- The Wing is a women-only coworking space and club with two locations in Manhattan, and a brand new space in Brooklyn’s Dumbo neighbourhood, which opened this February.
- In November The Wing raised $US32 million in a Series B funding round led by WeWork.
- Its new Dumbo location provides its members with a podcast recording studio, a mini-studio for private yoga and barre classes, and a vintage photo-booth.
- Over 13,000 women have applied for membership to The Wing since its launch in 2016.
When The Wing, a coworking space and social club for women, launched in October 2016, founders Audrey Gelman and Lauren Kassan didn’t realise how large the demand for membership would be or exactly the type of comfort it would provide its members. In the months before the 2016 presidential election, Gelman, who has experience working in politics, said she believed Hillary Clinton would win.
“This was going to be the golden age of women in power, so women could have rooms like this,” she told Business Insider in October of last year. “It was sort of a triumphant concept. Obviously that’s not what happened.”
Overnight, after Donald Trump’s victory, The Wing was inundated with calls from members and people on the waitlist, who, according to Kassan, were saying, “I didn’t realise how much I wanted or needed a space like this.”
Now, the club has over 1,500 members and also plans to launch a fourth location in Washington, DC this spring.
In November, The Wing raised $US32 million in a Series B funding round led by WeWork, bringing its total investment to $US42 million, according to Forbes. NEA also contributed to the funding round.
The Wing’s prices, which vary between $US2,350 to $US2,700 a year, offer members access to a variety of perks. With a focus on growing a community for its members, the club provides more than a place to set up your laptop. Speaking events, community volunteer opportunities, movie screenings, and happy hours provide a home base for its members to build relationships.
The Wing is serious about its no-men-allowed rule. On the day we got a tour of the new Dumbo space – we were told not to bring along any male coworkers. See below for photos of both the Dumbo and SoHo locations.
Gelman realised she needed a space like The Wing while working a job that always had her on the go. Instead of changing outfits for events and meetings in “random bathrooms around the city,” she envisioned a space designed with her needs in mind.
The spacious bathrooms, showers, lockers, and beauty room provide women with a safe space to prep and primp for their day.
Inside the new Dumbo location, perks such as a recording studio for members and their guests is available to rent out.
There’s also a mini workout and meditation space — members can conduct private yoga or barre classes, or bring in their own instructors.
Other perks include a The Perch cafe, secret telephone booths located inside the bookshelves, and a vintage photo booth free to use for members.
Kassan, the COO, saw an opportunity to create a community: “For me it’s really about the community that can come out of this space. The original idea of having a space of convenience — but also creating a space that you can meet new women in.”
Gelman, who was a junior aide during Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential run and, later, a spokeswoman for New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer, sees The Wing as a natural progression from her political career.
Source: The New York Times
“It was sort of adjacent to politics in the sense that it had a mission, and I don’t think we realised how crucial that mission was going to become,” Gelman said. “I love getting to do this right now because it’s advancing the values and issues that I care about, but doing it outside of politics.”
The 10,000-square-foot space has two meeting rooms that can be rented out by members.
There’s also a nap room for those who need a moment of quiet.
The pump room for nursing mothers also provides a quiet, private space.
A café and bar has breakfast items, sandwiches, and coffee.
Large skylights and high ceilings create a bright and airy atmosphere.
These eight private telephone booths were added to the second location following member demand.
Past the bustling café area is the quiet library space filled with books. Curated by The Strand — another women-owned business — the collection is made up entirely of books by female authors.
As far as the membership base, Gelman and Kassan aim to keep it diverse. “We look at membership in terms of diversity: career, racial, and ethnic diversity, age diversity, and usage diversity to make sure not everyone is coming at the exact same time,” Kassan said.
Members are “women who are teachers, physicians, women in tech, fashion and marketing. Also, we have a microbiologist, a woman who is an aerospace engineer, and someone getting her Ph.D. in scent technology,” Gelman said.
Prices for The Wing start at an annual $US2,350 for access to a single location, or $US215 a month. To access all locations, the price is $US2,700 annually or $US250 monthly.
According to Gelman, new membership tiers and scholarships are still in the works.
“There’s been demand that we didn’t anticipate, which is humbling,” Gelman said.
“It’s been a challenging year for women, but seeing all the energy in the space between women gives us a lot of hope,” Gelman said.
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