iStrategyBlabs

iStrategyLabs To Take Over Wonder Bread Factory Floor

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TL;DR: We’re moving to Wonder Bread Factory and we’re growing a lot (read about our thoughts on diversity, our culture, and apply here).

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Almost 7 years ago, I started iStrategyLabs in my apartment in Logan circle with a few months of living expenses in the bank. It was just me and a whole lot hustle propelling this thing forward. By year 2 I got a small shared office in Dupont and hired our first 2 employees. It was perfect. A place to kick your feet up, grab a bite on the roof and get some work done by the fire.

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Anticipating more growth, we moved to a full 6,200 square foot floor overlooking Dupont and felt like we’d finally become a ‘real company.’ I figured we’d have a long time to enjoy the view.

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Last year we started off with about 20 full time designers, developers, strategists and makers inventing things we thought might be interesting and valuable to our clients and communities. 18 months later we’ve leapt up to 50 people and can foresee a 100 person company within the next couple years.

That means we have to move. We have to leave the epic sunsets we’ve had the pleasure to share together in this wonderful lab.

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But as with any truly valuable creation, when your project has spent enough time in the lab, perhaps it should make its way to a factory so it can be shared more widely with the world.

I’m happy to announce that iStrategyLabs will be take over the historic first floor of the Wonder Bread Factory and embedding itself in the budding, historic neighborhood of Shaw (details).

At nearly 3x the size of our old space, we’ve got a lot of room to grow here.

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We have a lot of flexibility too. We’re considering including:

  • A full production/manufacturing studio to accommodate our growing creative technology and hardware development work
  • A conference facility to host up to 500 people for talks on design, dev, strategy and entrepreneurship
  • A pop-up retail or speakeasy experience just for the hell of it
  • A mini-incubator for startups we believe in to use for free

We don’t yet know what we’ll do. Our build-out plans are kicking off in the next couple weeks. I do know however that iStrategyLabs at Wonder Bread will be unlike anything you’ve seen in DC and…perhaps the world.

What do you think we should do?

15 Responses to “iStrategyLabs To Take Over Wonder Bread Factory Floor”

  1. Jacob Lustig says:

    You definitely need a coffee shop offering gourmet baked goods and sandwiches – as homage to Wonderbread

    • Brigitte H. says:

      And an unlimited supply of Hostess Twinkies and HoHos in the reception area, to mollify the ghosts of Hostess Past and hungry visitors.

  2. Brigitte H. says:

    How exciting! I love the concept of an iStrategyFactory and the diverse, creative uses you have in mind for that nostalgic space. What an inspirational environment for an inspiring team known for innovating and disrupting the status quo of design and experiential marketing. It would be invigorating to bask in the collective creative energy of all your staff. How about setting aside an area for clients to pop in for an “inspiration fix”? Maybe a place to see, try, and experiment hands-on with iStrategy’s latest inventions, campaigns, and concepts in the works? (Keeping the “lab” concept alive!)

  3. Mollie says:

    Free coworking for government employees (like at canvas)! Sometimes we gotta escape…

  4. Lauri Rodich says:

    Congratulations on the growth and move. I bet it took a lot of dough to get in there – haha. One thing that would be great in the space is some way to interact with the existing community, especially the kids. For example, Coding Camp on days when school’s not in session (including a meal) could show them real life STEM possibilities with people who are already successful in the field. Another way to interact with the neighborhood adults (not the gentrifying ones, rather the ones who were there first) , is to publicize really good guest speakers hyper-locally and offer a ‘resident rate’. Tech jobs are among the better paying jobs and having someone able to raise a family on one job instead of two or three has a very positive effect. Finally, hire locally wherever possible for non-technical jobs, such as go-fer, cleaning crew, admin support.

    This is wonderful news, Peter, and I wish you much continued success in the future.

  5. Wonder Bread was a staple of my childhood. So why not embrace childhood again? Create a lobby of wonder where you offer a variety of expression tools for lobby visitors to empress themselves. Sand-based zen garden with a rake to make shapes, legos, Arduino gadgets… bring back the true definition of wonder… disruption begins with creativity., create a space where workers, clients and the occasional kid can experience wonder. Or go a step further, find children to become advisors to source new ideas.

  6. Look at models like Stgo Maker Space (Santiago Maker Space who are makers at the end of the world in Chile, South America). http://on.fb.me/1kuMwrq and consider integrating a mini version of this for local makers.

    I did a story on them a few years back when they originally launched. It was found by Macarena Pola (Chile) and Tiburcio Cordova (Argentina). The space has community shared equipment like 3D printers; laser cutting machines; beer making machines, etc. And also they offer really cool classes every month for kids of all ages. They do build your first robot building classes for kids; build your own surfboard; etc. And then they also host the annual Mini Maker Faire in Chile.

    http://andesbeat.com/2012/03/19/made-in-chile-hip-maker-space-set-to-launch-in-santiago/ (here’s the back story on the place and the co-founders)

    If you want to connect directly with Maca and/or Tiburcio, you know how to reach me. Let me know and I would be happy to make the warm intro if you want to go down and check out their space in person. It would be totally worth the trip cause Chile and the Chilean people are bleeping awesome :-)

  7. patrick says:

    Way to go ISL ! Its been really cool watching you grow over the years. From DCW, and your hacks, I think you have been part of what is making DC a really cool place to be. Looking forward to seeing what you continue to do.

    In terms of recs… I think some sort of digital wall facing the street would be great for you. Either for advertising what you do, or doing something a bit more creative with data or using video imagery for an interactive consumer experience. Maybe even some version of your foursquare check in fridge, redesigned for people walking by? Or something a bit more civic minded. Click here to register to vote? Content marketing ideas for your website/ blog / clients ( crowdsourcing ) I have no doubt you will think of something cool.

    Best to your whole team,
    Patrick Donnelly – @pdonnelly01

  8. Jane Fensterstock says:

    This is super exciting! The mini-incubator is exactly what student entrepreneurs need in DC right now.
    Congrats ISL!!

    Jane

  9. elgreg says:

    Keep the build out minimal so that you can turn it into anyone of those spaces in under 30 minutes.

    +1 for great meetup space given the metro proximity!

  10. Patrick O says:

    1) Install a very good security system. You are very near DC’s “Bermuda Triangle” I categorize as 7th, T St. and Florida Ave. Anyone who drives, walks or bikes through this are regularly would be able to explain what this means.
    2) Wonder Bread is synonymous with low grade, nutrient deficient bread and zero nutrition, high chemical infused junk food sweets. There is a good reason they recently filed bankruptcy. I would avoid any association with this “American Icon” of a company’s name.
    3) iStrategy is a force in it’s field, a leading company that captures the essence of the latest technology and ideas and incorporates them in creative ways for it’s clients. I would impart to you to use your talents and creativity to show people, every day people, how possible it is today, with manufacturing technology that is light years ahead of where it was just 20 years ago at much lower cost, to make just about anything in America from consumables to durable goods, and sell it at market prices to sizable consumer bases (without entering the oligopoly retail industry directly) and make a good profit / living doing so.

  11. Cash C. says:

    Provide a space for the community to leave suggestions! A wall of chalkboard or white board paint, long stretches of butcher paper, or even just tinted glass with writing implements near the door with the question “What do YOU want to do in the Lab?” at the top. You get to engage the local community and possibly inspire some future engineers, builders, thinkers, story tellers, and designers to fill the Lab in 10 years.

  12. […] founder and D.C. tech maven Peter Corbett made the announcement of the move on his blog, iStrategyBlabs. "We’ve leapt up to 50 people and can foresee a 100 person […]