Current co-living and co-working trends are noted mostly in major urban centers, but companies like Swissescape.co are putting up territory out in Mother Nature. Founded in 2016 as the first co-living and co-working space in the Swiss Alps, Swissescape.co is making milestones and set to expand its locations globally, tailored to the lifestyle of today’s nomadic millennial generation.
1. What inspired you to start Swiss Escape?
Working remotely was always a dream which was difficult to achieve but spending a month in Lisbon with inspiring entrepreneurs led us to believe that we could achieve this lifestyle for ourselves. The coliving market was more inclined towards cities or beach towns and since we got the taste of working remotely in the mountains before, we wanted to open up this world to everyone.
2. What were you doing before you founded SE and what are some past skills/experiences that is helping you right now with SE?
Our education in tourism was the first step. Together with Fanny getting experience from startups and Haz gaining his expertise from travel industry, which combined, resulted in skills like digital marketing, business development, creative design and logistics. These basics helped us plant the seeds in the ground and then we just learnt by doing.
3. What are the biggest pain points and challenges you faced in the early stages of SE, and how have you resolved them? What are remaining issues yet to be resolved?
Peer pressure is definitely the first, given that no one around us started their own business at a young age and therefore to push through that wall and keep believing in what we do, was the hardest. Second, which we assume is the biggest challenge for any startup is getting known and getting people to believe why we do what we do. It was not until we did our first test run that we got genuine feedback saying “this place is amazing” and that’s what made us believe in it.
4. Do you have any role models/business models that you admire and have tried to emulate during the existence of SE?
Simon sinek was the reason we defined the core of our business model and built up a belief system that resonates with Swiss Escape. Then, it’s the digital nomad community itself are all inspiring individuals who helped answer many of our questions and were always willing to lend a helping hand.
5. What is the best part of running SE? Least favorite aspect?
Without a doubt, the best part are the people we come across. Each one so inspiring that it breaks the barrier between hosts and guests.
Logistics is something that has to be done which requires a lot of time and effort. Often some complications do arrive which is never fun and this is something we hope to streamline in the future.
6. What would you say is your style/philosophy at SE?
High quality is a priority for us. We ensure that everything around the house is in perfect condition. Secondly, it is a space where ideas fly around so helping each other out, not only at the business level but personal too helps create the understanding that Swiss Escape is more than just a coliving space.
7. Where do you see SE in the next 5 - 10 years?
Killing seasonality. Although that’s a long shot but many alpine villages suffer during low season to welcome guests therefore we would like to expand the space to other places to help the local economy run. Our clients are not prone to seasons and these are the kind of people the locals want to attract so it’s a win-win.
8. What did you want to be when you grow up?
Haz: I was very fascinated by the Jurassic period so I wanted to study archeology and even got admitted in a university in the U.S but my parents were very skeptical so I dropped the idea. However, I still do watch every documentary that is out about Dinosaurs, hence I got the nickname: Dinoman.
Fanny: A teacher, like my mom. But I dropped the idea quite soon when I realized that I’m not a kid lover.
9. Your top 3 interests/passions/hobbies.
Haz: Travelling. Photography. Astronomy.
Fanny: Travelling, reading, yoga/meditation.
10. How do you see Switzerland as a place for future entrepreneurial growth (coliving, other industries)?
Switzerland is a thriving economy and that means more investment going into startups with brilliant ideas. One thing that is great about Switzerland is that it has all the infrastructure for coliving (also in remote locations). It just needs entrepreneurs to take the leap of faith.
11. Currently what tech platforms/software do you use?
Canva. Later.com. Slack. Trello. Transferwise. Calendly. All things Google.