Last April, Melissa Oholendt Photography found a new home with 5 additional creatives and friends at The COMN (pronounced, The Common). After years of working in our pjs, and watching our social skills casually slip down the drain, we decided to do something about it and for us? That meant creating a co-working space where we could come, work efficiently, meet clients and have easy access to all the happy hours our businesses (and bar cart) could handle. And do all of those things within a space that was both inspirational and aesthetically pleasing.

So, what happens when six creatives decide to share their lives, experiences & design aesthetics to create an inspirational place where work gets done, connections are made and (the occasional) party is had?


Sounds mildly like Real World Minneapolis, right? Thankfully, we were miles away from angsty roommates, torrid romances and yelling matches. And yes, throwing six, beautifully different, people together in one space has the potential to be a disaster but we found something very different with each other. What happened, that I’m not sure any of us expected, was that a community was created and developed inside those 4 very white walls.

During our tenure with The COMN, four of us purchased homes, three of us added extra employees & associates, one of us climbed Mount Everest and is currently getting ready to travel around the world (literally) (overachiever) (just kidding, I love you Paul), one of us was an integral part of the creation & execution of a shop that focuses on sustainable & thoughtfully made products that has gained national attention, one of us launched a line of home & event products with Target Corp., one of us had a cookbook come out, one of us added two new fashion lines to her already successful (and sold-out) line of womenswear and all of us collaborated on various projects at some point. And the beautiful part? We went through all of those things together.


For those of us in the creative world, I think we minimize the great qualities of having coworkers. We’re so eager to get out on our own, that we don’t realize what we’re missing when we no longer have the 9-5, water cooler experiences. The small frustrations of running your own business have a safe place to be vented. In the same way, the challenges that seem to pop-up on the daily, have a sounding board and wise words of wisdom. Celebrations are maximized and always contain a bottle of champagne. There wasn’t a day that passed where there wasn’t some kind of meeting of the minds, whether it was just a quick and casual or lengthy and necessary. Those are things we were never afforded when we worked alone, at home. We did that for each other. And made lifelong friends throughout it.

The COMN will cease to exist at the end of this month; not for any negatives reasons but because it was time for us all to move on to bigger things. We are so proud to say that the concept of a co-working space is alive and well in Minneapolis and we were so lucky to be a part of it – together – for a short time.

Promise you will come and visit me at my new home (with some of the same familiar faces), at First & First’s Vandalia Tower space, starting in April.


If you are looking for a space to work and join with others, check out these amazing folks doing great things in our community:
Restore Colab

And very special thanks to these fine publications who saw it fit to feature our COMN community over the last year in the best of lights:
Mpls / St. Paul Magazine, Best of Design Feature
American Express OPEN Forum
The Midwestival, Midwest Maker(s)
Common Table Co, Creative Feature


First Photo by the wonderful Canary Grey for Mpls / St. Paul Magazine, all other photos by my iPhone.

(2) Comments

  1. Shade Bakare

    This almost brought tears to my eyes. I came across all of you at some point on Instagram, then read further on your websites. The more I learned, the more I loved. As the founder of a start-up soon to launch and graduating college senior [UGA woohoo] this semester has been the most trying of my entire life, emotionally and spiritually. It has taken everything in me [and some help from He who works through me] to make my vision happen. I can only imagine what a blessing this time at #thecomn was for you all. Congratulations on your success Melissa and best of luck with all of your dreams in the future :]