Nick Benson was no stranger to entrepreneurship before he co-founded Atelier. The Sydneysider had lived in New York and Bangkok, working first as an exhibiting painter and later in the luxury industry. By the mid-2010s, he was directing both skincare label Gentleman’s Brand Co and consulting firm Dream, which designed, developed and launched tech products.

It wasn’t long before these two ventures started to overlap. Because Gentleman’s was doing well, other brands began approaching him for guidance. “Their problems were always in product development or supply chains,” says Benson. “That was a pretty big lightning-bolt moment for me. So I set out to use the manufacturing network I’d developed with my own brand as a service to other brands.”

The result is Atelier, named for the French word for a private workshop or studio, which provides a streamlined platform and global network for product development, packaging, manufacturing and distribution.

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Inspired by Gentleman’s Brand Co, the company began with a focus on skincare and beauty products, before expanding into health and wellness and then, more recently, ready-to-drink products. It has now shepherded more than 400 businesses, from venture-backed startups to some of the world’s biggest beauty and luxury labels.

Benson and co-founder Nick Hudson began laying the foundation for Atelier in 2017, operating out of Darlinghurst co-working and networking hub Desk Space, and officially launched it the following year. Benson had been working out of Desk Space on and off for the better part of a decade and Atelier remained based there until it had around 20 staff (now it’s close to 50).

“You just build an incredible network while you’re in the space,” says Benson. “Desk Space becomes this honey pot to attract all of the relevant bees.”

While there, he met and worked with fellow Desk Space residents web design and development studio Woolly Mammoth and data ops specialist Harry Peppitt. Particular Audience founder James Taylor was also working from the space (he and Benson joined in the same week) and eventually became a close friend.

The networking potential of working out of Desk Space was a surprise – and blessing – for Benson. “I realised I don’t have to be self-propelled,” he says. “There’s energy I can feed off.”

Though Atelier eventually outgrew the hub, Desk Space co-founder Steven Arthur is proactive in providing guidance to Desk Space alumni.

“Even now we’re outgrowing our space and I’m talking to Steve about how I should be going about looking for more space,” says Benson. “He’s always been a really reliable ear to bend when I have questions outside of my domain.”

Beyond continuing to expand its staff and finding a larger space, Atelier’s other main focus over the coming months will be bolstering supply chains with a network of trustworthy manufacturers that meets a high standard for everyone involved.

“It’s a lot of fun,” Benson says. “It’s pretty ambitious, but you need it to be to stay interested. It’s such an interesting problem space, and so impactful. The opportunity is so big that I’m surprised there aren’t more people focusing on it.”

This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Desk Space.