Photos by Amy Gee
Meet the entrepreneurs of Fool Proof: Erik Westra and Meg Lewis. These two Pollenites are behind one of the 18 values-driven businesses that have come together in support of Pollen’s mission to invest in human connection. Together, they challenge Pollenites to raise $20,000 by Give to the Max Day on November 15, which they will match dollar for dollar.
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All About Fool Proof
Fool Proof is a shared workspace in Minneapolis for remote and independent workers rooted in friendship, creativity, and collaboration. “And good times,” says Meg Lewis, who co-owns the space along with Erik Westra. “Good times. Can that be a core value?” Erik adds.
As an organization pushing the needle forward to blend friendship with work and learning, Fool Proof strives to be an accurate representation of Minnesota’s creative community. “Meg and I both care a lot about inclusivity,” says Erik, “We want everyone to feel completely comfortable working here, visiting, and reaching out.”
Through thoughtful events, exciting pop-ups, and an intimate workspace, Meg and Erik are thrilled to bring the Minnesota creative community together as friends old and new. “Anyone interested in skill sharing, teaching workshops, participating in events, and working at the space should absolutely reach out,” says Erik. “Even your idea is a weird one.”
Adds Meg: “Especially if your idea is a weird one!”
Let’s hear from Fool Proof
Pollen: Where do you find creative inspiration?
Meg: Erik and I independently travel a lot for work and are constantly meeting, and inspired by local business owners and the people we meet along the way. We’re interested in studying what’s working for other cities and applying it to our business model, but in a very Minnesota way anchored by community, genuine kindness, and fun.
Erik: We’re also creatively inspired by the people who work at Fool Proof. I feel extremely lucky about that and a little guilty.
Erik: We get inspiration, friendship, and rent from these people!
Meg: I think we’re geniuses!
Pollen: What does the future hold for your work and your company?
Meg: We’re in an exciting stage in our business where everything keeps growing and we’re enjoying watching new ideas unfold. Because of Erik’s expertise in event production, we’re going to continue to host new and exciting events both at our space but also venues around the cities. And with my excitement for non-traditional events, you’ll likely see an event or two that are unlike anything you’ve seen. We’re also excited to be a model and form of inspiration for others to start shared workspaces of their own!
Pollen: What responsibilities do you feel as a business leader in your community?
Meg: Personally, I’m always happy to have the responsibility of being a vibe-setter. I love getting other people excited, empowered, and keeping them curious. Fool Proof is such a great way for us to be able to keep the Minnesota creative community friendly, collaborative, and inclusive.
Erik: We’re not interested in having a hierarchy of people within our community.
Meg: Exactly. I don’t want anyone to have imposter syndrome or feel as though they’re less than another member of the community. Promoting our events as opportunities for us all to share and learn is a great way for me to achieve that! We all have something to offer one another and I’m thrilled Fool Proof can facilitate that.
Erik: On a more micro level, Fool Proof moved to a storefront in Northeast Minneapolis this year (I guess technically our address is SE, but don’t tell anyone that). We both live in NE, my kids go to school in NE, we support NE businesses on a daily basis. We were both so excited to join such an active neighborhood business community.
Pollen: Why do you value being part of the Pollen community?
Meg: Erik and I are huge fans of supporting communities outside of our own at Fool Proof. I’ve found my favorite way to impact and communicate with other communities is to support, cheerlead, and be an ally to organizations who are a positive, impactful voice in those communities.
Pollen: What does collaboration look like for Fool Proof?
Meg: A lot of the folks that have desks or work at Fool Proof are independent workers who have a variety of skills. Whether that’s a graphic designer, illustrator, developer, animator, writer, podcaster, producer, editor, entrepreneur, we run the gamut when it comes to individual skills.
Erik: All true. Though, no one seems to “collaborate” with me on taking out the trash. I’d like to see that collaborative spirit grow into this area in the coming year.
Meg: This seems like a perfect place to end this interview.
Join Meg and Erik: DONATE TO MATCH THE HIVE TODAY