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An Interview with Our Co-Owner; Monika Wright

What are your responsibilities as a business owner?

I have taken on the role of Interior Designer for Toast and Jam Community. My ongoing job is to make sure the space is welcoming, beautiful, functional, and comfortable for our members. I listen to member feedback and periodically tweak the layout, aesthetics, and amenities to meet their needs.

What’s your favorite part about being an entrepreneur?

The freedom! Being able to build a business exactly as you envision it, make your own rules, work from anywhere, think big, use your talents, and never stop growing. I also love having my amazing husband Noah as my business partner, we have so much fun brainstorming ideas and trying new things.

What is a lesson that you think is most important for a new business owner to learn?

Keep moving forward. If something is not working, then experiment, learn, and evolve. Don’t be afraid of failure, it’s only temporary. Don’t be afraid of criticism, it lets you know you are onto something. Trying to produce something that pleases everyone will only make you lose your voice in the crowd, so find your niche and embrace the thing that makes you different. Your fans are out there, eager for you to give them the product, service, or art that they have been waiting for!

What popular entrepreneurial advice do you disagree with?

I disagree with the notion that you have to stay small to be authentic. I see small businesses all the time who turn down work because they are afraid to expand their operations. Limiting yourself, your ideas, your goals, and your budget is a sure way to stifle success.

What’s your most memorable experience from the early days of building Toast and Jam Community?

My fondest memories from the early days are of working late in the space with Noah, sometimes till 2 AM, hanging lights, building tables, and faux finishing walls. The uncertainty of not knowing whether it’s all going to work out, the quick trips to Taco Bell to stave off the midnight munchies, slamming coffee to stay awake and get it done, good times! Special thanks to all our friends and relatives who stopped by to lend a helping hand!

What made you choose Downtown Buford as a location?

The 140-year-old building was a huge draw. The interior brick walls, the original pine floors and columns- you just don’t get that kind of character and history with a new build! And of course Main Street is so charming, with so many things to do and see.

Was it difficult from an interior design standpoint, to work on such a large space?

Yes, making a large space beautiful and functional is a challenge! We tried a few different seating/workspace arrangements before we settled on what you see today. Member feedback was crucial for creating comfortable and usable workspaces. In terms of aesthetics, once we chose colors, wall finishes, textiles, lighting style, and decorative accents, we were able to scale up the theme to fit the entire space.

What inspired your design choices?

I took a lot of inspiration from upscale hotel lobbies and lounges. We wanted the space to feel less like an office, and more like a membership club or a nice coffee shop where you could spend hours. Of course, as a coworking space, it needs to lend itself to productivity, but it also should make you feel happy and at ease.

Where do you want to see Toast and Jam in the next 5 years?

I hope to see it thriving and abuzz with activity! I hope to continue to provide a better and better experience for our members by adding new amenities and keeping things fresh. We also hope to open additional locations and continue to grow the brand!

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