Blush Cowork is a women-focused coworking space with childcare.
I wanted to create a coworking space with a few key differences. Blush is inclusive and open to all, but my former cofounder and I wanted to focus on creating a safe and welcoming space for women to work, collaborate, achieve and flourish. Traditional coworking spaces are generally located in city centers or downtown areas, but we chose to focus on coming to our members and making it easy to drop in. I believe that childcare should not be a luxury, and realize what a huge factor reliable, safe childcare plays in any parent’s potential to be productive or creative. My mission to to create a connected community that fills in the gaps in opportunity that many women experience and that were widened and deepened by the pandemic.
Over ten years ago, I was searching to find childcare for my first child while I was still pregnant. Finding a spot that was safe and available was the first concern; affordable seemed like too much to ask. A few years later, I was working from home, but feeling isolated and disconnected. Coworking space didn't seem to exist in a reasonable radius near my home. Eventually both issues were solved; my two children ended up in a full-time daycare until they started kindergarten and I joined a company where I was expected to work in the office full-time. This "solution" came with its own set of problems, but it was workable. Then 2020 hit. Faced with being a full-time employee, parenting a then-preschooler and a 2nd grader in virtual school, I felt like an incredible failure at keeping up with all of it, and the stress and worry about the impact of a global pandemic on my family, friends, colleagues and neighbors certainly was an additional weight on my mental heath.
Let's face it, so many of us, especially parents, especially women, could tell roughly the same story about the past few years--job stress, family stress, feeling disconnected and like they were losing out on opportunities to connect and definitely opportunities to advance. I knew I felt very alone, but I definitely wasn't alone in this experience.
I realized that this wasn't just a shared experience between lots of folks during the pandemic--the lack of connection and opportunity has been an issue for women in the workplace for years.
Think about this: workplaces are built for men. The standard, in-person work schedule with no flexibility, lack of mothers’ rooms and support for parents, and even man-sized furnishings and equipment can all be frustrating for women. Workplace habits and traditions often create safety for men but exclude women. Women (which includes all who self-identify as a woman) can encounter microagressions, discrimination, and sexual harassment more frequently, are generally paid less, and are not as consistently heard and respected when they speak up. These concerns are almost certainly amplified and multiplied for women of color.
The past few years have only brought these issues into sharper focus. Many who were climbing the corporate ladder were knocked down a peg, if not pushed to the ground. Many of us learned a new work routine or looked for work while balancing teaching and full-time caretaking. Some have had to make the choice leave the workforce because they didn’t feel they could sustain both their career and their family--which I personally considered many times during 2020. Some have lost their jobs and have been forced to stay in an abusive situation. Some have started new jobs or new businesses, but are simply craving a community that social distancing took away. And so, so many childcare options have shrunk or simply disappeared.
Blush is a safe, empowering space for women to network, learn, create, and join their community through collaborative coworking and events. We as an organization promise to commit to these values, and also expect our members to:
Recognize and encourage the work of all women. What women do is valuable, necessary, and amazing.
Provide a safe space for you and your work to flourish, and for you to connect with potential collaborators.
Treat each member and guest with respect and integrity.
Honor your personal and professional values by providing a space free from hate, abuse, and harassment of any kind.
Celebrate all of you, including work and life milestones and advancements.
Blush Cowork is a 11,000 square foot physical space that offers plenty of amenities for members and visitors, including open coworking space, private and semi-private offices, and meeting rooms; complimentary fruit-infused water, coffee, espresso, and hot tea; and flexible event space. But much more importantly to me and to anyone who comes to Blush is that it is a growing inclusive community that offers connection, encouragement, and peace of mind for all who enter, even if it's just for an event or the day. The absolute best part of the months that Blush has been open has been seeing and helping create the connections between people who may not have otherwise been able to meet and hearing that Blush helped someone achieve what they set out to do--whether that's land a new job, get a promotion, or just have an hour of uninterrupted time with the peace of mind of knowing that their child is with an experienced sitter.
Blush Cowork in the news:
Blush and Alison Rogers have been prominently featured in the media, as many recognize that this model is needed and welcome in our community.
Cary Magazine: https://www.carymagazine.com/features/the-women-of-blush-cowork/
Cary Magazine: https://www.carymagazine.com/features/meet-the-2022-movers-shakers/
About the founder:
Alison is the cofounder of Blush Cowork and now serves as sole owner and manager. She graduated from UNC in 1999 and has spent her career through now working in advertising and marketing, although she is not a first-time entrepreneur, having founded her own media consulting company in 2009. Alison was chosen as of the 2022 Movers & Shakers by Cary Magazine, and profiled in their May 2022 issue. She lives close by Blush in Cary with her husband and two boys, and looks forward to a time when she can pursue some of her creative hobbies, although she makes time to tweet funny things occasionally on her personal account.
So How Will Blush Use This Money?
Grow our membership
Blush can't keep going without growing. We want to be able to do outreach through marketing and personally not just to folks who need something like Blush, but also to companies and organizations that can help us by supporting our mission and sponsoring or subsidizing memberships for deserving community members who may not otherwise be in an economic position to afford it but need a place to work, interview, study, have childcare, and network.
Maintain and enhance our physical space
Blush is a large space, and we want to keep it updated and inspiring. Blush was built to be flexible and serve as a coworking space, permanent private offices, and event space. Every day we encounter a new potential use and opportunity to bring people together, and that just equals new needs as well as wear and tear on the furnishings that we thoughtfully picked out to create this awesome space.
Most importantly, continue to pay our incredible sitters a fair wage
This is the big one: we want to keep our childcare cost low for our members and visitors, but our salaries fair and livable for our outstanding sitters. We have a partnership with another local woman-owned and run company, PlatinumSitters, who provides us with two experienced sitters dedicated to the kids here at Blush (as well as ample backup when those sitters take a well-deserved paid day off!). I see the childcare as a huge benefit to our members, and I am committed to maintaining the affordability while providing quality care to our kids, but also making sure our sitters are compensated fairly and able to provide for their own families.
I am grateful to all the fantastic people and partners I have met in my Blush journey this far, and thankful to you if you made it this far down reading about Blush and what my goals are for us. Asking for help to keep going is wildly out of my comfort zone, but it takes a community to build a community, and I am reaching out today asking you to also believe in Blush and support Blush if you are able, whether it be a monetary donation or just getting the word out and sharing with your network.