When Christopher Lomax was a graduate student at Millsaps College, he was told, from day one, that a problem was simply an opportunity in disguise.
Lomax is taking on one of Mississippi’s biggest hurdles and creating possibility — 5,000 square feet of possibility — with his latest venture, Mantle Co.Working.
Mantle is described as a “co-working space that brings solo-entrepreneurs, creatives, and small teams together in a work space that promotes free flow of ideas, skills and energy.” The venture takes professionals out of coffee shops and spare rooms and brings them into a melting pot of sorts, a creative lab where synergy and collaboration are encouraged.
Lomax, an attorney with stints in marketing and politics, says he was always told, to build anything of significance, he’d need to leave Mississippi. That sentiment didn’t set well with the entrepreneur who believes companies that begin here can thrive here – and will stay here. Mantle, he hopes, “will spark a renaissance of new thought and economy in our state.”
“Whether you are a creator, a designer, a founder, an entrepreneur, a sales-machine, a solo lawyer, a law maker, or anything in between, Mantle is set up to provide privacy and professionalism for your small company or team,” he explains. Not only is this a co-working space, but it’s an incubator, hatching new companies that will go on to inspire and hire a new generation of young Mississippians.
Find It In Fondrenâ„¢ had the chance to tour the Mantle space, currently the shell of the former school house second floor at Duling School, above Babalu. Lomax walked through, iPad in hand, pointing out the transformations needed to convert the facility into a 21st century co-working environment.
The 33 year-old shared his contagious energy while exploring the rooms that would become conference areas, complete with 65” flat panel TV’s complete with every technological bell and whistle imaginable and lightning fast internet connections. Lomax spoke of a smart phone app currently in development that would serve as the key, payment portal and communication tool for fellow Mantle co-workers.
Lomax showed two rooms that would contain large tables easily set up to fly solo or gather around an idea with a small team. For larger meetings, a massive conference will be available by the hour, complete with conference call capabilities, glass “white boards” for diagramming plans and more.
Need something more private? The Mantle space will have four, lockable “solo-preneur” offices in the same room (rentable by the month) where “booths” will be built out (these are reserved by the hour or the day), providing a more intimate team gathering space. In addition, a campus concierge will handle mail service, locker and file cabinet rentals and facilitation of bringing parties together for collaboration.
In the back, a 1,000 square foot plush lounge with a full kitchen will be stocked with water, fresh brewed coffee and snacks (all free) and Popsicles, premium teas and craft beer beer on tap (at cost), all bought through the Mantle app. The room and its amenities are perfect for planned “lunch and learns” or after hours events to introduce the public to the company and its possibilities.
Lomax has launched an IndieGoGo campaign to gauge interest in Mantle and says the sooner it is funded, the sooner he will begin build out of the Duling School space. Support can be shown for as little as $10 which includes a ticket to a November 5 Fondren’s First Thursday open house tour. Higher levels garner future co-workers deep discounts on rent and other special perks. Visit the campaign here to make your pledge.
Mantle Co.Working hopes to officially open their doors in late January. Additional open houses are planned during Fondren Unwrapped (November 19) and during December’s First Thursday.