Go Big: An Entrepreneurial Couple Brings Personal Connection and Warmth to Düsseldorf's Newest Coworking Space

Even when stuck at home, some people took the bold step to start something new: Today, discover the story behind 3RD/ROOM Coworking and its co-founders, Susanne Milinevska and Dominic Aquaro

The truth is, trivago couldn’t help everyone go someplace new in 2020. So instead, we’re celebrating the people that turned challenge into opportunity by starting new businesses, pursuits, and passions. When they couldn’t go far, they chose to go big.

“The pandemic actually played in our favor—we already had a few clients recruited, we had my parents behind us. We were like okay, we’re good to go.” When Susanne Milinevska and her partner and co-founder, Dominic Aquaro, decided to turn their building’s ground floor into 3RD/ROOM Coworking, being affected by coronavirus was the last thing on their minds. But with Germany’s latest lockdown in full effect, the duo spent their winter break in Tenerife—where Susanne’s parents have a home—rethinking their business strategy and brainstorming innovative ways to thrive in the new year and beyond.

The Interviewees

Originally from Ukraine, Susanne Milinevska moved to Düsseldorf over a decade ago to experience life in a big city. As a business developer, she found herself working at several startups, each experiencing different periods of growth—some were just starting off, while others were failing—setting in motion the beginnings of her journey towards entrepreneurship. Combining her business acumen with Dominic Aquaro's creative background—he's a professional barber with over 15 years of experience—the two decided to take the leap, right at the beginning of Germany's first pandemic lockdown, to launch 3RD/ROOM, an intimate and community-oriented coworking space that's unlike any other in Düsseldorf.
3RD/ROOM Coworking

While the pandemic has been a struggle for the business due to the country’s multiple lockdowns, it has helped strengthen their relationship. “We had to get to know each other while building a company,” Susanne explains. “For me, the only struggle right now is not having a job—my job was managing the coworking space. Now, it’s very slow and there’s not a lot of things I can do for the company. I’m a little bit lost and all in my head trying to figure out what’s next.”

To Tenerife, We Go

Exchanging ideas over coffee is encouraged and helps creativity fl

Coworking’s business was booming. “We didn’t really feel the effects of the lockdown much because we had people there,” recalls Dominic. “But now, we definitely feel it. Our clients have all emailed us to cancel their bookings because of the pandemic.”

But the couple are not giving up just yet. They’re putting up the entire space for short-term rent to one or two companies to help cover their bills until they can start coworking again. They also opened up for daily, ten euro-a-day passes. “I don’t want to close completely, cause maybe this ten-euro client will be somebody that is going to rent long-term with us when it’s over.”

With Germany in yet another, albeit more stricter lockdown since the end of last year, the duo have decided to take a step back from work and focus on reworking their strategy for 3RD/ROOM for 2021. “Our first step is to open again, host events that bring the people together and back into our space,” Dominic says. Eventually, the two want to have a space in Tenerife, which they consider to be their second home, too. “The pandemic has caused the island to struggle. If we can get our clients to book long-term and get a month in Tenerife, then we can help the economy grow again. This is our best case scenario,” explains Susanne. “This is one of our long-term dreams. One of our future visions.”

Inspired by Susanne and Dominic’s story? Keep an eye on our channels for other interviews in our Go Big series!