Entrepreneurialism has many a pitfall. Having to be good at so many things at once (project management, accounting, communications and whatever it is your business actually does are just a handful). Staying motivated when you work in isolation? Rough. Remembering to change out of your pajamas or leave the house at least once a week. Even rougher (though maybe that’s a problem unique to being a content creator). Regardless of what your small business does, it is particularly hard to keep your work and home lives separated when there is no separation between where you live and where you work. Thankfully, this is where coworking spaces come to the recuse and I’m so excited that there are now multiple options in San Francisco that are both women-only and super design savvy.
Turns out there are studies (Harvard produced no less), that show entrepreneurs who work in co-working environments are happier and healthier. Not to totally freak any of you fellow work-from-home-peeps out, but according to research, loneliness – often a byproduct of working from home – is “associated with a reduction in lifespan similar to that caused by smoking 15 cigarettes a day and even greater than that associated with obesity.” Whomp.
But thankfully a coworking space can leave you feeling more motivated, and more productive all while giving you a built-in social circle you wouldn’t otherwise get as part of your entrepreneurial ways — everything women are looking for, right?! I know I am. But regardless, I still need a really aesthetically pleasing place to work. I’m just a snob like that. Thankfully, there a myriad of options in the Bay Area from which to choose.
For starters, there is The Hivery. Though not technically in San Francisco (the Hivery is just over the Golden Gate Bridge in the idyllic Mill Valley neighborhood), the Hivery was one of the first women’s inspiration labs and co-working communities when it launched in 2014. It supports women of all ages and in all stages of life as they pursue their work, find their spark and discover their “what’s next” and numerous businesses have been formed out of The Hivery. The founder and former professional ballerina, Grace Kraijvanger is an expert in helping women reach their fullest potential—even if they don’t know what they’re “supposed to do” yet. Grace calls entrepreneurs artists for life. I’m into it.
Bright, white and sunny, The Hivery is certainly a welcoming environment.
Radiant Workspaces is an intimate, bright coworking space in the heart of San Francisco’s Potrero Hill neighborhood. The year-old office attracts an eclectic mix of women – many of them moms – across a diverse range of industries ranging from tech to art to PR and marketing.
As founder Temi Adamolekun explains, “our intention is to manifest a space for women to connect, collaborate and create and I feel our timing could not be more perfect. It’s also a regular site for networking events, product demos, wine tastings, workshops and a creative hub where we hope many of us will gather and share stories and ideas. At its core, RadiantWorkspace is about community. We’re here to support female entrepreneurs as much as we can, to empower the diverse community and to change our little patch of the world, one empowered woman at a time.”
Radiant created partnerships with a strong team of female businesses and artists to achieve their design goals with Hygge & West wallpaper, a gallery wall from Framed & Matted, art from Kelly Tunstall, Melissa Dickenson and Kelly DeFayette and a bounty of blooms from Flora Grubb. Their objective was to create a welcoming, serene and subtly feminine space with abundant natural light where women could find the headspace to get some work done, have meetings, (their meeting room also serves as a private space for women to pump), meet each other and build community. I love Radiant’s women supporting women ethos.
The latest addition to the women-only workspace is like Radiant’s hipster younger sister. Called The Assembly, the stunning setting recently opened in what was once a church (built in 1913!) in the heart of San Francisco’s Mission district. Intended to serve a bit more as a clubhouse than a traditional co-working space, The Assembly has set its focus on self-care. It’s a place to get work done, but you can also take fitness classes, enjoy coffee or kombucha from the in-house cafe or partake in the litany of social activities that range from movie nights to women of color networking events.
While I wouldn’t necessarily define the Assembly’s aesthetic as “Apartment 34 style” designers Sara and Rich Combs —the husband and wife duo behind the Instagram famous Airbnb The Joshua Tree House—were deeply committed to their Mexico meets Boho vibe and it definitely works. I’m attracted to the soaring ceilings, bright white walls, natural light and beautiful floors – obvi. The Combs also worked with multiple women artists and makers to inject custom design details into the space including Meghan Shimek, Meryl Pataky, Heather Day, Jen Mussari, Aleksandra Zee, Katie Gong and custom cabinet makers Fire on the Mesa.
The Assembly features a large open workspace with an adjoining dining area, bar seating and more comfortable couches for lounging.
There are private rooms to make phone calls or pump (#momlife).
The downstairs features a stunning communal kitchen stocked with a fridge full of green juice and macrobiotic salads.
The adjoining gym is a lovely light-filled space perfect for practicing power yoga, strength training or trying a guided meditation. A locker room is available to refreshen up post workout before you have a seat out on the stunning backyard patio.
While I’ve toured many a coworking office in and around San Francisco, I’m the first to do three cheers for these women-centric spaces. Old boys clubs have been in existence, probably since time began, and its refreshing to see both professional and social environments that cater to the unique needs and special interests of women. Now if only I could get out of my self-imposed blogger shell (a bi-product of a decade of talking from behind a keyboard. I swear I used to be really social and at one point actually really fun) and join one of these places.
But as I recently read, “the secret to getting ahead is getting started.” These days the key to survival is a supportive community, and preferabbly one that doesn’t just live on your phone. So whether you have access to a beautiful space or can simply rally a group of like-minded people to meet at a coffee shop once a week I say do it.
Do you have a stunning co-working space in your area? I’d love to hear about it!
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