then it’s been onwards and upwards!
We understand the concept has shifted and WAREHOUSE No. 5 no longer incorporates the cafe/work space – tell us about the new direction.
The Co-Lab was always a by-product within our business model. We had a space that was available by day and rather than keep it to ourselves we opened it up for the community – whether that was to work, study, meet friends for coffee, or just relax. Over the eight months we had the pleasure of connecting with people from all over the coast and across a vast range of industries. They’re now the people we call our friends, the people we collaborate with for workshops and the people who use the space for their own events and creative ventures.
What prompted this move toward focussing purely on workshops and industry events?
As the demand for use of the space by day increased we assessed where we were at, where we wanted to be and how to add value to the experiences that were taking place here. Workshops and events are the leading passion behind this business and in order to continue growing these elements we needed to refine our offering. We have over 25 years combined experience in event management and program design and now is the time to put our experiences and knowledge to work in full force! By being available by day we’re also seeing the space used for photoshoots, filming, product launches and a huge range of corporate offsite strategy meetings. The space provides all the necessary amenities for these occasions, whilst enabling people to bring their own flair and creativity in – seeing it transform to each client’s unique purpose is an awesome feeling.
The overall concept workshop facilitations and industry events has really flourished on the Gold Coast – where do you see the industry going?
It certainly has and it’s such an awesome reflection of the overall movement on the Gold Coast. Whether you’re in hospitality, small business, creative industries or community, the Gold Coast as a whole is flourishing. Our workshops and events play a part in redefining this new wave of community and culture and the momentum is building.
What sort of workshops/events can locals expect to see more of at WAREHOUSE No.5?
WAREHOUSE No.5 brings an urban injection to the coastal lifestyle so our workshops and events are reflective of this. There are three key elements we consider within the planning and the experiences need to touch on at least one: personal enrichment, professional development and / or creative exploration. We work alongside a range of credible facilitators whether they’re hobbyists or industry leaders, local or international. Diversity in what we host is important and new workshops and events are being added weekly. This year people can expect hands-on art, tactical business skills, progressive design and creative learning’s, conversations that blow your mind and are a whole lot of fun!
What’s the most challenging part of your roles? And what’s the most rewarding?
Being a team and understanding the skills, qualities, thought processes and ways in which we work the most efficiently has been a big learning. The ‘team’ is the two of us and outside of the space we also run another business so there’s no time for BS. We’re continuously piloting, adapting, overcoming obstacles and taking the plunge in to unchartered waters – there is never a dull moment! Every day brings new challenges, but also a breadth of opportunities to create alongside others and that’s the most rewarding part. We’re fortunate to share the journey of the business together and through the process support each other from the highest highs to the lowest lows.
Where would we find you both on a (rare) day off?
Out in nature – whether that’s a hike in the hinterland, swims at the beach, or shooting hoops at the local court. It’s always refreshing to be outdoors and taking a road trip to explore the region is something we enjoy.
FAVOURITE GOLD COAST WEEKEND SPOT TO:
Perk up … With constant flow of the local legendary Blackboard Coffee beans supplied to our own in-house café it’s hard to say where else we receive our caffeine hits on a daily, however we do like to pop out to Canteen in Burleigh when we have a chance to “get out of the office.”
Relax … What does that mean? I don’t understand the question? (Haha)… We’re still working on it, however we do like to venture south to our northern New South Wales neighbours, which we’ve dubbed “The B’s” (Brunswick, Byron Bay & Bangalow)
Dine … House of Hubert in Tugun is an awesome local pocket and their gin selection is on point! We also can’t go past a Justin Lane pizza after a big day.
Be inspired … Here! We have a steady flow of amazing facilitators (participants too!) that constantly inspire us. We get to be the flies on the wall to all the workshops and events, which is an incredible perk of the job!