Customer Stories

Reaching 100% Occupancy with Hello Friend

Learn how James from Hello Friend uses Optix to automate his business and spend more time with members
Hello Friend Customer Story


100% occupancy rate
50 members in-app
"Invoicing is very good, especially with a flurry of new users. I found that really straightforward in Optix." James Sledmere, Co-founder at Hello Friend

James Sledmere was operating a cafe in Sydney, Australia when he met his future business partner, Chris. Every day when Chris came into the cafe, James would greet him with a friendly, hello friend

When James and Chris decided to open a coworking space together, there seemed like no better name for the space than this familiar phrase. With that, Hello Friend Coworking was born.

The name is a perfect reflection of the community James and Chris have cultivated. Members know and greet James by name, and they feel passionately about the community that they’re creating together.

By being present in the space and committing to a hospitality-first mindset, James has shown you don’t need to be a big space to make a big impact in people’s lives. Hello Friend has grown consistently month over month, reaching the full capacity of their intimate 50-person space, within a year of operation. 

Here is how automating the day-to-day operations with Optix has helped give James the time back to focus on supporting his members and now expanding his services.

“Coworking is long-form hospitality. Members are there all day, and if you're in there too, they're with you all day. Meeting expectations for people and trying to predict what they might need all links together with hospitality.”
Hello Friend coworking space and community using Optix to promote hospitality

Finding the right software for the community

Before opening Hello Friend, James knew he wanted to use technology to help manage his space. The idea was to be as hands-off as possible when it came to the day-to-day operations so that he could dedicate his time and energy to something that only he could do – build personal relationships with his members.

When it came to selecting software, James’ philosophy was that the easier it is to interact with the system and the better it looks, the better of an experience his members will have. The better experience his members have, the more likely it is that they will want to stay and be a part of Hello Friend. 

In short, providing an exceptional digital experience would better support his members and thus, better support his business. 

He explored a number of different management solutions on the market in his hunt for the perfect coworking software. He tried out a few traditional and non-traditional softwares, some of which were quite well-known in the market. However, he found that getting up and running with the tools, as well as operating the tools themselves, were not as easy as it should be.

Getting started with Optix

James first learned about Optix when he noticed another local coworking space using Optix to manage their space. After exploring the platform more, he realized Optix satisfied his need for a platform designed with end users in mind.

He appreciated how easy it was not just for members to start using Optix, but for admin to get started on the backend. Because of its intuitive nature, anyone could pick up the software and start using it right away.

He also appreciated the beautiful visual nature of the platform and the great user experience it delivered. Having a tool like Optix meant James could deliver an outstanding experience for his members at every touchpoint, while getting the time back that he needed in order to make personal connections with his members.

Together, this made Optix a no-brainer for James and the Hello Friend team.

Hello Friend's experience with the Optix app being seamless and self explanatory

Maximizing technology to support the community

Since implementing Optix, James has been able to reach full capacity in under a year, with eyes on opening a second location in the near future. Here are some of the ways in which he’s using Optix to support the well-being and growth of his community.

Supporting unique member needs with custom Plans & Passes

Something that’s important to James and the Hello Friend ethos is meeting members where they’re at. One of the ways in which they do this is through creating custom Plans & Passes for members.

Optix Plans & Passes are designed to be extremely flexible. In theory, every member of any coworking space could have their own custom Plan or Pass. James leverages this by advertising Hello Friend passes as being personalized and built around members.

If someone wants to use the space three times a week and on weekends, James creates a custom Pass just for them. By working with his members, James has seen a consistent increase of daily drop-ins and casual pass users converting to monthly plans.

Growing his dedicated members with Assignments

Dedicated desks are an important part of growing a committed, long-term membership base. In Optix, dedicated desks are managed via Assignments, or resources that are assigned to users by admin in Optix.

Along with offering Plans and Passes to purchase, James also creates Assignments in Optix to support his long-term members and expand his committed membership base. By quickly and easily assigning a desk to a member, James can ensure his long-term members are supported and desks are accurately accounted for in the backend.

Hello Friend Coworking and Community is a home away from home that connects community

Connecting the community via the Directory and Messaging

Part of having an active and engaged community means providing them with a space to connect with one another, not just physically, but virtually as well. With the Directory, members are empowered to find and connect with their fellow members, as well as members of the admin team like James. 

With Messaging, members can easily message other members, or James and Chris, when they need something, streamlining communication and increasing collaboration.

Saving time with automated Invoicing

For small teams like James’, automating the invoicing process is a huge win. From the time a member purchases a Pass to the time they pay for it, no manual intervention is required. 

The robust filtering system in Optix enables James to see at a glance which invoices are outstanding and which have been paid. Coupled with real-time Invoice Notifications, James can stay on top of the financial processes in the space without over exerting effort.

What’s next for Hello Friend

Over the last year, our dedicated customer success team has supported James and the rest of the Hello Friend team in creating an exceptional experience for their members. 

Growing Hello Friend to be such an integral part of the community in such a short amount of time is a huge accomplishment for these first-time coworking owners. But what really makes James proud is that they’ve been able to create a safe space wherein people are invited to build meaningful connections with one another.

“It’s just really good to see people making friends here,” says James. “I feel like we’ve given them a place to do that. It’s satisfying.” 

Looking ahead, James and his business partner Chris are looking to continue to bring Hello Friend to more communities in Australia. As Hello Friend continues its impressive growth trajectory, the Optix team will be there every step of the way to ensure they are able to deliver an exceptional user experience to their members.

We’re proud to partner with clients like James, who make their communities brighter by seeing each and every member as an opportunity to make a new friend.