Located in the heart of Downtown Dallas, Fat Bear Coworking is a multidimensional space constructed with the new generation of business owners in mind. Established by Dallas based entrepreneur and SMU business student, Yash Sutaria, Fat Bear Coworking provides a vibrant setting for aspiring entrepreneurs to take their businesses to the next level. With its modern design and various amenities, Fat Bear offers a downtown lifestyle that is both affordable and luxurious, perfectly suited for any business professional to thrive.
Sutaria, born in Canada to Indian immigrants, arrived in America with his family when he was only three years old. His business-minded focus inspired by his father’s self-made success prompted Yash to start his very first company at the age of 15.
After multiple failed start-ups, Sutaria was able to learn from his mistakes to finally develop a winning recipe for business. In light of his astounding achievements, Sutaria began to think of how he could give back to the community that enabled him to succeed. Considering how he could best encourage and equip like-minded individuals who lacked the support and foundation; his goal was to help other young entrepreneurs reach their full potential and provide them with a place to start, thus giving birth to Fat Bear Coworking.
Currently housed on the 3rd floor of the Alto building at 211 N Ervay St., this new space spans 10,000 square feet. It is open 24/7 and includes conference rooms, private offices, event spaces, and more; all of which were designed to help ensure young business owners flourish. Intended for creatives, startups, and motivated individuals from all walks of life, Fat Bear Coworking provides the perfect environment for collaboration as well as a place for entrepreneurs to elevate their businesses. Sutaria plans to use this collaborative environment to attract driven entrepreneurs, sharing his experience and resources with the intention of Fat Bear becoming an oasis of inspiration for young business owners.
Sutaria was gracious enough to give us his time for a brief interview. Read the Q&A below for an overview of our conversation, and be sure to come out to the Fat Bear Coworking launch event June 20th from 6pm-9m.
Most people in college focus on partying and trying to graduate. What made you decide to start your first company, Greek Socials, at 19?
I’ve always had a love for entrepreneurship. I started dabbling with starting businesses at 15. I worked at a car wash and ended up starting a mobile detailing company. I learned from that and eventually got to college where I was able to take past experiences and start my first successful company. This became became Greek Socials, which based around my experiences in college life.
In your opinion what made it so successful?
The number one thing I changed from previous businesses that didn’t work is changing the mindset of why I started the business. Instead of starting it to make money I started it because it’s something I wanted to do. Having long term clients that were satisfied was more important than getting a quick buck.
Eventually you started Fat Bear Agency. What did that company service?
When I was doing Greek Social I started dabbling in custom apparel, and Instagram for some of these fraternities and sororities. With Fat Bear Agency I used a lot of my connections and the same ideology of giving the best service possible to transition into that business model of helping companies further their brand.
I’m hearing a lot about social media and event planning. It sounds like your business model is really about bringing people together. What about that intrigues you and makes you want to go in that field of business?
I think a lot of it is about where my focus has been. I enjoy being social and going to events. Eventually I noticed I had a desire to plan and I enjoyed that. I love planning peoples events and the overall aspect of bringing people together.
Now you have Fat Bear Coworking. What separates Fat Bear from other Coworking spaces?
I started my first successful company out of a Coworking space and it was affordable. I couldn’t pay rent like the other businesses, and I built a lot of connections that way. I met a lawyer and a website developer and that helped me grow my business. When I got successful I wanted to give back so I started Fat Bear Coworking. What makes it different is its a space that provides the same service and amenities as other places but at a more affordable rate. Any money that’s above our base costs and rent we put back into the space for networking events and other ways to help. It’s not officially a non profit yet, but were in the process of making it one to help the community and give back. I also have one meeting a month for our members to consult with them and help them figure out ways to expand their business. We’re really invested in our tenants and making sure they’re successful.
No great business is built overnight. What are some of the hardships you encountered on your journey to being an entrepreneur?
Everyone’s going to fail. I think the thing that holds most entrepreneurs back is not learning from those mistakes and trying again. My first 4 businesses weren’t successful. Starting a 5th business after losing all of my money was my biggest obstacle. You start wondering if you should just stick with school and get a 9 to 5, but I decided to just try again. It’s all about persistence.
This generation is filled with people who want to be their own boss. Why do you think we’re so focused on breaking the traditional work model?
The opportunity from then to now has changed. We have things at our disposal that we didn’t before. The culture has shifted more towards being independent as opposed to just going to school and getting a job. People lean more towards not needing a degree and thats a culture change that’s being put out that’s giving a lot of people courage to try entrepreneurship early and at a young age. Also, there’s a lot of influencers and motivators that are out there that wasn’t there before that are saying I don’t have to be an employee. People are seeing that and saying hey if he can do it so can I.
Having parents that were immigrants did you run into any backlash from them on your path to success?
Indian parents see education and following in their footsteps as very important. They weren’t supportive at first. They’d constantly say this isn’t going to work, and that I need to get an education. I didn’t understand it at first so I kept trying. We got in a lot of fights on my path, but eventually when it all worked it they understood.
Who are some entrepreneurs you look towards for inspiration?
My favorite is Jeff Bezos. That guy did things I can’t even fathom. What he built is taking over the world. He makes our lives easier and I really respect that. Warren buffet as well. He had $6000 at 30 and now he’s one of the worlds richest men.
You have a launch event planned for Fat Bear, what can people expect from it?
We’re going to have music, drinks and more. Everything will be complimentary and we’re going to showcase the space. It’ll just be a fun event to show what Fat Bear is all about.
Fat Bear Coworking officially launches Thursday, June 20th, hosting an open house from 6pm-9pm. Hors d’ oeuvres and cocktails will be served.