The Work Club: London's Workspace Exclusively for Women
The first time we found out about The Work Club it was during a drawing class with artist Frances Costelloe. The space. set in North London, was created for women who wanted to meet like-minded women to share ideas with and to have a space that would help separate personal life from work life. The Work Club isn’t just a co-working space, it’s a supportive community. In this interview we speak to Seyda, founder of The Work Club.
Hi Seyda! From freelance product photographer to founder of a women co-working space. Tell us about how you got to create the Work Club!
I spent the first two years of freelance life trying to find a good work/life balance, working on the sofa in my pajamas and not speaking to anyone but my cat during the day! I knew I wanted to start some kind of business support group for women so when I came across the space in Hampden Road, it felt like a good move to make. I spent a good couple of months slowly buying furniture and decorating the space so that I didn't get ahead of myself!
Your project came from the feeling of loneliness many freelancers can feel today - working from home doesn’t do very well to an extrovert personality. Did you and the girls working at the club feel like this as well?
Totally. Even as an introvert I found working from home so difficult and really craved interaction with people in the same boat as me. When people come to see the space they always say the same thing, they want to feel like they have colleagues that they can talk to and separate their work life from their home life.
Why did you feel the need for The Work Club to be a women-only space? Do you think it has created a different atmosphere?
Definitely! When we first opened I only had enquiries from men and was so worried I wasn't going to be able to pay the rent, so I said yes. Luckily after a couple of months more women joined and the men left haha. The dynamic is so different, it's easier to have conversation and generally is just more comfortable. I really wanted to be able to openly talk about issues that women face in business like imposter syndrome and knowing how to ask for more money etc. so I knew that having a women only space would create that kind of environment.
It feels like this is the right moment for a work club like this to start in London. We’ve seen The Wing and other girl-boss co-working spaces popping up a bit everywhere but there seem to still be the need to keep pushing for more women-only events, spaces, clubs and so. We’ve come a long way but this is not the end of it, it’s just the beginning. Do you feel this way?
I love finding other women-only communities on Instagram and think the more there are, the better. Until women reach a point where we are on the same level as men in business and finance, this is the way to go. I think it's so important to show women that they have options and they don't have to choose between being a mother or running their own business. You can do it all.
The studio is amazingly decorated as well. Where did you get your inspiration from?
Thank you! I knew I wanted it to be feminine but also quite minimal so that it never feels cluttered. I also made sure to have prints by female artists and motivational books. I've always loved Scandinavian interiors and I always try to make everything as Hygge as possible.
It is also open to all types of creatives: from florists to copywriters to designers. I am guessing the creative juices are on a real flow in the space?
I'm constantly inspired by the girls, they're all doing such amazing things and I've realised just how important it is to surround yourself with people like that. We all have our days/weeks where we're stuck or have creative blocks but if anything it helps to know that you're not the only one going through it.
You have regular creative workshops and events in your space hosted by other female founders and monthly breakfast clubs. Tell us a bit more about these types of events and how they can connect people.
I've met so many lovely people through the workshops - including yourself! - and it's such a nice way to network without it being a typical networking event. I also love seeing other women create another income stream through these workshops. Our monthly breakfast club sessions are focused on a different topic each month and it's so nice to have a morning dedicated to talking about your struggles and setting goals for the next session. I started doing them just for our members but once we find our new space (eeek) I'll definitely be doing more for non-members as it's something I would've loved to have when I first started out.
Finally, what does your day to day look like? You’re not only the founder of The Work Club but also a freelance product photographer…
I get all my ideas and motivation late at night which tends to keep me up, so I usually start my mornings around 8:30am. I'll then write my to-do list for the day and make my way to the office whilst listening to a good podcast. I've tried structuring my days before to separate the two businesses but it hasn't always worked for me so I usually just tackle any emails on both accounts straight away. Before, my product photography was a lot busier so I was always prepping for shoots but now my priorities have changed and a lot of my time is on The Work Club, whether it's trying to find a new space, brainstorm ideas or continue to grow the community.
I always spend time catching up with whoever's in the office that day and then usually stay until I've finished everything on my to-do list! Everyday is so different which is something I really like about being self-employed, there's just so much flexibility. I've tried getting into more activities after work like spinning and yoga recently as it's one of the only things that help get my mind off work. Otherwise I'll binge watch a Netflix series which always helps me to unwind - such a millennial!