Everything is free in Ziferblat. Apart from the time you spend there.
Originally called Treehouse for Adults in 2011, Ziferblat has come a long way since it’s inception under think tank founder Ivan Meetin.
The Russian Meetin created Ziferblat for the soul purpose of creating a space for like-minded people to share interactions, whether they be leisurely or business driven. Initially the brand remained small, but it’s modern forward-thinking outlook on business made them increasingly popular and led them to formalise the business into a pay-per minute model.
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Ziferblat Marketing director Ben Davies is a strong supporter of the pay-per-minute and idea, and supports the autonomy it offers users.
“The pay-per-minute scheme is very succesful with our users – people like it. Despite being on the clock, they feel very relaxed and don’t feel guilty about buying another coffee. It allows them to be themselves.”
Ziferblat are currently based in the Northern Quarter, Manchester’s cultural hub for independent businesses and as Ben states, this has been a roaring success. “It’s interesting how Manchester is developing. Being around here for over 7 years, you quickly realise that the Northern Quarter has a fierce love for independence.
“We’re hoping to open a second Ziferblat in the Northern Quarter. We know that this is our hotspot, there’s a large proportion of creative industries and people here, so why not use it for what it is?”
For Ziferblat, their success can come down to many factors – but one core success came from people’s desire to get away from the corporate business setting into a more comfortable, homely space.
“The way we use city centre space is changing. As we become increasingly more urban, we need more places where you can go to do what you like. Minimal barriers, minimal friction, co-creation and co-operation” Ben says.
“We’re trying to create venues that are designed for modern life and modern business interactions. We offer Ziferblat users a break from the world” as founder Ivan Meetin quoted, “Our mission is to create a place conducive to people to feeling free, devoid of the pressures of modern living”
One of the biggest suprises for Ben is how many ‘corporates’ which they have attracted. “Google, NHS, BBC, people from these companies have all came to use our space. I think people are more interested in organic spaces, and less in perfect places”.
In regards to a demographic, Ziferblat aren’t really interested in appealing to just one kind of person. According to Ben however, they regularly attract many freelancers.
“Freelancers work isn’t predictable, and we don’t rely on charging our users monthly fees. Ziferblat is to be used as and when you need it, we’re not corporate and never will be. People don’t want unlimited access – they want access as and when they need it!”
Another reason for success for Ziferblat can be tied down to the ever-growing Sharing Economy, where more businesses than ever are moving to share spaces, to cut down costs and boost productivity.
Ben says “The reason why people have done permanent things for so long is because it’s comfortable and always delivers a set fee. So being a business which is used as and when you need it makes you an efficient service – and a valuable part of the sharing economy”
“As we expand – we need to be in the creative cultural quarter to continue to grow our brand. We offer a coffee, frelancing vibe – that’s what we commonly attract.” Ben says. Staying true to the area they’re based in allows the brand to adapt on a national level.
As new generations find their way into the business and freelancing world – new challenges arise. “A lot of millenials that we’re attracting want something that is INTERESTING.
“They want to live their life and have a story behind it – something to connect with. Work how you want and where you want”.
If you want to find more information out about Ziferblat, find their website at http://www.ziferblat.co.uk/, or find them on Twitter at @
By Dan Willis