Whether it's the many creatives who’ve embraced the remote working life or the flexible work schedule trend that is starting to be seen nationwide, coworking spaces have never been more popular.
Regardless of the reason, this trend has led The Refinery founder Hayley Swindell-Wakefield to take her coworking/event space in a different direction. Beginning in February 2019, the year-old business will reopen as the city’s first female-only coworking and social club.
Over the past 12 months, The Refinery has hosted a multitude of events, including the exclusive Create and Cultivate summit during SXSW 2018 with speakers such as Bird Bakery founder Elizabeth Chambers Hammer and Jane the Virgin star Gina Rodriguez. It has also become a hot spot for influencers and badass female entrepreneurs alike.
In a typical day at The Refinery, you can witness photoshoot after photoshoot in the bright white community kitchen (a favorite spot to snap a shot for food bloggers), digital content creators brainstorming away, or young professionals glued to their laptops in The Refinery’s open-concept work room.
“After experiencing our first year in business seeing the space naturally attract primarily women, and in understanding how our mission was developing and transforming, this direction feels better than ever,” Swindell-Wakefield says. “Our goal is to ignite authentic connections, reinforce a strong sense of self, help women be seen and heard, and foster Austin’s female community.”
The new Refinery will invoke the beauty and sophistication of The Wing, the popular female-only social club in New York City, Washington D.C., and San Francisco. Think plush furnishings, an upstairs library, podcasting and photography studios, long collaboration tables, a beauty room, hands-on craft workshop, in-house programming, and designated no-talking rooms for the woman on a roll.
While networking (and building your empire) is a huge perk, Swindell-Wakefield says the new Refinery is all about empowering Austin women, budding friendships and lifting one another up.
During the last year, The Refinery has been home to many business owners renting private offices on a contract-basis, and while Swindell-Wakefield expects many more female founders to join The Refinery ranks as founding members, the cost of working at The Refinery will now be more attainable for the every woman. In the spirit of equal opportunity, everyone looking to join the club will either be able to pay monthly or annually, with a commitment to keep things affordable.
For the continuously hustling freelancer or the wise-beyond-her-years entrepreneur, this new model and interior redesign is all about creating a place for women to be inspired, create their next big idea and grow their tribe. The membership application is now live on The Refinery’s website and the building will reopen on February 1, 2019.