When it was time to renew their lease in their office space, Liang and Valerie Shang, founders of WE/WEAR/GLASSES, a bespoke digital branding and web design company, faced a big dilemma. Valerie was pregnant with their first child then and was wondering how to build their startup and being present for their child at the same time. She knew for a fact that it would be impossible to continue working alongside her newborn in the Raffles Place office compound her company was housed in. Working at home was also not an option because her company had started employing staff. As new parents, she and her husband Liang wanted to be hands-on and fully involved in raising their child and didn’t want to consider the full-day infantcare or nanny options.
Hence the dilemma.
“We were considering joining another co-working space initially,” Valerie says. “Then we heard about Trehaus from one of our clients.” Valerie and Liang checked out Trehaus subsequently and immediately joined the family-friendly co-working space as their very first members.
“When you’re in your own office, it’s very insular, so when it was time to renew our lease, we decided not to. We decided it’s time to come out of our ‘cave’ and be social again,” Valerie quips, referring to being holed up in their own office space for too long and joining a co-working space where community building serves as one core proposition as part of a new trend of working.
It has been 7 months since the Shangs moved WE/WEAR/GLASSES to Trehaus. Their 8-month-old son, Logan, comes to Trehaus daily with them and is one of the adorable chubs engaged in facilitated play at the TrehausKids Atelier.
Logan’s currently the youngest member of Trehaus and he’s been charming co-workers and staff alike with his smiles and chuckles from day one. This endearing baby has melted many hearts at Trehaus, and the ‘aunties and uncles’ who work here often make time to interact with him, carry him and watch him play at the Kids Atelier.
“It’s nice to know that there are people that can be happy for your kid as he grows up. The people here in this community are genuinely happy and love Logan dearly,” Valerie says.
“Logan is very well-loved. It’s healthy for the kid who has others to take care of him and love him,” Liang says.
The Shangs feel that they are building a career and raising Logan in a global village here at Trehaus. Besides the fact that there is a community that functions like an extended family here making everyone feel at home, the co-working space houses a diversified lot of members hailing from different nationalities. “There’s a nice exposure both adults and kids have of meeting different people,” Valerie says. “And yet at the same time, the safety of our kids are not compromised even as this global village grows.”
“It’s good that besides a child’s mum and dad, a child can have so many other adults that he can feel safe with. And this is the ‘village aspect’ that I feel Trehaus offers,” Valerie adds.
“While we do our work here and meet different people in the community, we know Logan is in good hands over at the Atelier,” Liang chimed in.
Most of Logan’s milestones happened here while being raised in the Trehaus village. The little babe sat up for his first time here, to the delight of his parents, fellow co-workers (endearingly known to all at Trehaus as ‘Haus Mates’) and Trehaus staff. Logan also pushed himself up to stand on his own at the Kids Atelier for the first time recently, with many adults squealing and gushing around him. He’s made many new friends, both young and old alike, and even has playmates he would regularly hang out with every day.
“Logan is having lots of fun and we’ve achieved what we wanted to achieve for Logan. He can hang out with other people, other babies… and not just face us every day,” Valerie shares. “We’ve gotten to know more people and our business has grown.”
“And we enjoy the company of the people here,” Shang pipes, with a hearty laugh.
Ed’s note: The traditional African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child” has been widely quoted when examining relationships and partnerships involved in a child’s development and growth because no man, no woman and no family (in essence, no breathing, living human) is an island. Life is indeed easier when you are part of a network of friends and family and a neighbourhood. The supportive community of our grandparents’ day in a physical village neighborhood though no more is re-emerging in a different context for parents who wish to pursue their career and build their own business.
Community begins here at Trehaus.