Social co-working club, Jelly Chicago finds new home

(photo courtesy of

It seems self-employment is the loneliness job, especially for laptop-bound freelancers, designers and writers on the coffeeshop circuit. And good luck networking.

The goal of Jelly Chicago has always been to remedy this lack of social interaction and camaraderie, meeting twice a week in public spaces, most notably, the shuttered Noble Tree in Lincoln Park.

Luckily, the 5-year-old group just announced its new meeting spot: The Whole Foods in Lincoln Park, 1550 N. Kingsbury St. Perfect for its free Wifi, parking, plethora of power outlets and gigantic coffee bar. What more could you ask for? There’s even outdoor seating, a diner, wine bar and all the other Whole Foods amenities. But, of course, those aren’t the only benefits you’ll find here.

Founder Sean Johnson describes Jelly Chicago as “unnetworking” in that you’re not standing in a banquet hall handing out business cards. The informal group is much more organic than that, he says.

“The benefits are getting plugged into a community of folks who are smart, creative, and usually getting off their feet, eager to meet others,” Johnson says. “We’ve had a ton of folks who were Jelly regulars who’ve gone on to do awesome stuff.”

And interestingly, a Jelly Chicago meeting is where Doejo co-founders Darren Marshall and Phil Tadros’ first met, while at Noble Tree—so, we’re big proponents of the group’s co-working model.

Other founders and entrepreneurs rooted in Jelly Chicago, according to Johnson, are Jeff and Allie Siarto, who started social analytics company, Loudpixel together (now in Michigan); Rishi Shah, who started e-commerce platform, Flying Cart (now in SF); Willy Franzen, who started entry level job post site, One Day, One Job; Jessica Lybeck, who started mini class discovery network, Dabble; Pek Pongpaet, who just launched Pinstagram (now in SF); and David Kadavy who wrote Design for Hackers and tours the world speaking about design; among others. Finding yourself in good company here is a give-in.

If you’re looking for the perfect public co-working space to make new friends (hit up a happy hour every once and a while) and informally network out—check out our friends at Jelly Chicago. In their new space to start, they meet on Thursdays from 12pm – 4pm. And follow them on Twitter.

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