While many coworking spaces choose to settle down in the startup neighborhoods of San Francisco, attracting mostly Millennials, Grace Kraaijvanger, the founder of The Hivery, wanted her collaborative coworking lab to be a space for women of all ages and all walks of life to work together and inspire each other.
Not only is The Hivery a design gem—with its spacious open layout and arched floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Mill Valley—but it’s also a space for women to come together, co-work, and collaborate.
“I felt like I was put on this planet to honor women’s mix of uniqueness and talent,” says Grace, a former dancer who has always been surrounded by creativity and artists.
After her dancing career, she worked in marketing and consulting until she started to feel the urge to recover her creative energy. She didn’t know exactly how this new creativity would be channeled, but she knew she wanted a physical space where she could meet and help others on their journey to fulfillment.
After playing with the idea of a coworking space for a few years, and with a little encouragement from a dear friend, Grace founded The Hivery in early 2014 as one of the first women-only coworking spaces. As fate would have it, Grace found the perfect spot for The Hivery in a former dance studio.
The open, airy layout of the main working area is filled with natural light, lined with individual white tables, a spacious communal table, comfortable chairs, and a window bench for relaxing.
Grace worked with designer LeAnn Wanninger, founder of Design Renegades, to bring her vision to life: a space that would immediately spark inspiration and creativity for its members. “I wanted to create a space where The Hivery members would feel an immediate rush of inspiration matched by a gentle and quieting calm,” says LeAnn.
“I recognized that ultimately, this was a place where members would come to find their best selves and grow professionally and personally,” she adds. “Every room needed to have its own encouraging message, so I chose to match that need with quotes and artwork. The space also had to support a flexible range of functions, so we created custom furniture designed with mobility and flexibility in mind.” The design of The Hivery also spoke to the jury of Wayfair’s Trade Tastemaker Award and won “Best Office Space 2017.”
The overall color palette of the Hivery is very California: natural tones and organic textures mixed with lots of greenery and pops of color. The details and accents throughout the space honor different creative professions. There’s a vintage typewriter as an homage to writers, while brushes stand for the art of painting. Of course, the splashes of yellow are an ode to the hive—and the name, The Hivery. Grace choose yellow to be the accent color since it represents creativity and focus.
Complementing the main work area, The Hivery has designated spaces for meetings and quiet spots for taking a phone call. The event room hosts weekly meditation or yoga sessions, and can also be booked for workshops and events.
“It was important to me that the space is this vehicle for a bigger movement. I knew I wanted natural light, positive energy, and a connection to the community inside and outside,” says Grace, who didn’t want to put any covers on the windows so young girls can walk by, look up, see women working together, and get inspired.
As a member of The Hivery, you get a spot for your laptop and wifi, as well as a supporting network of women. “We are very inclusive. We support women across all ages and stages in their career and experience. It was crucial to me that potential members didn’t have the feeling to prove themselves to get in,” says Grace.
The Hivery is like an ecosystem where you can get support whether you are looking for a photographer, a social media strategist, an accountant or any other help to grow your business. Grace is proud that women come to The Hivery and see this beautiful space, but also feel the connection and camaraderie.
“We want to inspire our members to be a part of a bigger movement, empower each other, work on their own business, and leave their mark on the world—all while working from a beautiful space,” she says.