The Coven Makes Magic in their Women-Only Coworking Community

The Coven is a women-only coworking space set on the belief that when women, non-binary, and trans individuals come together in a community, they make magic.

Too often, women come to The Coven having experienced patriarchal systems of power that don’t allow for true personal and professional growth, whether that be in a corporate or coworking environment. Their experience has allowed them to see people walk into their space as complete strangers and leave as business partners. They have also seen baby businesses and new investors grow together, and entrepreneurs incubate their seeds of an idea in a supportive environment. When women have access to resources, they put their money back into the community, education, and themselves.

When was the project completed?

March 8th, 2018

How big is the space (SF)?

4800 RSF

Was this new or renovated space?

Renovated – the building is originally from the later 1800’s

SF per person?

We have over 450 members

How many employees?

12

What is average daily population?

60

Describe work space type.

Open Plan

What kind of meeting spaces are provided?

We have a couple of small breakout rooms and the Michele Obama Conference Room that seats 12.

What other kinds of support or amenity spaces are provided?

Our space is filled with joy and offers coffeeshop style coworking across the top two floors of a gorgeous, historic building in the North Loop neighborhood of Minneapolis. Three sides of our building are flanked with floor to ceiling windows to bring in an abundance of natural light. The physical space is nearly 5,000 square feet over the two floors. We designed the space to be accessible, equitable, and full of joy. Our members enjoy a space that puts their needs first, where the temperature is right, where they can put their feet up while they get down to work – where their lived experiences are reflected in the art, books, events, staff and of course the other folks that fill our space.

Our space also includes:

  • Prep kitchen and coffee bar
  • Locker room and changing area
  • Beauty bar with products for all skin and hair types
  • Parent + Prayer room
  • Conference room with space for up to twelve people
  • Phone booths for private conversations

What are the projects location and proximity to public transportation and/or other amenities?

We’re in the north loop neighborhood of Minneapolis – located within a block to multiple bus lines and four blocks from the lightrail. As creating an equitable space was a goal from the beginning, we ended up in our location because of it’s proximity to public transportation

Was the “C” Suite involved in the project planning and design process? If so, how?

Yes, one of our cofounders – Erinn Farrell, acts as our Chief Creative Officer and she led all the design of the space

What kind of programming or visioning activities were used?

Moodboarding

Were any pre-planning surveys conducted to get employee input?

We spent a summer doing focus groups of nearly 100 women, non-binary and trans folks to get a sense of what the needed in the space.

Please describe any program requirements that were unique or required any special research or design requirements.

They were only special in that women, non-binary and trans folks are rarely asked what they need in a space, much less it being the starting point for the design process. Whether it’s a parent and prayer room, a self care space, the height of our chairs, or the temperature in our space – each detail was thought through to prioritize comfort and visibility.

The Coven Space

Was there any emphasis or requirements on programming for health and wellbeing initiatives for employees?

Our entire space was built under the belief that joy and visibility is a part of wellbeing especially for underestimated communities; Poet Toi Dericotte’s wrote “Joy is an act of resistance” … and for us this phrase has acted as both a rebellion cry and and rally point. The design of our space needed to meet this phrase – to nod to the hard work of womxn and non-binary folks as we step away from the rest of the world, remove our armor, and live into whatever version of ourselves we need to be that day. The Coven holds space for all these selves alongside the reality that being the other, the only, the resist-er takes up so much of our lives. And we also need a space that honors this work, while reminding us of the joy we are all working for and deserve. The space needed to be comfortable, bright, thoughtful, and inspirational. The space needed to hold & display artifacts that allowed folks to be SEEN – to know they are visible, their histories valued, their experience believed.

The Coven Workspace

What products or service solutions are making the biggest impact in your space?

Bludot was a partner of ours from the beginning, and their vibrant, thoughtful and sustainable designs fill the space

What is the most unique feature of the new space?

That women, non-binary & trans folks are designed for from the start, not as an after thought

Are there any furnishings or spaces specifically included to promote wellness/wellbeing?

We have a parent and prayer room, shower room with towel service, and a self care space that includes products for all skin and hair types.

The Coven Kitchen

What kinds of technology products were used?

We have a white-labeled app through Optix that members use to book rooms.

How did the company communicate the changes and moves?

Prior to opening we have a multi-month campaign that included hard hat tours and sharing of vision boards. Before the space was even open we had raised 350k in founding memberships.

Were there post occupancy surveys? If so, what were the most surprising or illuminating or hoped-for results?

Yes, folks felt SEEN in our space, that our space was the only they felt truly themselves in – or the best version of themselves

Tell us more!

Building Architect: Jessica Harner, Christian Dean Architecture
Interior Architect/Designer: Erinn Farrell

Connect with The Coven: 

Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

Check out the other women-only coworking spaces on the rise here!

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