Why Work Alone When You Can Coworx?

Bryan Kristof Chats About Coworx and Containers

Community would not be community without the proper support system. At The Cargo District, I’ve seen the community members go above and beyond to help each other out. For instance, if MISSIO Hair wanted to rebrand, Ebbing Branding + Design would be there to help. This is why Coworx fits so well in The Cargo District, because it has an inclusive environment that adds to our existing support system. Bryan Kristof, owner of Coworx, is here to tell you all about his unique coworking space that lives inside The Cargo District and his plans for the future.


If you don’t know what coworking is, we should start there. “Coworking is a methodology whereby people and/or groups of people work alongside one another, but not for the same organization or on the same project,” as defined by Coworking Insights. Coworking is an attractive work solution for the gig economy and those who work from home who crave connectivity and interaction.

“By 2020, half of the U.S. workers will be freelancers.”

Coworx, The Cargo District’s coworking space, includes shared or private offices, dedicated desks and hot desks (open workstations), and membership options that really cater to all work types. In an article by Forbes they cited that, “By 2020, half of the U.S. workers will be freelancers.” Coworking is meant for people to collaborate, so it attracts freelancers and entrepreneurial individuals that want to learn from one another.

Nine years ago Bryan brought his dream of designing a coworking space to fruition. When asked how he would explain coworking to someone who has never heard of it, Bryan said, “It’s a cooler, more hip executive office suite. Executive suites have been around forever, and coworking is the next evolution of that concept.”

As noted in a Future Workforce Report from Upwork, “59% of U.S. companies are now using flexible work forces to some degree – remote workers and freelancers.” As more and more people are deciding to work with smaller agencies or create their own businesses, there is becoming more of a demand for spaces like Coworx.


“One of the coolest things is just the connections that people make and the collaborations that spin off.”

When we asked Bryan what he liked about coworking he said, “One of the coolest things is just the connections that people make and the collaborations that spin off.” He explained that sometimes he isn’t even aware of the magic that is happening in Coworx until he hears about it later on down the road, or sees it on social media.

He fully enjoys seeing the spark that happens between people that are brainstorming together and he “loves the synergy throughout Coworx”.

Bryan’s idea of a coworking space stems from when he had his own marketing agency in 2010. He had done some research on coworking spaces and figured that he could fill a place with people that his marketing agency could collaborate with.

Six months after the first Coworx building opened, at Lumina Station, they were full and needed a bigger space. They moved to Barclay Commons and resided there for about five years before Bryan decided Coworx needed to change. Bryan said it felt like Coworx was becoming too corporate and he needed to give it a fresh new vibe. That’s where The Cargo District came into play.


Bryan explained that he has always been very interested in architecture and design. When he was thinking about changing up the Coworx brand, he started looking into shipping container construction.

He had heard about someone building with shipping containers in Wilmington, North Carolina and was very intrigued by the idea. Once meeting the developer of The Cargo District, Leslie Shawn Smith, and seeing his vision, Bryan decided that The Cargo District had the vibe that would mesh perfectly with his ideas for rebranding Coworx.

“I want to come to work everyday to a space that’s inspiring.”

One of the ways Bryan rebranded Coworx was by using shipping containers in the design process. The shipping container architecture is what makes Coworx so different from other coworking spaces.

Bryan says, “I want to come to work everyday to a space that’s inspiring.” Turns out, the use of up-cycled containers as building blocks was just the inspiration Bryan was looking for, and exactly what his coworking space needed.

The creativity, sustainability, and uniqueness of shipping containers used in Coworx is what draws people to it. One of Bryan’s favorite parts of owning Coworx is the fact that when people walk in for the first time they usually say, “This space is so cool!”

Bryan’s love for shipping containers doesn’t stop at Coworx. When we asked Bryan about any other projects he’s been working on, he excitedly told us all about Craftspace Design.

Craftspace Design is a design and product development company that creates environmentally friendly spaces through the use of shipping containers.

Craftspace Design is focused on small projects, not huge productions. Bryan used examples like an individual cabin, a man cave, a backyard studio, or a pool house as concepts that Craftspace Design would create for their clients.

Currently, Craftspace Design is working on a project for Paws4People, a non-profit organization that gives people with physical, mental, and emotional disabilities a well-trained support dog. They plan on creating a village of containers for the non-profit organization. Pretty cool, right?


Bryan shared with us the results of a personality test he took recently that stated he has a knack for ideas. Bryan likes to look at the bigger picture, and he pictures Craftspace Design growing throughout the country.

He explained how Coworx is as a brand underneath the umbrella of Craftspace Design, and how he wants to see other Coworx spaces created in different states. In addition, he hopes to create other container-based brands like Coworx as well.

One thing that Bryan is specifically focusing on, is container cabins or cottages. He is interested in creating unique spaces for camping throughout the U.S. Bryan says, “Maybe in a few years, I’ll just be bouncing around the country trying them out.” Isn’t that the dream?

Craftspace Design is still in startup mode, but Bryan tells us that it’s already getting a lot of momentum. Maybe one day, we will come across Coworx in a different state, and when we do we will definitely be checking it out!


Meet the Author and Photographer: Tori Gatanis is a Junior at UNC Wilmington, studying Communication and Marketing. She is currently an intern at the Cargo District and loves the fact that it is dog friendly. Tori is passionate about photography and loves to capture memories when she is with friends and family.