TEXARKANA -- Like any relationship or partnership should begin, Fab/co originated on the foundation of a friendship.
Danielle Hamblett, who goes by Dani, and Traci Pitman met through related work and their collective ideas have blossomed into a successful business -- not once, but twice -- after years of hard work, perseverance and networking.
When they first met in 2009, Hamblett was an editor for Appeal Magazine, a local lifestyle publication, and Pitman, who was working full time for Texarkana College, was hired to do freelance design work for the magazine.
Over time, the two continued to collaborate on projects. In 2015 they decided to put their heads together and teach a continuing education social media course at TC.
"It was called 'Building your Brand Online,'" said Pitman. "We wanted to help small businesses understand how to develop their voice and tell their story on social media."
The class would eventually land the dynamic duo their first client, DeMita Torrans, who remains a client to this day. This was the foundation of For All Brandkind, a local branding and marketing agency that specializes in digital marketing.
The struggle was real at first for the two, with Hamblett bouncing around town in Texarkana to find good internet and Pitman balancing her full time job at TC while hoping to grow For All Brandkind. Both women live in the country, and having consistent access to high speed internet was a challenge.
"We would work at Starbucks or any place with wifi," Hamblett said. "The entire time we were doing that, we wished that there was space where we could work."
There were times they even shot product photos in Starbucks, joking that the staff knew them by first name.
"We would even have dinner delivered to us at Starbucks," Pitman said.
They came to the conclusion that they needed the privacy and ability to focus in their own space to really grow their business. The idea of a shared workspace was new to Texarkana in January 2020, when they found the perfect spot at 3307 Texas Blvd. The concept was something both Hamblett and Pitman had seen in other cities and felt was missing in Texarkana.
"When we looked at the space, it was really big," Hamblett said. "We knew we could have our own office and still have plenty of space for other people to come and work."
Their office space is adorned with large, ample windows, colorful art and plenty of furniture for lounging. Desks line the pathway through the building leading up to enclosed offices, and a small section dedicated to making social media content is stationed in the back right corner.
Things seemed to be going well for the new business venture, but a few days after they held a ribbon cutting, COVID-19 forced them to close their doors. Around the same time, a client of theirs decided to go with another agency. Things were happening all at once and the pressure was mounting.
"I just had that sick feeling in the pit of my stomach," Pitman said. "We'd just signed a lease and the world was shutting down, and I was worried we wouldn't be able to pay the rent."
Despite their fears, they were able to continue to grow their marketing business during the pandemic and now the coworking space, which they named Fab/co, is reopened and available to the community.
"We've had a few businesses come in and host meetings with staff just to shake things up and do something different," Hamblett said.
A wide range of people use the space at Fab/co, including local nonprofits, boards, businesses, wedding planners, realtors, architects and out-of-town business professionals.
"One of the people that worked here a few weeks ago was with Facebook/Meta in Dallas," Hamblett said.
What they would like to see more is for the community to take advantage of their space.
"A lot more people in Texarkana are working remotely these days," said Pitman. "We want them to know that if they don't have an ideal office, we've got space for them to work."
Guests of Fab/co can either rent the space by day or by month, and benefit from the privacy, high-speed fiber internet and a "vibe" that is one-of-a-kind.
"What's really interesting is that you never know who you're going to run into," said Pitman.