Jock Fairweather, founder, Little Tokyo Two
Be a go-giver, not a go-getter ...
From the mushrooming fleet of food trucks rolling through the streets to the many small businesses being hatched over beers and the start-ups igniting across the city, Brisbane harbours a wealth of creative, entrepreneurial talent. Now a new local venue is set to pool together the trailblazers to create a supportive community where these dreamers can bring their plans to life. Merging collaborative co-working space with provincial Chinese cafe, bar and restaurant, Little Tokyo Two will offer both launching platform and safety net. Founder Jock Fairweather has paid homage to the Japanese restaurant that stood before the new venue by retaining the building’s original features and yellow brick facade, but crafting a sleek space inside. The restaurant is set to open within the next few weeks, while the offices are due for completion by early November. The Weekend Edition dropped in to the Spring Hill incubator this week to probe Jock about his plans.
What can you tell us about the concept for Little Tokyo Two?
The concept is a mix between a co-workspace and a members club. We have serviced offices through to hot desks, with an event space and a restaurant, bar and cafe – thus a workspace with a large social upside. The concept is to build an all-inclusive venue that creates a culture of a family, which grows and supports each other long term.
What made you choose the historic space?
The second we walked in, we knew it was the spot. We wanted something with a story, with a heritage – not just a renovation of a serviced office. Something that had longevity that we could build upon …
What’s been your biggest challenge in getting the idea off the ground?
The fact that I hadn’t done feasibilities, DDs, interior design, hospitality, building, project management, council approvals, direct sales or leases before probably didn’t help! I’ve had some unbelievable support from people close to me and that’s how this project has come so far.
How do you plan to spend opening day – will you be able to kick up your feet at last or will you be running around in a flurry?
I’ll be a rhino in a china shop!
What do you hope the space will offer the creativity community of Brisbane?
In terms of helping the whole community, we can offer a professional from almost any industry or a range of professionals from different industries to help your project through from A to Z. But what we’ll do for each other within Little Tokyo Two is much more extensive and personal. We believe in ‘sending the elevator back down’.
We hear there will also be quite the line-up of nibbles and drinks on offer … What can local bellies expect to find in the old loading bay?
A cafe in the morning and an authentic provincial Chinese restaurant in the evening – think the food from a village 100 km out of Shanghai mixed with some of the old favourites, with our own modern twists.
Do you have plans to open any more co-working spaces in Brisbane in the future?
No, I believe in quality over quantity. I’d rather go up on the same building than expand myself thin.
You’ve worked in a range from industries – from steelwork to personal training to women’s shoe design – what’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt in your career so far?
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Be a go-giver, not a go-getter.
What do you love about living in Brisbane?
What was your childhood dream?
To play for the Wallabies or be a women’s shoe designer.
What inspires you?
The Myers Briggs test. I always come up as the leader and the protector in all personality tests.
What do you believe is worth fighting for?
How do you personally define success?
Not a good question to ask someone with my personality! But my best guess is success is being happy.
What are your words of wisdom?
Food and water, shelter, people and education are all that count in the end.
Only a local would know … tall poppies are protected within yellow brick walls.
FAVOURITE WEEKEND SPOT TO:
Perk up … Regatta Hotel, Toowong.
Relax … Brookfield.
Dine … Pearl Cafe or The Newsroom Cafe for breakfast, Alfred & Constance or Mike’s Kitchen for lunch, and Saké or The Morrison for dinner.
Indulge … never!
Be inspired … in places where you can’t do anything but what you’re doing, like the shower or an airplane.