Retail's Future Is Fuzzy. This New Silver Lake Community Space Gives a Glimpse of What it Could Look Like

Occupying Depop's former store, Worklife Studios is a retail-meets-office space where consumers can discover small businesses and founders can connect with local prospects and other founders IRL.

View Gallery 14 Photos

A revolving door of store closures and reopenings. Live shopping and the metaverse. Inflation and supply chain demands. Physical retail's future is complex but a new creative community center in Silver Lake called Worklife Studios is a prime example of what it could look like and how cultivating experience-based connections with consumers in local neighborhoods has the power to shape omnichannel shopping.

Taking over Depop's former 4,367 square-foot store, the retail-meets-office space is a project from Worklife, the creator-friendly venture capital firm that increased its fund sevenfold in less than three years through bold bets on the future of work, resulting in early-stage investments in nine billion-dollar companies.

Photo: Courtesy of Aris Jeffers

Complete with a podcast slash photo studio and intimate venue for concerts, dinners, and events, Worklife Studios was designed to foster collaboration and creativity among founders, future customers, and the Silver Lake community. In the evenings, Instagram poets like Rupi Kaur will host gatherings. By day, NFT workshops will be open to Worklife's team and their friends.

The office doubles as a retail space for local artisans and on Sundays, the parking lot will be a farmer's market. World-class chefs will host intimate dinners and electric bicycles provided for exploring Silver Lake. Worklife Studios' slate of upcoming events includes collaborations with Recess, Hedley & BennettHBO The Hype designer Kai Nguyen, and YouTuber Cody Ko.

Photo: Courtesy of Aris Jeffers

"One thing I recognized coming out of the pandemic was a lack of community in specific neighborhoods. Everyone was spending way too much time working. It was sad to see all the retail closures on Melrose and the fact that the Depop space had been boarded up for two years. So I decided to take a step back and see if there's a way for us to revitalize neighborhoods and give emerging direct-to-consumer brands and founders a space to host community events," Worklife Studios founder Brianne Kimmel told UncoverLA.

Kimmel's idea was to develop an experiential space for consumers to discover new products and where founders can record a podcast, take product photos, and get in front of interesting people in ways they can't if they're only online. Her vision was inspired by a few retail spaces in different cities, one being Rebar in Las Vegas where you can buy anything in the space including chairs, video game machines, and mugs that locals can store for when they stop by next.

Kairos and Worklife Studios Event

Four years ago, Kimmel had risen to the pinnacle of both Expedia and Zendesk but found herself loathing corporate office culture. She envisioned a future of work that would lead to radically more fulfilling lives. Remote work that wasn't working from home but working from anywhere, spending your time with people you value, and creating art and businesses—even if you have no technical background. She saw that one day Instagram poets would become tech founders, immigrants would launch billion-dollar businesses, and the "office" would soon be dead.

"During the pandemic, I was optimistic about e-commerce and the fact that the next big brand could be built from your kitchen table — there's so much freedom and flexibility in doing that. But what I think is missing today and why we're opening Worklife Studios is the fact that e-commerce can only go so far. Brands need to spend time with people in their community in real life to see what they want from them. I don't think retail is dead but people are craving community and want to get together around a dinner," she said.

4GSeller x Bad Vintage Pop-up

With its portfolio company Kairos, Worklife Studios put on an event about what it takes to build an NFT collective. Next month, it'll host an educational workshop with Pietra — a creator economy startup it has backed — with 30 emerging creators who have launched their own DTC brand using Pietra. These types of workshops and evening happy hours in the center can accommodate about 100 people, according to Kimmel.

Announced via its newsletter and flyers distributed to nearby Silver Lake shops, pop-ups open to the public will be a linchpin of Worklife Studios. Last weekend, it hosted a streetwear pop-up with Vincent Ferraro aka "4gseller" — a top seller on Grailed who boasts an expansive collection of vintage fashion finds including rare Celine and Chrome Hearts pieces — and Bad Vintage NY, a curator of vintage clothing sourced and reworked in New York City.

4GSeller x Bad Vintage Pop-up

Expansion is in Worklife Studios' future, specifically in New York and Florida. Check out the gallery above for what to expect and watch this space — a bunch of exciting events and workshops will be popping up here.

Worklife Studios, 3531 Sunset Blvd., L.A. 90026

Proud Member Of FFC
Get Our Newsletter