Employer Spotlight: Merri Sheh, Founder/Owner of En Masse Coworking

Merri Sheh, Founder/Owner of En Masse Coworking, brings over 30 years of marketing and sales experience to this spectacular woman-owned co-working space. Her networking and communication skills combined with an experienced team of community managers are what put En Masse above all the rest.  Her space is like no other offering various amenities that make you feel “At home at work”. Memberships consist of 19 various sized private offices, 45 open and fixed desks, 4 meeting spaces and 2 special event areas.  From the free gourmet coffees & teas to our fabulous outdoor courtyard we have all your desired amenities covered and the best part…they are all included! We are obsessed with the evolution of our community and will do everything we can to help assist in their success.

En Masse Coworking is located at 1 High Street Court off Cattano Ave in the heart of downtown Morristown and in walking distance to The Green, fabulous restaurants, parks, and the train station.

EN-MASSE

When did you decide you wanted to start your own business and what inspired you to create En Masse Coworking?

Coworking is about connecting people and businesses in a shared environment. Networking and connecting people are 2 of my strongest and most enjoyable traits. About 3 years ago, I began researching coworking and discovered it was a growing concept all around the world and many of these spaces were finding great success in major cities.  I saw a future for coworking spaces in the suburbs and decided to take a chance on introducing a space in a growing and thriving city and Morristown New Jersey had all of this. I knew it might be a tough introduction but creating the right space with the right staff would be a big key to the success of the space. En Masse is comfortable and fun but also professional and productive.

Where did you come up with the name for the business?

I was trying to come up with a solid and catchy name that captured the essence of all En Masse has to offer. The phrase En Masse means together as one,in a group, or united. I felt it was a perfect name for the business.

What are the challenges of being a business owner?

You have to be prepared to fail but not let that be your end all.  I do think surrounding yourself with good people that are motivated with high energy is the key. No one is going to care about your business as much as you do but you want someone that wants to see the business succeed.  It’s not easy.  Also, I want to continuously motivate my people.  I don’t want them to think I am ever taking them for granted, but I also want them to know they need to work hard every day. It’s a happy medium. I know growing up through my career in corporate, many times I didn’t feel appreciated, I felt overworked and taken for granted.  A simple thank you for a job well done goes a long way.

We want our members to feel special and we want them to know their success is important to us. Each member has their own value of the space and we try to get to know what helps make their jobs easier or more successful.

What are the highpoints so far in running your business?

The town of Morristown has been extremely supportive of our business. We were able to be fully operational by the end of 2018 and just prior to the Covid-19 outbreak, we were at office capacity with a waiting list. Our team of community managers are fantastic and the group of members we have in the space are best in class. The networking opportunities are endless just like the bottomless cups of coffee and our members love it!

We have won a few awards, ( Ex: Morristown Women in Business- new business of the year,  Coworker’s top New Jersey spaces) .

Tell me what it’s like to intern for your office?

We want to make sure that people network, learn but most importantly that they grow.  So far we have had 3 Drew interns work with us. They learned various things about the business such as organizing events, inventory, opening and closing, different projects, and member relationships.  We also had them working on our social media, marketing ideas, promotions, etc.

How has Covid-19 affected your business?

En Masse was running very well and when Covid-19 hit.  In March 2020 we were at full capacity and a waiting list and now we are about 80% vacant.  We along with everyone else were affected dramatically with something we could not have ever predicted. Members were not able to come into the office and corporations and the stay at home order was in effect. I had to make a lot of difficult decisions and we worked with our members as best we could.   Slowly we are headed back to where we were. Many recent articles, corporate directions and small business models are looking towards utilizing coworking spaces in the very near future as the “New Norm”. The short term and flexible options our spaces have to offer are more in line with some many people now working from home.

What do you think is the key to your success in your business?

I would say personally it would be playing on my strengths and identifying weaknesses.  Also, I am constantly evolving and never get comfortable.  I pay attention and as I tell my children, do the right thing even if it hurts and you’ll get respect, especially as a business owner.  Lastly, I always try to be fair and surround myself with good people.

ADVICE FOR STUDENTS

What advice would you give students who are interested in starting their own businesses?

Network, network, network.  Know as many people as you can.  Find a mentor- ask if there is a project you can do for them. Build their trust & confidence. Show initiative.  Watch and observe.

Lastly, try to think of a NEW job or industry that will be thriving or growing in the future.

 

Posted by Yasmin Acosta
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