- The Wing is a women-only coworking space and club with two locations in New York City.
- Its newest location, in New York City’s SoHo neighbourhood, provides its members with desks, a beauty room, space to nap, meeting rooms, a library, and a café.
- 8,000 women are on the waiting list for membership to The Wing.
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. “It was sort of a triumphant concept.
“Obviously that’s not what happened,” Kassan said.
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 1,500 members and an 8,000-person waiting list for its two open locations. It plans to launch two more spaces, one in Brooklyn and one in Washington, DC. Its prices, which vary between $A3,055 to $A3,510 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 its new SoHo space — its opening day — we were told not to bring along any male coworkers. We found it already buzzing with members.
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.
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.
'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.'
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 $A3,055 for access to a single location, or $A280 a month. To access all locations, the price is $A3,510 annually or $A325 monthly.
According to Gelman, new membership tiers and scholarships are in the works and will be announced early next year.
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