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Trend Report: Coworking it Out

By Selena Fragassi


Coworking space has become a substantial business trend over the last decade, catering to an American workforce that has become more independent and less satisfied with working at cafés and in hotel lobbies. The latest spinoff, though, is even more intelligent—using coworking space as an event venue.

It’s an idea that Joanna Bailey hopes to capitalize on with COTERIE Company. Her boutique brand of high-end communal spaces will debut in Charlotte, North Carolina in July and has plans to rapidly expand to 60 cities over the next four years with a double vision to provide a female-focused network of professional communities that can also be used as all-inclusive meeting and event space.

“I think there is considerable opportunity for evolution in the industry, and COTERIE Company is absolutely an example of that,” she says, noting that the business is positioned to become the first global brand for coworking women in a field still 80% dominated by men—and also one of the first to cater to the booming meeting and event industry.

“I know a lot of coworking spaces are hosting internal events, but my vision when mapping out my company was to provide spaces for external groups,” she says. “Many times, when a meeting planner is looking to host a social or professional event like a launch party or book signing, they don’t want to go to a hotel ballroom or wedding venue and they don’t need a cavernous space like a loft. COTERIE presents that multifunctional opportunity.”

The idea naturally evolved from Bailey’s ambitious 25-year trek in hospitality and event management. She started her career with Disney, and by her early 20s, had cut her teeth in property management and restaurants, where she discovered her eye for design. Soon she was consulting with a number of established brands to build out entertainment venues and vacation clubs before launching a luxury wedding business in 2001. “What I have been known for, and what I really love to do, is look at something and design an entire experience,” Bailey says. “When I see raw space or consider a concept, I know what the takeaway should feel like."

As such, Bailey is very specific when it comes to picking the right spot for each COTERIE Company location. “As I develop each one, I make sure to ask, ‘How can we serve our small event needs? And, do we have great conference space or can we carve it out?”

Her rule is that the property must have at least 25,000 square feet of hybrid space for about 300 people and outdoor areas for overflow and ambiance. All of the locations will have mobile glass walls and doors that can offset the individual work areas from the simultaneous conferences by day and events by night, so there is no disruption.

And though COTERIE does work off a membership model, like other coworking venues, meetings and events can be booked by anyone. “We offer everything a planner would need,” says Bailey, noting that spaces can be reserved seven days a week. “Each community is run by a team of talented concierge, trained to accommodate any request. From the time a client sends in an RFP, we are already working on matching them up with our preferred culinary partners, and taking care of the details. Those things are inherent in signing with us.”

Technology and A/V are also included. The flagship Charlotte location even has Google Fiber connectivity. As well, “every client will also have their own IP address. We take physical and digital security very seriously,” says Bailey.

One of the most important tenets is that everything is included in the rental price. “I’m not a fan of the nickel and dime concept,” she furthers. “We believe in service first.”

COTERIE already has clients lining up in advance of the first four openings (also including Pittsburgh, Orlando, and Dallas) with a confirmed private roundtable for an international women’s leadership conglomerate and a large technology and government conference that will bring in 300 guests early next year. “We have been pleased to see the proposals coming in,” says Bailey. “I want people to see the value of COTERIE beyond just another place to work. We hope people will come for our unique spaces, and return for our unparalleled service.”

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Charlotte, NC
(704) 954.9306