A comfy place to work meets a salon meets your most stylish friend's living room. Amenities include a lactation room, showers, and makeup on demand. Confused? That's because nothing quite like this has existed before. But Audrey Gelman thinks it's time.
Gelman is the CEO and co-founder of the Wing, a New York City social club and co-working space for women. With her co-founder, Lauren Kassan, she opened the workspace in early October. It seems to have caught on quickly. The Wing already has 250 members.
Offering everything from blowouts to conference rooms, the Wing aims to serve on-the-go female professionals. There are a variety of amenities designed to help modern businesswomen keep up with day-to-day demands. It's an all-in-one space to catch up on emails, change your outfit for dinner, and grow your network.
For the $1,950 annual fee, members get access to the club and community events. About 75 percent of the 3,500-square-foot facility is open workspace with couches, chairs and tables. Other amenities include a library, locker rooms, conference rooms, and a kitchen.
"At the Wing, all the rules are written by women," the website boasts. Social happenings in the coming weeks are a well-rounded mix of political, professional, and pampering events, such as an election night watch party, lunch hours with successful entrepreneurs, and braid night.
According to Curbed New York, investors include AOL; Harvey Spevak, CEO of Equinox; and Elizabeth Cutler and Julie Rice, the founders of SoulCycle.
Designed for comfort and style
As with any so-hot-right-now co-working space, the Wing didn't skimp on interior design. It feels luxurious and exclusive.
"We wanted to do something very different, design-wise, from the traditional English sense of social clubs that are oaky and dark and have a lot of taxidermy," Gelman told Fast Company. She wanted an aesthetic that was Danish minimalist, modern, elegant, and inviting.
A female-only group at design firm Pentagram helped bring that vision to life. The most prominent colors are soft pinks and mint greens, balanced out by Scandinavian-style furniture. It feels old-timey but still sophisticated. There's lots of light and, of course, awesome Wi-Fi.
The location is fitting; it's in the Ladies' Mile Historic District, which, back in the day, was the cream-of-the-crop shopping district for New York's finest. In the mid- to late-1800s, wealthy women ventured here to the shop the high-end department stores housed in opulent buildings.
The history of social clubs for women
A social club for women is not a new concept. Newspaper columnist Fanny Fern founded the first professional female women's club in 1869. She had been denied entry into an all-male dinner honoring Charles Dickens a year prior.
By the 1930s, there were 600 similar groups in New York City and 5,000 nationwide, the Wing reports. Women's clubs took on social issues such as opening libraries in their communities or providing access to health care.