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Why Novemmundi returned to the co-working space of Greenhouse Antwerp

17 February 2021 | Greenhouse Antwerp

Novemmundi Publishing was born in the summer of 2019, because of an inescapable passion for language and storytelling from founder Grietje François. This linguist, with incidentally also ten years of experience as a self-employed person in marketing and sales, consciously opted last year for a career switch as a writer where ‘visual storytelling’ is central. In March 2020, she was told that the publication of her manuscript had been postponed due to the outbreak of the coronavirus, which inspired her all the more to start on her own. Enter: Novemmundi Publishing.

In January 2021, after a hiatus of a few months, we welcomed Novemmundi back to the co-working space of Greenhouse Antwerp. We spoke with founder Grietje and asked her why she returned to Greenhouse in this turbulent period.


Hi Grietje! First of all, tell us a little bit about yourself and Novemmundi.

Hello, I am Grietje. The love for Japanese anime during my childhood inspired me to study Japanese. It also taught me more about storytelling and how to make a story intriguing. This passion inspired me to write my first sci-fi story after my studies: it started as a short story… but now, 20 years later, it is a story that takes place across nine worlds. It was given the name ‘Novem mundi’. And although I have not (yet) done anything with the story itself, I eventually decided to use the name as a brand name for my own publishing company.

Grietje François Grietje François

Through Novemmundi, I published my first book independently: a YA sci-fi story that you can order on my website. The audiobook is available from March through the Luisterpunt Bib, an initiative for people with a reading restriction. I am also active on the Leuven radio in the programme Radio Spoetnik. I would like to continue this path too and develop it through Novemmundi.

What was your motivation to choose for co-working at Greenhouse?

I’m starting again as a freelance marketing project manager and that job requires a space where I can work quietly during the day with a good internet connection: something that is not always obvious as a mother of two at home. The Greenhouse co-working space seemed ideal for that – and I am not disappointed!

I already knew the name Greenhouse: I used to drive past the hub in Berchem every day and I was always attracted by the beautiful green facade. In the summer I saw people chatting on the terrace, in the winter I could sneak a peek at nightfall. Everything I saw appealed to me… which finally made me take the step to actually walk in one day.

Hospitality assistant Shanti Hospitality assistant Shanti

I also visited other co-working spaces, but none of them had the perfect match between domestic feel and professional environment that Greenhouse has. The clean, cosy and very trendy interior met all my expectations – and attracts an interesting mix of co-workers. I really enjoy being among both creatives and business professionals, as I place myself in both categories.

When I finally came for a tour, I only asked one question: “Is it possible for me to come and work 24/7?” The answer was a clear yes – which is exactly what I need as a working mother. The fact that Greenhouse Antwerp is also situated within cycling distance from my home, made me decide immediately: Novemmundi would from now on be active from Greenhouse Antwerp.

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It is not the first time you had a membership at Greenhouse. Earlier you left, but you came back. Why?

I left at the time because I had stopped working as a freelance marketer to be able to work 100% on my first book. I still used my flex workplace from time to time, but the need was less than before. Moreover, when I stopped my freelance activities, I also stopped receiving my salary benefit. Then you have to start looking at your budgets more carefully. I prepared a business case and realised that the rent for my flexible workplace was a luxury at the time, which made me decide to end my membership.

Today, I am back working as a freelance marketer: selling books in corona times has limited success, and in the meantime, money had to keep coming in. So I decided to go back to work at Greenhouse: everything is provided, I am not disturbed by the kids or limited by bad internet. In Greenhouse, there is a good working atmosphere and you can make phone calls undisturbed. And that’s what I need at the moment.

Curious about the co-working? Book a guided tour!

What are your experiences so far?

Good! Currently, there are less co-workers around because of the working from home obligation, so I am completely at ease. (laughs) For the rest, all the facilities are perfectly in order, as promised, so I have no complaints.

I’d also like to say that the co-working space of Greenhouse can be used for so much more than just sitting behind a computer screen: I’m proof of that! After all, I recently chose to have one of my most recent radio recordings take place live in one of the phone booths in the hub. The recording went much more smoothly than at home. Thanks to the fast internet and the good environment, the recording went flawlessly and I was able to do it in peace. Highly recommended!


Do you have a message to share?

Greenhouse Antwerp Greenhouse Antwerp

Well, because I am personally concerned about sustainability – my book is printed entirely in green – Greenhouse is a real match for me. Are you, as an organisation, also looking for a professional and – I can’t emphasise it enough – trendy workplace that attaches great importance to sustainability? Then Greenhouse is definitely the place for you!

Are you also looking for a professional co-working space?

Don’t hesitate to contact us. We would be happy to introduce our hubs to you, tell you more about the possibilities and help you find a tailor-made office solution for your company. See you soon?