[image-1][image-2]Just as taxis and hotels are starting to feel like archaic vestiges from another time, so too are standard cubicles, corner offices, and 9 to 5s. Co-working space, like ride or home sharing, is a concept that has taken off in the last decade.
Founded in 2010, the most ubiquitous and well known co-working space, WeWork, now has more than 220 offices around the world. A number of Charleston-based companies have used WeWork’s model — entrepreneurs work alongside each other, sharing desks, kitchen areas, and business ideas — to create successful, millennial friendly creative spaces around the city.
The first all-female co-working space in Charleston, The Eves Collective (44 Markfield Drive Unit B), at first blush (pun intended), seems reminiscent of something like the proposed Ladies Bar in the upcoming Hotel Bennett. The question becomes, why limit a space to only one gender?
For owner Belinda Hare, who is also co-owner and COO of Charleston-based Launchpeer, the answer is less about who isn’t allowed, and more about who the space is really catering to. [image-3] The biggest difference between Eves Collective and other Charleston co-working spaces, says Hare, is location. “In talking with the female entrepreneur community, and in my own entrepreneurial experience, I realized that other co-working spaces lacked the location and accessibility to resources that make being a working mom feasible. We intentionally opened the space closer to neighborhoods, schools, daycares, shops, and other resources in the surrounding community that help working women through their day-to-day. We’re also able to offer much more affordable rent because we’re not paying the inflated price per square foot that comes with being on the peninsula or in Mt. Pleasant.”
Located five minutes from Avondale and 10 minutes from downtown, the West Ashley space promises to provide “the community you’ve been craving.” For a dedicated desk, members pay $250 a month; for a 250 square foot office, members pay $450 a month. All members have conference room and library access, access to podcasting and video background and lighting equipment, a physical business address and mail delivery, “fabulous” WiFi, a fully furnished office or desk, and unlimited coffee and tea.
[image-6] Hare insists that Eves Collective, in addition to being a top-notch, high-tech hub, is specifically crafted with female entrepreneurs in mind, without being “overtly girly.”
“From a more logistical standpoint, most co-working spaces also aren’t outfitted in a way that’s tailored towards women, or if they are, they’re overtly girly and don’t make women’s entrepreneurship feel like a serious thing. We tried to incorporate comfortable decor, quiet spaces, and amenities like a lounge and kitchen with tea and coffee to make women business owners feel at home,” says Hare.
“By focusing on women-only, we’re making sure that our members have a built-in community the second they join … As women business owners, it’s critical that we have a support system of other like-minded, entrepreneurial women. It makes a huge impact on your drive (and your success) if you can go to another working mom and ask for advice, get guidance from another millennial woman who has raised venture capital, or just bounce ideas around with someone who truly understands the experience and challenges of being a female entrepreneur.”
Hare says that Eves Collective members will be from all different industries, but “a lot of the challenges are the same.” Will housing a bunch of “lady bosses” in one succulent-filled building foster the community Hare is striving for? Whether you’re wary or gung-ho, you can find out more at The Eves Collective open house Thur. Oct 12 from 6 to 7:30 p.m.