Welcome to our first Feature Friday of the month. Today we share our recent conversation with the wonderful Zoe Ellis-Moore, Founder & CEO at Spaces To Places.
WOD: Thanks for taking the time to speak with us. Let’s start with your background and how you initially got into involved with the workspace design industry…
Zoe Ellis-Moore: “My path into the flexspace sector was perhaps not as linear as you might expect. I studied Retail Marketing at university because I’ve always been fascinated with consumer behaviour, but I quickly realised after graduating that I was more interested in places than in shopping!
In 2005, I was working for Kingston First and pioneered the first UK Business Improvement District, along the way learning more about how to create compelling and relevant places that increase footfall and value. This experience really cemented my passion for places, and I moved swiftly on to hold several subsequent roles in commercial property marketing for businesses including JLL.
Finally, in 2019 I took the plunge and set up Spaces To Places, putting everything I’d learned over 20 years in the market into practice.”
WOD: Could you tell us more about your current role at Spaces To Places…
ZEM: “Since launching Spaces To Places two years ago, I’ve been fully focused on helping flexible workspace operators, owners, and investors make their spaces more successful. That’s quite a broad brief precisely because, as a consultant, I adapt my support to suit the client I’m working with.
Sometimes my involvement will be limited to a one-off research project or marketing campaign, but I’m increasingly providing full turnkey consultancy. My company’s name sums up my aims pretty well – I’m always concentrated on how I can help turn a space into a place, or in other words, an office into a destination.
That typically involves carrying out in-depth market research, putting together advanced marketing strategies, and providing support with placemaking projects.”
WOD: It sounds like an extremely varied role. What does a typical working day for you look like? If there is such a thing…
ZEM: “As is probably the case for any other business owner, a typical day for me is very diverse. I will generally be involved in a range of projects at different stages of completion at any one time, so my standard day might see me on a project kick-off call, diving into a research task, and putting the finishing touches to a client report.
As Spaces To Places has grown, I’ve expanded the team to include specialists who help to deliver insights and value to my clients. That means I’ve been able to focus more of my time on marketing, client acquisition, and the overall strategy of each project.”
WOD: In such a diverse role you much have gained plenty of experience. What key pieces of advice could you offer to somebody wanting to succeed in a similar role to yours?
ZEM: “I think there are several key bits of advice I’d want to pass on – each as important as the last.
The first is that patience and perseverance are essential as a business owner. Things don’t always take off as quickly as you think they will, but if you believe in what you’re doing and persist through the quiet times, you’ll often find things working out well in the end.
I also think that it’s important that you get comfortable with the idea of delegation very early on. There’s only so much you can do by yourself, so if you want your business to scale, you need to find people to work with who you can trust.
Finally, don’t underestimate the value of building connections with other professionals in your industry. I’ve put a lot of time into building my network, both online and off, and it’s paid dividends through word of mouth marketing, signal-boosting, and, perhaps most importantly of all, support when things get tough.”