Homegrown women’s coworking space to close

A group of Women in Kind members and visitors at the coworking space. (Photos courtesy Women in Kind)

When Melanie Ulle and Virginia Santy opened Denver’s first coworking space specifically targeting women in August 2017, all they wanted was a place a little less bro-y than the options on the market.

At Women in Kind’s space in the Clayton neighborhood, they put in breastfeeding rooms and a play area for kids. They also made one of the floors warmer than the other, since women often find themselves freezing in offices while their male colleagues wear suits.

Last week, Ulle and Santy told members that the 3899 Jackson St. space will close June 8.

“One of the things we could not have predicted was the proliferation of coworking from every conceivable corner,” Santy told BusinessDen.

Melanie Ulle, left, and Virginia Santy received a letter of commendation from the state Senate.

Since Women in Kind opened almost two years ago, national and local coworking companies have signed lease after lease in Denver. And the brands entering the market have included several sharing Women in Kind’s target demographic. Rise Collaborative has opened along Colorado Boulevard, and Charley Co. and The Riveter have signed leases.

“We were also really looking at the increasing saturation of the market and saying, ‘Is this the battle we constantly want to be fighting, getting bodies into our space?” Santy said.

Santy said The Riveter has agreed to purchase Women in Kind’s business assets, including furniture, and audiovisual and media equipment. In addition, Women in Kind’s 75 current members will receive a discount if they transition over to The Riveter’s space, which is opening in RiNo at 27th and Walnut Streets in June, according to a news release.

The Women in Kind brand, however, will remain with Ulle and Santy. Santy said the two plan to launch a digital product in September aimed at women in business all around the world, but declined to disclose further details. They’ll work out of the Riveter.

“I don’t think coworking is going anywhere,” Santy said. “I do think we will see a convergence … to really create some widespread name recognition in communities and nationally.”

The Riveter announced its plans to open a location in Denver in January, its ninth location in the country. So far, the company has raised $21 million in funding and has locations open in Seattle, Los Angeles, Dallas, Minneapolis and Austin, Texas.

The Riveter’s Amy Nelson (Courtesy Chad Peltola)

Santy said she and Ulle have been talking with The Riveter’s founder, Amy Nelson, since they started Women in Kind, as both their companies started around the same time and have operated in similar ways.

Women in Kind has approximately 75 members, and Santy said the Clayton space has spent approximately one year at capacity. The business became profitable within a year, she said. Women in Kind even expanded to Cherry Creek at one point, opening at 250 Steele St., but that location closed about a month ago.

“One thing that went well was just the enthusiasm from every imaginable facet of the city for a place for women,” Santy said. “We had the support of the mayor. We had the support of the governor. We had the support of the state Senate … So for me what we learned is Denver is such an amazing place for something like this to happen.”

Other coworking spaces that have closed this year are RiNo’s ESQLegal and Union Stanley Coworking in the Stanley Marketplace.

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