DoES Liverpool has now officially moved to The Tapestry building. When we re-open following the Easter holiday, on Tuesday 3rd April 2018, our new address will be:
68 – 76 Kempston Street
Liverpool L3 8HL
Thank you so much to everyone who has helped so far. There’s still plenty of cleaning and arranging to be done but if you don’t mind a bit of dishevelment then you’re welcome to come along and take a look. Our internet connection is active and the coffee will be brewing so you should be able to get some work done, although there’s a decent chance someone might offer you a paintbrush or mop!
This does mean that from this point our new pricing scheme is in action, as mentioned previously that is as follows:
Any hot desk days you’ve previously bought are still valid in the new venue. If you have a permanent desk then we will work with you to determine where your new desk location will be. If you have monthly workshop membership then your storage box has been transferred and your membership continues in the new location.
If you have a registered address with us, please now update any records you have to use the following address:
c/o DoES Liverpool
68 – 76 Kempston Street
Liverpool L3 8HL
For the time being we will still be able to receive post at the Gostins Building but this will only be available for the next few months so we advise that you update your records as soon as possible.
As mentioned there’s still much to do so we don’t yet have glossy photos of our finished space, but below should give you a taster, together with the last moments in Gostins!
Chancellor David Lidington today put in place the final building blocks of his “Northern powerhouse” when he announced the UK’s first Maker Enterprise Zone would be here in Liverpool.
The Government is putting £5m towards the DoES Liverpool move project – a collaboration between DoES Liverpool, The Tapestry and The Fabric District
DoES Liverpool will house and support new high-tech businesses around “sensor technologies”. It will also support new and existing businesses doing UX testing, public transit, wearable technology, home made 3D printed prosthetics, spoken language translation, social enterprise support, and basically any small business that needs their support. I mean, why limit yourself!
Sensors are the crucial link between technological devices and the world around them, which is also incredibly important. Capturing data on a whole host of areas such as temperature, humidity and pressure is really good, but then what do you do with that data? You interpret it, you present it, and you make sure people can understand it.
They can be used in everything from home security systems to medical technology and high-value manufacturing, don’t you know.
DoES Liverpool will help inventions go from the lab to the factory floor even faster, and act as a shop window for foreign investment into Merseyside’s high tech start ups, as it has done for the last seven years
Mr Lidington told the ECHO: “The stuff being developed here is absolutely cutting edge.
It is better than anything else happening anywhere in the world, well apart from every other maker space. What’s the point in being ridiculously competitive and claiming to be the best when you can’t do it without the support of similar people around the world.
“We are all going to use the technologies being developed here and we are going to be able to say they were made in Liverpool, with massive support from the maker community around the world”
Mr Lidington is allocating £10.4m to upgrade the BT broadband provision in the centre of Liverpool, massively increasing the speeds available. A second 9600bps modem will sit alongside the existing 2400bps modem to provide speeds not seen anywhere else in the world, since 1991. Fortunately IX Liverpool and Baltic Broadband have independently installed a 10Gbps pipe which is available for use by people who actually want modern internet speeds.
Mr Lidington added: “I said I wanted to create a Northern powerhouse. You can link great cities like Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds together and create a real economic powerhouse.
“Alternatively you could pay people who have no idea about these things hundreds of thousands to build a big overpriced building that’s not fit for purpose, but who’d do that eh?!”
The Chancellor also denied Liverpool was being left out of the proposed high speed rail projects, even though it was.
However, Mr Lidington insisted the increased capacity would benefit the whole of the North West.
He said: “Liverpool is very much on the map. Not the one we have in Whitehall, but it seems to be on this one you just handed me. It says OpenStreetMap, what’s that? I’m confused, I’m sure we told Ordnance Survey to remove Liverpool back in the 80s”
“The geographical area isn’t that different to Greater London but they are separate cities. One is called Liverpool and the other is called London. Hold on did I just say I was funding Liverpool, no.. wait.. that can’t be right, who crossed out London and wrote Liverpool. Did I sign that?! Someone call the bank and stop that cheque!”
Provost Professor Stephen Holloway, who led the bid from the University of Liverpool, said: “Creating a new space where ideas from our sensor research laboratories can be transformed into new start-ups is a very exciting prospect for both universities and provides great opportunities them to skim the profits made by anyone that even walks past our buildings. We definitely thought we should have got the funding even though DoES Liverpool already did all this stuff on a shoestring budget.”
And Professor Robin Leatherbarrow, who led the bid for JMU added: “This is a tremendous success for Liverpool and a superb example of how our two universities can work together in an area where we each have considerable complementary strengths. Wait, I thought we won the money?!”
ONLY JOKING! Of course DoES Liverpool hasn’t been awarded millions in funding, and we’re definitely not bitter. We do currently have a funding drive going to help pay for our move to our amazing new space in the Tapestry building. After seven years running and helping new high-tech (and low-tech) businesses get started we’re looking forward to the next seven years and hope we can rely on your help to get us there! Find out more about that here, and tell your friends!
Hopefully everybody knows by now that we’re moving to The Tapestry later this month. As you can imagine, there’s a lot still to do before we get there, so if you’re part of the DoES community, can paint, drive, or carry stuff and are available any weekdays or weekends during March or April then please get in touch (via email, Twitter, Instagram or in person).
We’ll then add your details to this hi-tech list so we can contact you about how you can help:
We also have a ‘Somebody Should’ issue tracker on GitHub, where you can sign up for at specific issues (and raise issues yourself for anything that you think needs looking at). If you haven’t signed up yet, then there’s some instructions here.
It’s been over 3 months since I last posted something about DoES Liverpool’s plan to move, and what a busy time it’s been. We’ve firmed up our plans to move and we’ve also managed to get some new people signed up so that we can be a lot happier about being able to afford what is looking like an exciting expansion of the DoES Liverpool coworking space and workshop. We actually announced this in person during our birthday party and have dropped quite obvious hints and mentions on Twitter, but somehow posting it to our blog feels more official. I am very happy to be able to announce:
DoES Liverpool is moving to The Tapestry, a newly renovated classic building in what will soon be known as The Fabric District.
This move should be a great new start for DoES Liverpool as we work through our seventh year. DoES Liverpool will be always be DoES Liverpool, but with double the floor space we’ll be able to do that much more. We will have a bigger, better events space; multiple meeting rooms; quiet corners to take a call and a nice space to hang out, drink coffee* and have a chat. While still offering the best coworking and workshop facilities in the city! (* other beverages are available)
The Fabric District is across the city between London Road and Islington. The map below illustrates our old location (red) and the new (green), we’ve also highlighted Lime Street Station to show the great transport links we’ll continue to have in our new location.
Jason Abbott, one of the owners of the Tapestry, and a number of other stakeholders are really pushing to develop the area into a great place to live and make things. They’re trying to do it in such a way that doesn’t push out the great people who are already running businesses there now, hoping to embrace their work and bring more people, and customers, into the area!
They’re still working to finish the building, and once that’s finished we then need to get in and get the space ready for our own purposes. We’re expecting to have the keys at the beginning of January and will then work to get the space ready as fast as possible. We’re working on the plans for this but we’re really hopeful to get things done as fast as possible and to be in by February.
The move to a new space is such a large change for DoES Liverpool, our first move in over 6 years, so this seems like an obvious time to make some changes to our pricing structure.
One key thing we’re doing is making membership an official thing. We’re ever thankful to Francis Irving for suggesting the “Friends of DoES” scheme and now we’re bringing that in as part of our pricing model. If you setup a monthly £10 payment then you are considered a “Friend of DoES”, we truly appreciate the people that do this and we know that people like having this option to signal their support for DoES Liverpool and our mission to support a vibrant community of makers in Liverpool. See this page for how to sign up.
This restructure does mean increasing our standard prices but we’re going to take this opportunity to offer discounts on these prices to our members as well. The larger size of the new venue and the ability to offer 24/7 access means we can add a few more services to the list as you’ll see below:
(Workshop* or Desk)
Out of Hours Workshop
Storage per cubic feet per month
* – Gerald surcharge of £2/usage still applies
There’s a few new things on that list I can tell you about. The first is the “Flexidesk” option. This is somewhere between the hot desk day and the full monthly desk option. We really want it to allow people to pop in for short periods without having to stress about paying a half day for a few hours, or rushing out before their half day turns into a full day. It’s similar to our “all you can eat, but don’t take the mickey” workshop option that lets you come and go as you please but reflects the fact that we expect Flexidesk users to be in more often. We’re not going to be stressing about how often you’re in and we don’t want you to either, we just want to see more of you!
We’re now splitting the workshop offering into two, one for people who are likely to be in during the daytime and one for people who are more likely to be in “out of hours”. We’d expect this to be like peak and off-peak and have priced it accordingly, it’ll be interesting to see what changes when we have much extended opening hours.
Finally, we’ve come up with a price to cover general storage. We’re hoping this works out and is a fair price, considering our biggest outlay is rent – i.e the physical space – we really need to be able to recoup that cost and if you’re storing stuff at DoES you’re definitely making use of the space. All of the monthly costs already include some storage but if you find you need more, you can now pay us for it!
These price changes will help to make sure we can cover the running costs but getting the space ready in the first place and getting everything moved over is going to stretch our current finances so we’re also planning to run a crowdfunding drive to help us to cover that. There’ll be more information once we have a better idea of the costs involved.
We’re keeping the old prices until we move into the Tapestry but if you want to take advantage of the Flexidesk option you can do that straight away, just get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org! Similarly if you have any questions about the move please get in touch. There’s so much more to tell about this story and we will continue to update you but hopefully we can alleviate any concerns you might have.
Finally lets close out with the current plan for room layout and some photos from within the (unfinished) space. This layout isn’t final yet and the furniture shown is just a guide but it’s still an exciting glimpse at the future capabilities of DoES Liverpool!
Continuing our “DoES wants to move” season… we should probably start again with some background. DoES Liverpool was incorporated, after a few months of discussion, on the 10th June 2011. To speed things up we ended up asking an accountant to set up the company for us, as a result we ended up with a Community Interest Company limited by shares, with our articles of association declaring that we will operate as a non-profit. As it turns out we may have been better off setting the company up as “limited by guarantee”, we even suspect that this contributed to us being denied rates relief by the council, so we’re going to look into changing this probably as part of the general “move” process.
So, we’re a “not for profit”, does that mean we have to make a loss every year? Surely that means we’ll go out of business?! Actually no, the important thing is that any profit generated is reinvested in the company and the community rather than taken out by shareholders (which is why it would be easier if we didn’t actually have shareholders!) In fact DoES Liverpool was a profitable company from the start, with no real capital invested – just a small director’s loan which was quickly paid back – we really had no choice to survive any other way.
Until the most recent financial year that accounts have been prepared for DoES Liverpool has made a profit each and every year. That financial year we had to start paying business rates, including some that were back-dated, so it wasn’t a big surprise there was a small loss. We ended the year with plenty of money in the bank
(Note that IANAA – I Am Not An Accountant, I’ll do my best with the figures in this post but there’s a decent chance I’ll make mistakes)
FreeAgent is also reporting we’ve made £37,394 in our last year that ended 30th June 2017 and should make a profit, it doesn’t offset for deposits we’re holding so that might drop but looks like we held our own.
So it looks like we’re doing pretty well going from nothing to quickly reaching around £40k/year. Really though DoES isn’t trying to make vast sums of money, all we need is to pay the rent and to have enough money to buy useful equipment like 3D printers and laser cutters. In fact the rise in income was matched by a rise in outgoings so that would have been around the time we took on the separate workshop (and kitchen) and then Dinky, our events room.
Unfortunately, while our accounts paint a fairly rosy picture, our income has been dropping over the last 12 months hence our recent pushes to get more people. Hold onto your hats, as here’s a graph of permanent desk invoicing over the last 12 months:
We’ve seen rises and falls before, an especially big one a few years ago that we did manage to pull ourselves out of as you’ll see in this graph:
Permanent desks have always been our main source of income. In some ways they’re the easiest things for us to sell as they make the biggest impact on our finances, but they also result in bigger problems when people decide to move on. Here’s a graph showing our income broken down into categories:
That makes it quite clear how much of our income comes from permanent desks. We’ve always had the hot desk and workshop membership options. Hot desking has always been popular but has never reached the levels of the permanent desks for proportion of income. Workshop membership wasn’t so popular initially but has more recently seen an upturn.
Taking out the permanent desks gives a richer break-down:
Bearing in mind that permanent desks have always provided over 60% of our revenue it’s still interesting to dig down into the other categories. Our first six months in 2011 actually seem to have involved a lot of funding for events. This isn’t a big surprise, we were excited to have a new space so we ran a BarCamp and probably a few other events. We were also being given money to support Maker Nights which certainly helped in those early days. It’s actually a shame we’re not running events so often these days so hopefully that’s something we’ll look at more in the new space.
It looks like hot desks have become a smaller proportion of our income and, workshop membership seems to be growing. You start to see our registered address mailbox service creeping in too in the recent years. While hot desks may be a smaller proportion they’re still a large part of our income as you can see from the following similar graphs which aren’t scaled to percentages.
These do show that our hot desk income seems to be dropping, this is something we have perhaps noticed but not taken quite as much notice of as we should. If we’d picked up on it earlier it could have been a warning sign towards the more recent drop off of permanent desks. What reasons might there be for this? Well there’s definitely a lot more competition for hot-desks and flexible lets in the city now compared to 6 years ago. Few of these spaces offer the same community feel you get in DoES but some do, and just the number of people offering similar services can make it tricky for DoES to stand out. We’re well aware that our current space isn’t the most aesthetically appealing but there was little scope for improving it in the building we’re currently in. Our new home will allow us to much improve our co-working offering, both in terms of the services we offer and improving the feel of the space, so we’re confident we can turn this around.
What’s probably not shown so well on that graph is that some of the hot desk visits will actually be people using the workshop. We’re definitely seeing the workshop getting regular use, especially on the two laser cutters but also on the other equipment like the 3D printers.
What else can we do? Well offering new types of service is one thing. The registered address service that we introduced just a few years ago is going well and is bringing in increasing amounts. Similarly the “Friends of DoES” option that came about because Francis Irving decided he wanted to help fund DoES but didn’t need any of the specific paid-for services we had at the time has also helped (unfortunately it doesn’t show up well in the graphs, it will be spread across Funding & Other due to the ways the payments come in). We can also look at bringing in more revenue from hosting events and meetings, our existing events room – Dinky – is quite rarely busy during the day so there’s a lot of scope for doing more with this. If you have an idea of a service DoES should be offering let us know.
We’ve also mentioned in the past about bringing whole companies in to DoES Liverpool, that’s still an option if we can find companies that are interested and would be a good fit with the DoES community. While this would have a bigger impact on our finances, similar to the permanent desks it also gives us a bigger dependency as losing that single client will cause a big drop in our income. One to be careful of but something we’re definitely considering (get in touch if you’d like to move in with us!)
So there you have it, DoES Liverpool is a company that has grown from nothing into a wonderful large community and a mostly profitable Community Interest Company. We’ve had some difficult times but we’ve managed to make our way out of them in the past and we’re quite sure we can do it again.
I actually began writing this blog post not long after promising it back in March and things have moved on a lot since then. While we’ve had the news that our building has definitely been sold and we have a more urgent need to move, we’ve also been able to find a great new home and are in the final stages of finalising that. In the next few weeks and months you can expect more blog posts with updates both on the new space and also on changes we might be making to our offerings to support it. I’m very excited for what the future holds and I hope you are too!
If you are interested in moving a small company in to DoES Liverpool or you would like to run an event in our delightful events room (named Dinky, after the toy cars born in Liverpool!) then simply send an email over to email@example.com. If you want to use the workshop or hot desk then you can mostly just turn up, although you’re quite welcome to fire an email over first. To use the laser cutters you will need to book a slot, and have an induction first.
If you just want to give DoES money to help us make this happen then that’s always an option too! We always appreciate our Friends who donate £9/month by standing order or via PayPal.
DoES’ ever growing media presence continues to expand, this time through the fabulous Ethos Magazine, who spent some time in DoES talking to Adrian McEwen as part of their ‘The Makers And The City’ video series.
Adrian spoke about the founding and running of DoES, along with the important role it fills in the community, and the hopes he has for the future – not just in the space, but for the people that use it.
Take a look at the video, and hopefully you’ll feel inspired to come in and be a part of the vibrant Maker scene here in DoES.
Did you know we upgraded our internet connection last year?
We probably got something of a reputation for having a poor connection early on so thought we really ought to crow about having such a great connection these days. Liverpool city centre is awful for internet access, BT have been terrible at upgrading what’s there and availability of Virgin is hit and miss. Fortunately our building was upgraded to a much faster connection meaning we have a fully synchronous connection that tops out at 100Mbps in both directions. Not only can you see your entire team in a HD video chat but they can see you in crisp clarity! Upload those gig photos that have been sitting on your hard drive, publish that HD video documentary you’ve been working on or become a millionaire with your latest mobile phone game!*
* DoES Liverpool can provide no guarantees regarding game sales.
So, if you’ve been avoiding coming into DoES remembering our days of ADSL that could barely provide 5Mbps, give us another try!
Once again, Made In Liverpool TV has been to find out more about some of the fantastic people that make up the DoES community.
This time, Laura Pullig was the star, as she spoke to Gaelle about wearable technology, the practical uses for that technology, and helped Gaelle to create her own piece. (Unfortunately, you might have to watch an ad before the video starts. Obviously it’s worth it though!)
In the video, Laura talks about the Wearables group that she runs here in DoES. If you’re interested in more information about the group, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or find out when the next meeting is using our calendar. Or come along to a Maker Night or Maker Day and see what else we have going on here in DoES.
We’re always delighted to get chance to spend some time with Made In Liverpool, and hopefully we’ll get many more chances to do so in the future – after all, we’re not going to give up being epic any time soon!
As I’m fairly sure everyone is sick of hearing, we want to move. As I’m equally sure anyone who’s spoken to me about it will be sick of hearing, there are LITERALLY* no empty buildings in the city centre.
With that in mind, it has been decided that we might have to start playing a little bit fast and loose with the definition of ‘centre’, and look a little further afield.
We’re still aiming for somewhere that is within a ten minute walk of transport hubs, it’s just that it may be ten minutes in a slightly different direction. Doing so opens up areas such as London Road and Leeds Street, and allows us to look at places that we had perhaps dismissed too quickly previously. They’re not even that far away, but I totally understand that they feel further away, and that’s important. However, it’s also important to remember that Hanover Street was basically a wreck before DoES came along and made the area viable again.**
Our main aim, however, is still to offer the best and most convenient service we can to you, so we need to know what you think. If you think that a move slightly further afield, or to a different area of the city centre, would materially affect your ability to come in to DoES, then please do let us know. At the end of the day, we’re nothing without the community.
There are some other options which are being floated, including the possibility of a short term move to somewhere in the city centre that is a similar size as our current home. We’d like to discuss this, and some slightly less normal options, in what we’re overexcitedly calling a Wildcard! Meeting which I’ll be arranging in the next month or so, and which will canvass opinion on some of the more interesting and less obvious ideas which are being quietly mooted.
It’s always worth remembering where we’ve come from and where we’re trying to go, so please, if you haven’t already, take a look at John’s last blog post, and let us know if you have any thoughts or opinions on our current situation.
Jane took some marvellous pictures of DoES and the people that make us special, and you can see them on her website. She did a much better job than we have ever done of making the space look presentable!
Thanks to Jane, and hopefully we’ll have a chance to work with her again in the future. Maybe we’ll have to draft her in for some more shots when we finally move…