A Collective Space
Amber Klunzinger left a job she loved to stay home when she was expecting her second child, but continued to do wellness coaching on a part-time basis.
Like many independent workers, she became a coffee shop nomad, working in local coffee joints while her children were home with a sitter or whenever she could steal a couple of hours on her own when her husband came home.
“It was a lonely time for me, working for myself and trying to fit in my work while being pulled in so many directions at home,” said Klunzinger. “The idea for a co-working space came to me in February. I took my husband to lunch that day and told him that we were doing this. We opened in June and it has been more rewarding than I ever thought it would be.”
Klunzinger and her husband are the owners of The Collective, a female-only coworking space in downtown Edmond at 239 N Broadway. The Collective is designed to give women a place to be productive and present so that they can use home as a place to rest and foster their family relationships.
The Collective offers a space where women not only work in a collaborative atmosphere without distractions, like laundry or to-do lists, but also a place where women can support each other. Spaces are available on a full- or part-time basis and include all the business amenities such as Wi-Fi, printing, storage, a kitchen, copying and meeting spaces.
“Many coworking spaces cater to the tech industry, are located in large cities and have a much larger footprint than The Collective,” Klunzinger said.
“I wanted to create a space for women to be productive and connect with other working women, while cutting out the anonymity and commute of a traditional space. Our members are a tight-knit group and our atmosphere is bright and inviting. It’s the feel of a home office without the distraction and isolation of working from home.”
Most of The Collective’s members are entrepreneurs in all types of business models. . In addition to the tangible benefits of membership like printing, Wi-Fi, coffee and business mailing address, working out of The Collective adds legitimacy and boundaries to the womens’ work.
“The fun part is that we all do completely different things. Our businesses range from Spontaneity Kid Care to Pure Barre Edmond to business and media consulting,” Klunzinger said. “We have the ability to make our clients come to us and set hours where we are ‘at the office.’ All these things are great, but our members continually tell me that the community is the biggest benefit to being a part of our group. We support one another and bring differing views when faced with an issue or project.”
The Collective, Klunzinger said, represents the fluidity of the modern workplace. Until recently, only two choices were open for women raising or looking forward to raising a family—work full-time at an office that would pay enough to cover daycare or stay home full-time.
“We are now at a point where women are realizing the dream of spending time with their families while pursuing work they are passionate about,” Klunzinger said. “The pendulum has swung from complete separation of work and home to complete integration. The Collective gives a happy swing back half-way, providing a separate, supportive and peaceful work space while being accessible and flexible.”
Mickie Lara is senior associate of GiANT Worldwide, a transformational leader development company that builds leaders people want to follow and not those that they have to follow. “I found The Collective through a friend after she posted about it on Instagram,” Lara said. “I loved the overall look and feel and energy of the space as well as the fact that they offered free Wi-Fi, printing, a mailing address etc. I met there with Amber and after meeting her and seeing it in person, I just knew it was where I wanted to be. Amber and The Collective have attracted such a great group of women, which we fondly refer to as The Tribe. We have been able to really get to know each other and support and encourage each other in our various business ventures both inside and outside of the coworking space.”
The idea is catching on. Within the first six months of business, women from all over the country started contacting Klunzinger asking for a space like The Collective in their area. “I’ve now started contracting with other women to open their own spaces, forming a network of reciprocal membership in several locations,” said Klunzinger. “It has been a wild ride, but I love what I do and getting to coach others in building community is a dream realized that I never knew I had.”
For more information go to www.thecollectiveok.com