This past week, I had the opportunity to check out The Wing’s new beautifully designed co-working and community space in Chicago’s bustling Fulton Market District within the West Loop. Founded in NYC in 2016, The Wing is a growing community of women across the country and globe, gathering together to work, connect, and thrive. Their mission, according to the company’s website, is the “professional, civic, social and economic advancement of women through community”.
These values hark back to the women’s club movement that originally started in the 19th century and gained popularity in the U.S. in the 1920s. Building on this movement and all the pioneering women that have come before, The Wing is well-positioned to make its mark on this concept, creating a new experience for working women.
As the saying goes, “your vibe attracts your tribe” and The Wing has certainly created a distinct one that you can feel from the moment you walk in. The design aesthetic is uniquely feminine and elegant in its appeal, with an abundance of warm, soft tones such as blush pink, gold and green. The space is well appointed with accessories and lighting that provide a modern, sophisticated feel. Features include an open room with comfortable upholstered chairs and communal tables, along with private meeting spaces and individual phone rooms, plus a women-focused lending library. There is also a larger area that can easily be configured for presentations or large group discussions.
These areas all flow seamlessly into the small café called The Perch, which features a nice array of beverages, salads and sandwiches. A disappointing note: they do not allow any outside food of any kind, which can be a drawback and something to factor in when looking at overall membership costs, which range from $185-215 per month.
The bathroom, or “beauty room”, is also noteworthy with its row of well-appointed makeup mirrors--natural light included! There are also private showers, lockers, robes, slippers and, quite thoughtfully, a pumping room for nursing mothers.
But there is more to The Wing than just beautiful aesthetics. This brand is unique because it strives to build a real community of women, a place to both lift others and be lifted, too. Each location has a growing calendar of educational, civic-focused and networking events, plus casual social gatherings, too. The Wing also has a scholarship program and is active in giving back to charities that support at-risk women and girls.
This community focus also extends to their new retail line launched last spring. While the apparel and accessories have messages that are a mix of fun and empowering, the real impact is that each item is created entirely by female artists and women-owned vendors, with a portion of proceeds going back to the nonprofits they support.
There is no question that The Wing’s impact on women is starting to make headlines--and cover stories. In September 2019, The Wing’s CEO, Audrey Gelman, made history as the first visibly pregnant woman to be featured on the cover of a business magazine. And while much kudos is owed to Inc. Magazine for making this happen, the cover captured so much national media attention that many people wondered how on earth a pregnant businesswoman had never snagged a biz mag cover story before. After all, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, 70% of the 75 million women in the workforce have children who are under 18.
The Wing currently boasts over 10,000 members across eight locations, with a dozen more planned within the next year, including properties in London and Toronto. With its measured approach to thoughtful community building, The Wing will certainly be a brand to watch in the coming years.
Written by Kate Darcy, Senior Marketing Strategist, for Riley Group Inc.