A new women’s co-working space opened its doors this month in Shorewood.
[caption id="attachment_319966" align="alignright" width="455"] Julie Knox, Sheila Long and Carey Vollmers of MalamaDoe with Dale Schmidt of the North Shore Chamber of Commerce at a ribbon cutting for MalamaDoe this week. (Photo: Beth Manley)[/caption]
MalamaDoe LLC, located in a 1,500-square-foot space at 4465 N. Oakland Ave., caters to professional women who are solo business owners.
The space operates on a subscription model, and can accommodate up to 22 people at one time in its work spaces. There are 13 pods and two conference rooms available to subscribers, as well as gathering areas. A $180 subscription guarantees a designated spot, or $150 gives more flexible access.
“I really want women to purchase businesses and increase their business acumen,” said Sheila Long, founder of MalamaDoe. “A lot of women work out of home and want part-time flexible work and they’re trying to juggle everything. They need that community of support.”
Long runs Long & Associates Consulting, which offers consulting services for women business owners. She had been meeting clients in coffee shops and eventually created a Facebook group to bring them together as a virtual community. This is simply the physical manifestation of that group, she said.
“In this part of town, there are so many talented women who move here, they are transplants, they are not connected,” Long said. “It’s a watercooler thing. It’s really fun and you have that commonality of living in the same neighborhood. Most of the women are moms.”
With the help of an investor, Long spent about $15,000 to build out the space and start the business. MalamaDoe has been open for less than a month, but already Long has found the women are collaborating with each other to share expertise in human resources or accounting as they run their small businesses.
“As I was working with my strategy business, I found that that’s really what women needed was to be together,” Long said. “You have friends who are parents, you just know because they’re neighbors, but you never talk about your professional endeavors with them. That’s why we’re doing this.”