Design Worker Coop?

Hi All! Wondering if there are any folks that are interested in Cooperative ownership. I know many designers often go solo or work for someone else but there is a movement around cooperative ownership and worker owned businesses that aim to build financial sustainability for its workers and often have a community focus. Would love to set up a chat/ share resources. I have done some research to see if many exist and have only come across a few!


I’d be open to hearing more :slight_smile:

I am a part of a fellowship this year learning about coop development here in Chicago.

Here are some quick videos about worker ownership if folks are interested!

Here is also some information from the US Federation of worker cooperatives: What Is A Worker Cooperative? – U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives

I’m just beginning to explore making a career pivot into interior design but have a background in the labor movement so I’m familiar with worker coops. One of the things I’m evaluating as I consider this career is financial stability so I’d be super interested in connecting about this!

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@kendraijeoma Yes! The solo designer life feels lonely and a coop can support the financial sustainability, especially when it comes to sharing the business operations. I also personally don’t love the hierarchy of the design field, especially the small firms. It would be interesting how to structure an interior design studio as a coop and what worker ownership looks like.

There are a lot of examples of coops in various fields:accounting, graphic design, construction, doulas, home cleaning, food and beverage, lawyers, etc.

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@kateseymour check out the video above. This website has a directory of coops all over the US.

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Thanks! Nothing near me, but that isn’t surprising I’m not really near any of the bigger cities. Only one even comes up in CA for Arch/Interior Design!

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I’m in Chicago and the cooperative space is still relatively small! There’s an estimated 1k coops in the US total compared to other countries like Spain, Italy and Argentina which have coops in the thousands. So it’s still a very new space with often not a lot of local recognition or awareness that can make filing difficult.

I’ve been looking into other interior design coops. There seems to be two out in the northwest and one on the east coast that’s more community development focused.

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In general, I’ve found it difficult to find a group of people anywhere who genuinely want to just support and help each other so it’s not a surprise but gosh it would be nice!