Bordered between buildings off Jefferson, headquartered in the historic Beaubien House, is Femology, Detroit’s first ever business coworking space catered to women.
After a humble opening late in July, founders Meagan Ward and Ashleigh Brock opened doors to the next generation of businesswomen and female entrepreneurs, with a space that features a co-working area, a lounge, coffee station and women’s library.
Femology is currently hosting almost 40 women in 5,000 square feet of space, on a mission to drive growth into their businesses.
Members hail from all over the tri-county area, searching for a community of like-minded women and opportunities to network and have fellowship.
“A great deal of the women have a nine to five,” revealed Ward. “They’re working on their business outside of work, on the weekends and any free moment they have. When they’re here, they’re working, so we needed a space to accommodate that.”
That idea turned into a space equipped for both business and pleasure, with homey decorations and design that allowed for conversation and downtime as well as a functioning workspace.
“We wanted it to be multifunctional,” said Ward. “You can sit and chat and have coffee or work on your laptop. It’s cool to see the women come here and talk, not just about business, but things they’re going through in their lives.”
Ward, a business graduate of Western Michigan University, understands on a personal level, the desire to connect with a community of women in business. After testing the waters of a corporate route, and finding it dominated by men, she sought to follow her long-time dream of becoming an entrepreneur, launching her brand Creatively Flawless in 2015.
Coincidently, Creatively Flawless, a branding company geared toward women-owned businesses, connected Ward with Brock, a fellow entrepreneur who was working on launching her personal brand. Ward confided in Brock the idea of a women-catered coworking space and together they conceived the idea of Femology.
“I think that our relationship serves as a foundation for Femology because we’re all about collaboration, partnership and working together as women,” said Ward.
“We love to inspire women,” agreed Brock. “You can’t put a name or number to how we feel about our passion for women and business.”
The space offers a one-day package of $25, or membership plans ranging from $79 – $129 per month.
Packages include amenities such as access to the business lounge and conference room, WiFi and AppleTV, use of a Mac computer, discounts on rental rates, workshops and seminars, as well as complimentary coffee, tea and snacks. To register for a membership, visit the Femology website to sign up.
A portion of the membership cost funds the Femology grant, awarded by Brock and Ward to two women-owned startups each year, with additional expert services from partners in accounting, law, branding, public relations and marketing.
The cofounders plan on moving to a much larger space in the coming months in hopes of accommodating over 100 women, but the vision is far larger than a new space.
“We want to be in every major city across the U.S.,” Ward asserted. “The model is compatible for franchising – we just had to launch and show people that a women’s coworking space is in demand.”
Many women have found solace in Femology, speaking to its sense of community.
Nina Jackson, creator of ProperGirl, a digital publication, said it was a “no brainer” to make the move to Femology from where she currently resided at WeWork, a fellow coworking space in the city of Detroit.
“I was drawn to the idea of a small community of women versus going into a coworking space, hitting my pass and leaving,” said Jackson. Femology is so tight knit and offers a space to come and collaborate and meet other women.”
The prospects of networking were attractive to other new members as well, specifically Fadia Shuayto, founder of Wingme Cosmetics, a brand that partners with and donates most of, its proceeds to local and international charities.
“I needed an outlet to network with other women and Femology definitely gave me the opportunity,” said Shuayto. “I’m so proud to have a Detroit-based business and have a physical office space that I can come be inspired by other women and the different ideas that we can bounce off each other.”
Shuayto recalls the challenge of launching her cosmetic company without a proper network. She reached out to Ward and Brock for support, and together, helped her create an advisory board for her brand, comprised of women who test preproduction samples and give feedback on their experience.
“If it wasn’t for this opportunity, I wouldn’t have such a great group of girls with different ideas, values, styles, skin tones and vibes, so it was a huge amount of empowerment,” said Shuayto.
At the end of the day, Femology offers support to women in a world where competition can be overwhelming.
“Femology means a lot to me to see women coming together, working together in one space because we can benefit and help each other – that’s what we do here,” said Kristina Bowman, fashion designer, wardrobe stylist and founder of Kristina Bowman Smith.
“It’s been an inspiration to see women come together and support each other and give each other insight in their business,” she added.
Collaboration over competition is the name of the game at Femology, and Ward has hopes of growth from this point on.
“When you walk into Femology, you always get sisterhood,” said Ward. I think an obstacle we face as women is understanding our worth. We had to reshape our mindset to know that we’re made for business, even though men started way before our time as the leaders in business. I think it’s in our innate nature to be businesswomen. Now we can grow.”
You can learn more about Femology by visiting their website.
Are you a woman interested in business ownership or entrepreneurship? What could a coworking space do for you? Let us know in the comments below!