Coworking is changing how we work. With start-ups, independents and small businesses, fueling the growth of shared work spaces.
Yet, a new trend is emerging in North Texas. Coworking spaces focused on women.
“We would be one of the first to open and cater to a female demographic,” says Cassi Osterling, co-founder and CEO of Her. HQ.
Osterling and co-founder Tiffany Zamora opened Her. HQ in a pop up space in an high rise in the Arts District in February. It’s the result of attempts to get plugged in after they each moved to Dallas for jobs about five years ago.
“We realized so many women had side projects or side hustles they were working on but not really talking about it,” Osterling said. “So for us, we got this idea of meeting new women, but also making connections and putting those plans into action and creating community.”
The women will announce a permanent location and start accepting member applications in June. But for now, they’ve partnered with CENTRL Office, a Portland-based coworking office. Women who pay for daily or monthly passes in the pop up space on North St. Paul Street work around a large table and have access to private conference rooms. They also have access to programming and events focused on health and wellness, creative exploration and career events, the heart of Her. HQ.
“We wanted this to be a place that is designed for women with their needs in mind,” and one of those needs, Osterling says, is a place where only women are the members.
“Working out of the space, women only. If you’re a woman and you want to bring men to close a deal or have a meeting, they’re welcome in the space,” Osterling explained. “We’re not excluding them from the space or the events, but for the membership, it’s women only.”
A few miles away in the Design District, The Slate opened in March and is owned by two sisters.
“We are two people with an idea that we wanted to bring to life; sisters who have faith in each other and are building something special,” co-founder Jodie Hastings said. “We are female-focused. We built this space with ourselves in mind. So, it lends itself to the fact that we would want to be here ourselves.”
Hastings points to feminine touches like art, fresh florals and greenery, natural lighting, and even retail where a busy woman can pick up a gift on the go. There are living room and kitchen-like areas along with desks, offices and conference rooms.
What makes The Slate stand out, Hastings said, is the ability for members to create content for websites and social media channels.
“What’s really special is we have a studio. We have a way that you can broadcast your message whether you’re a small business or a large business from the podcast room or the studio,” Hastings said.
“The Slate’s real purpose is to house everything a business would need under one roof.”
Tamara Payne understands the need to support entrepreneurs and give them tools to succeed. She was on her own for 15 years.
“Working alone, lack of productivity, lack of drive even because I’m working at home by myself,” are the downsides that can come with entrepreneurship she explained.
She found the solution in Ensemble Coworking and opened it three years, the first woman-owned coworking space in North Texas, she said.
“I wanted to create a space where these types of people can come together and connect without having the large overhead and have a community to be part of, so they don’t feel alone, so they have the mentorship they need, so they’re connected to resources,” Payne explained.
Payne’s coworking space is co-ed, but 75 percent of members, or “groupies” as she calls them, are women.
“It happened naturally, I think, because our space is so warm and welcoming, and women want to work together,” Payne said. “When we started three years ago, we thought about a woman-only space, but the market wasn’t ready. But women have such a voice now, and we want to get connected more.”
It’s what drew Megan Brown, owner of MB Marketing in Fort Worth, to coworking. She left a secure job in finance two years ago “to live my entrepreneurial dream.” She wanted to share office space and found the right spot at Ensemble.
“There are marketing firms here similar to mine, but we collaborate much more than we compete and having people to bounce ideas off of or having people to talk to; entrepreneurship can be so lonely,” Brown said.
The sense of community at Her. HQ was also the selling point for the duo behind Dallas-based 1302 Watch Co. Sisters-in-law Asma Heerji and Rozmin Ladha left IT and legal careers, respectively, behind to pursue their passion to start something new. A coworking space fuels their creative drive.
“We don’t need to be in cubicles. We need to talk to each other, have inspiration,” Heerji said. “There are so many smart women around here and so many to get inspired from.”
Access to coworking spaces range from a daily pass to annual memberships.