Alpine Aesthetic: Step inside The Aspen Office
Meet entrepreneur Emily Bibb, the co-founder of downtown’s stylish and serene co-working hub.
While getting a glimpse inside the former Aspen Sojourner office, where I worked as digital editor years ago, I didn’t recognize an inch of it. The longtime local quarterly magazine is still in print, but during the fall of 2020, its staff transitioned to remote work, leaving the bleak space up for lease.
The Aspen Office quickly moved in and opened for business in January of last year. Since then, it has not only filled a void for a serene and stylish shared environment, but also served an immediate and increased demand for the wave of professional nomads now living at altitude. In addition to all of the inclusive amenities it offers with membership, The Aspen Office hosts quarterly networking and regular social events, plus provides the perfect backdrop for emerging startups interested in a retreat from their base cities.
With Women’s History Month underway, I recently sat down with the inspiring entrepreneur Emily Bibb (who’s also married to The Aspen Office co-founder George Raptis) to learn about how they landed as full-time locals, launched a business amid the pandemic and to go behind the design of downtown’s chicest co-working space.
Katie Shapiro: What are your original ties to Aspen?
Emily Bibb: In some way, shape or form, we’ve always considered Aspen home. As a ski racer, George has been traveling from Australia to Aspen for about 20 years. He also previously resided in Aspen full time, before splitting his time between New York City and San Francisco. As a couple we have so many memories here too, including our wedding in Ashcroft in 2020.
Shapiro: What drew you both back?
Bibb: Truly, Aspen offers the best of both worlds. It’s electric. You’re not only surrounded by the great outdoors, but the stride of a town that is truly global. We’ve come to fall in love with the history, people and energy, which is unlike any other.
Shapiro: And what was the tipping point to relocate permanently?
Bibb: We made the full-time move to Aspen at the start of the pandemic in March of 2020. Of course, we didn’t think at the time that we’d end up here full time, but the longer time went on and we settled into mountain life, the more we wanted to make it work. Never in our wildest dreams did we think Aspen would become home. We feel so fortunate that we live in a time where remote work is at the forefront, allowing us to be in an environment that we choose, not the other way around. Being able to do what we love, in a place that we love, is something we don’t take for granted. Even being part-timers for many years, Aspen has exceeded our expectations as full-timers. Sometimes I think Aspen chose us.
Shapiro: How did you come together as co-founders of The Aspen Office?
Bibb: It’s no secret that over the last two years, there’s been a shift in how and where people are working — especially in a town like Aspen, where work-life balance is highly encouraged. There was never an idea or formal business plan. It all happened organically. What started as a personal need for the two of us — craving an office setting, yet not wanting the full- time commitment — suddenly became an opportunity to fill a need that others we’re open to exploring, too. One night over a glass of vino, we just decided to go for it, and The Aspen Office was born. It’s truly a passion project for the two of us. We want it to be a place that encourages connection and ideas. It’s our way of contributing to a town we love so much.
Shapiro: Tell me about your day jobs.
Bibb: Together, we run a remote-work tech company, Breef (breef.com). Given our separate backgrounds, the two of us are really inspired to build things for the next generation of work — especially following the pandemic. I consider myself a digital brand-builder at heart and I’m passionate about bringing early-stage startups into culture (past experience includes POPSUGAR, VSCO and S’well). George is a true innovator and entrepreneur. He started his career as a lawyer, but quickly became at the forefront of fintech and was on the founding team of Credible (credible.com). Breef was a direct response to the changing needs and priorities of companies seeking a more flexible workforce. This is the future — and we want to offer solutions for this new way with both The Aspen Office and Breef.
Shapiro: I am blown away by the transformation you’ve completed!
Bibb: Right? We started with a mix of private offices and shared space, but we doubled our footprint in late 2021 — again with flexibility that also facilitates the new “Zoom Generation.” We continue to experience growing demand and have been so well received. What many wouldn’t expect is how large Aspen’s full-time professional community is. You often hear of Miami and Austin being “the new work hubs” and Aspen is no different — it’s just on a more concentrated scale. It’s so much more than a ski town. There is no shortage of ideas here and it’s very inspiring as a unique differentiator from many mountain communities.
Shapiro: What can co-workers expect with The Aspen Office experience?
Bibb: In terms of our offering, we have individual desks, private offices and meeting spaces. It’s all inclusive — fully furnished with all the professional amenities required for productive work. We do currently still have spaces available and work on a flex pricing scale depending on length of stay (minimum one week).
Shapiro: What was the design inspiration for the space?
Bibb: We wanted the space to be a fresh take on tradition. Our first priority was that we honor the history of Aspen — we did that through details like color, texture and art. A highlight of the space is the main room gallery wall — filled with vintage Aspen art and ski memorabilia that I collected over the years. It was also important that the office felt light, comfortable and private — someplace that encourages gathering. We’re big believers in work hard, play hard. You can do both at The Aspen Office.
The Aspen Office is currently accepting applications for summer 2022. Pricing is based on space, size and individual needs. For more information, contact The Aspen Office team directly via email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The Aspen Office
411 E Main St., Aspen