Are the futures of retail and coworking space connected?
WeWork turned The We Company has some new ideas up its sleeve with the debut of a membership-free community space in New York’s Flatiron district called Made by We.
Part coworking space, part coffee shop, part retail, the 7,6400-square-foot space is billed as a new town hall centered around community. Following behind the footsteps of WeMRKT, a pop-in marketplace concept that sells snacks and office essentials to members, this appears to be the company’s very first standalone multi-dimensional retail space.
Situated in a prime area, the space is capitalizing off a healthy foot fall by also offering goods for sale curated by WeWork members. A towering wall of products ranging from reusable water bottles to laptop cases were selected during a series of “pitch nights” held by the We’s in-house creative team. For featured members, this creates a flywheel effect where they can not only network and develop their products within We’s walls, but also sell and gain valuable feedback from one another.
It doesn’t just stop there. In addition to discovering new products, visitors will also be able to grab a bite to eat or take a meeting at the popular Australian-influenced coffee outpost, Bluestone Lane, which shares the space. The upscale coffee chain was a strategic choice, representing a quintessential start-up success story with a mission of bringing people together. And people will be able to do just that with daily programming featuring prominent entrepreneurs and change makers across New York.
“Everything we do at The We Company, from the spaces we curate to the service offerings we provide, is intended to create meaningful human connections,” said Julie Rice, a WeWork partner, in a statement.
While the space represents a utopia in modern workspace, it does come with a price tag. Pay-per-minute seating starts at $6 for 30 minutes and $.20 per minute after that. For $65, you are granted a dedicated seat for the day. In comparison to a hot desk at the nearest WeWork location, the day pass is three-times as much as a hot desk, making it a less than ideal option for the daily grind.
The success of The We Company and others has gotten the attention of mall operators and retailers including Staples that are developing coworking models to drive traffic and engagement. The market for coworking space is forecast to grow 25 percent annually through 2023, according to Jones Lang LaSalle.
- The We Company Debuts Made by We – The We Company
- WeWork Debuts WeMRKT – The We Company
- Landlords add coworking spaces to drive more people to America’s malls – RetailWire
- WeWork doubles down on member-based retailing – RetailWire
- Re:Store concept mixes co-work and co-retail – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: How can malls and retailers benefit from coworking models? What can retailers, including those that are not exploring coworking opportunities, learn from companies in the space when it comes to creating human connections, etc.?