The Little Red Owl

DIY ideas for home, health, & life

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Have you guys heard of Simple Space? I have shared their campaign via Facebook and more but in case you missed it…

Simple Space is a 600 sq/ft commercial space 1/2 block from Vine St. on East 13th St. designed to be an all-purpose, revolving-use pop-up and event space for limited-runs and exclusive engagements. Some of our ideas for uses include: pop-up clothing shops, food truck dining areas, album release shows, film premieres, art galleries, Etsy retailer spotlights, tastings, storytellings, lesson space, studio space… Maybe even a crowd-funded product launch.

Here’s how Simple Space will work:

Anyone can book the 600 sq/ft storefront with bathroom anywhere from a 1-day to 6-week lease. Rental contracts would include utilities, internet, video security system, and 24/7 access to the storefront. Merchants would be responsible for organizing, set-up, promoting, running, cleaning, and tear-down of their event. We will provide a blank space on our storefront window for the tenant’s signage and posters. And if we’re successful in our fundraising goal, a space in our custom-built marquee.

There are a few different ways someone can interact with Simple Space:

1. Tenant
This one is pretty obvious. You have something that you want to share, and you need a space to share it in. Simple. We have the space. We would love to rent it to you. Affordable rates and simple contracts.

2. Host
Maybe you already have a product that sits on a shelf nearby. Maybe it’s a tasty treat. Hows about you bring that delicious stuff over here and we’ll all munch on it together. Or, maybe you’re a musician who has some scrumptious tunes that you want to share. I’m sure tenants and guests would love to have you nearby.

3. Sponsor
It could be that your product or service doesn’t make sense to utilize Simple Space. That’s okay, you can still participate by sponsoring a tenant  who aligns with you and your offering. You pay for some of the tenant’s rental fees, and in exchange, you get your name in front of all their customers and guests. Win and win.

4. Local Influencer
When others nominate you as an influencer, you have the potential to get a free day at Simple Space to do whatever it is that you think will be a good thing for the neighborhood, the city, and the world. Dream big, and nominate an influencer RIGHT NOW!

I approached Levi (owner and face of Simple Space) for a quick interview to share this local tale of excitement.
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What motivated you to start Simple Space and where did you start?
I started Simple Space because I just kept coming up with ideas for small shops, events, and experiences, but I didn’t have any room available to do those things. So—really—I wanted someone else to have started Simple Space so I could use it. As the concept grew, and I talked to more people about it, I realized a lot of small start-ups and local vendors could really use an empty box like this.
How did you decide on OTR as the location?
My wife and I settled on Over The Rhine as a location to live and raise our family, so when we were looking for a building to purchase—which is a struggle to begin with—we happened to find one with an empty storefront. It wasn’t until we were part-way through the buying process that I remembered my idea for Simple Space. It just made sense, and I couldn’t NOT launch it. Making it happen in Over The Rhine is perfect, and I can’t imagine launching it anywhere else. Second Sunday, The City Flea, and all the shops that have been popping up in OTR make it easy for Simple Space to fit in and add value.
Have you had a lot of support from the community?
I’m fairly new to Cincinnati, having moved here from the Washington DC area, so with only 3 years under my belt I’m learning a few things about the personality of this city. People here get excited about new things. On the surface—and especially if you read the news—there is a lot of complaining and “things never change” attitude, but cynicism is cheap and complacency is easy. There are so many great people in this beautiful city doing amazing things that will help to shape the future of Cincinnati, and I really want to be a part of that movement. Not for me, but for my kids and the future of this city. So, yes, I’ve had a lot of great support from my new neighbors, my friends, my family, and even my critics. I love this community.
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What is the next phase or step in your journey?
I’ve realized that I’m an inventor at heart, and I get energy from starting things, and getting them going. I feel like Simple Space is the perfect way for me to be healthy and stay busy without feeling disinterested in my project, because the whole purpose is revolving-use. It’s constantly needing to be reinvented, and that keeps my energy up. For me, the next step is always the next tenant. I’m not interested in merely renting out the space, I want to be a part of what’s happening there.
Do you have a calls to arms for your supporters? (what can we do?)
If we expect to launch on-time, we need to contribute to, and share the campaign. Every little bit helps. Giving $1 or even just “liking” it on Facebook is something. If you want to rent the space, that’s amazing, and we can make that happen, but it’s easy to think that there’s nothing to do if you’re not interested in a rental contract. At the end of the day, this space is more for the passerby and the fans than it is for the vendors or tenants.
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If a kid walked up to asking for your advice and you only had a few minutes to give ‘em your best tip, what would it be?
Make friends with old people. They know everything, and they are responsible for building the world you’re living in. You’re going to be just like them someday, so you may as well pay attention and ask good questions.
What are 5 items you never leave home without?
Phone, sharpie pen, knife, wallet, bike
What is your most favorite electronic gadget?
My favorite gadget right now is the Dropcam. If you’re a parent to a kid or a pet, you NEED one of these things.
Favorite book character or film character
Severus Snape from Harry Potter. He’s such a wonderfully-written character.
Cats or dogs?
Allergies dictate that I answer, “dogs.”
Cocktail or beer?
Coffee or tea?
Coffee, THEN tea.
Favorite food?
I’ve been known to black out and eat everything when I smell Bacon + Pancakes.
Where can we STALK you?
Right now, while I’m running the Simple Space campaign, I’m very active on Twitter and Instagram and a lot of info will be going up on the Simple Space Facebook page.
There are only 4 days left to give, so check out more details and spread the word!
*A special thanks to Levi for sharing and putting love into our community.

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