For the better part of the past decade, Kyle Ashby has been Santa Barbara’s entrepreneur enabler. Using his own web development background, the Goleta native and UCSB grad connects budding business owners under the StartupSB umbrella and was integral in creating the Impact Hub on State Street. His latest venture is The Sandbox, a new work space and event venue on Olive Street just below East Haley.
Who’s behind The Sandbox? My business partner, Mark Schulbach, and I have known each other for more than 30 years. We were both in a place in our careers where the collaboration made sense and our skills and interests complemented each other. Mark’s hustle as an entrepreneur, contractor, and endurance athlete is ridiculously inspiring. Add in a great group of investors and the best event producer in town, Warner Anderson, and we’ve got a solid team coming together.
What makes it stand out? We have one of the coolest buildings in town and are offering the biggest variety of work options. The building design is a mix between a big-city loft, warehouse, art gallery, and California beach bungalow. We’ve built it with community and collisions as the focus, including a street-front space with a large roll-up door where our members can interact with the public or meet in our Airstream conference room. We’ve also got a theater-sized screen and a ridiculous audio system that will allow us to host business presentations and screen movies. We’re a big part of the upcoming Santa Barbara Jazz Festival.
Is there room for another spot like this in town? Coworking is growing everywhere, and Santa Barbara is still in its infancy when it comes to innovative work spaces and building communities around them. There certainly is a lot of noise around entrepreneurship and work spaces lately, but Santa Barbara has a lot to learn from other communities. I think the spaces that provide value, expertise, and a true understanding of how to build community and opportunity will rise up.
Who will use The Sandbox? We are focused on the intersection between technology, creativity, and lifestyle with a passion for the environment that allows us to live the outdoor-focused life we do. Our members will be entrepreneurs, start-ups, technologists, creative professionals, lifestyle-brand companies, and organizations that focus on developing community, entrepreneurship, and solutions for environmental issues.
The so-called Lagoon District is really starting to attract some creative folks. Tell me more about the neighborhood. We love the neighborhood. Combine a community of architects, designers, furniture stores, contractors, creative agencies, craftsmen, recording studios, new entrepreneurial and start-up ventures, and some of the best beer and Mexican food in town — the area has a great community vibe that thrives on creativity. Add in places like SBCast, Bici Centro, Oniracom, and LoaCom, and you have a truly local ecosystem supporting itself and inspiring hustle. It feels like the Santa Barbara I knew as a kid and college student.
What is the range of rates for event hosting and work spaces? We have coworking memberships ranging from part-time to full-time from $129 to $300 a month, fixed desks in a private area for $450 to $650, and semi-private to private offices from $950 a month. Event and conference-room rental pricing is based on the number of people and the time needed, starting with conference-room rental at $50 an hour.