Around Town: The Wing Touches Down In Washington

by Erica Moody

The all-female social club opens in Georgetown this week.

The Wing is the office you wish you had, a stylish sanctuary with pink and peach mid-century modern furnishings, a color-coordinated lending library, a meditation room, free Chanel and a network of supportive, powerful women at your fingertips.

The women-only co-working space is the fourth Wing location and the first outside of New York. It takes up a 10,000 square foot space in Georgetown, at 1066 Thomas Jefferson Street NW, a location selected for its size as well as its role in women’s history. The building once housed the firm of Chloethiel Woodard Smith, who is credited with building up much of Southwest D.C. and starting the first female-run architecture firm in the U.S. There’s a plaque in her honor at the entrance of the building.

Co-founder Audrey Gelman says that she and business partner Lauren Kassan, both 30, decided to expand to D.C. based on familiarity and demand.

“D.C. was the most requested city,” Gelman explains. “We started hearing from women here right after we opened our first one. I lived here and worked on the Clinton campaign in 2008 and Lauren went to college at GW so we knew the city. Operationally, it was a logical next step for us outside of New York.”

For the design, which is undeniably feminine with lots of Millennial pink, flowers and fringe, they brought in designer Chiara de Rege from New York. There are no cubicles to be found at The Wing. Instead, there are tables, couches and comfortable chairs on which to work in an open space, as well as glass-door “phone booths” to make private calls. The booths are named after famous women in politics.

“It’s a big space so we wanted to make sure that it was broken up into spots that felt like they were conducive to smaller conversations and community building so it didn’t feel overwhelming for people,” Gelman says.

They worked with the woman-owned Strand Bookstore in New York to build up a library, a popular feature of every location so far. “The Strand helped us assemble and curate the largest collection of female authored books ever assembled,” Gelman enthuses. “It’s also a lending library so members can take out books and everything is catalogued.”

Another distinguishing feature of The Wing is the beauty room, a spa-like section with hair dryers, curling and straightening irons and free Chanel products (The Wing frequently partners with Chanel on promotions and events). There’s also a lactation room and showers for members to get ready for meetings or after-work activities. Lockers are available to reserve permanently or by the day.

The onsite cafe, The Perch, features breakfast, lunch and snack items from local woman-owned or co-owned businesses like Whisked!, A Baked Joint and Little Red Fox. Cocktails have D.C. themed names like “It Goes Down in the DMV” and “Notorious RBG” after Ruth Bader Ginsberg.

But how did this concept come to be? Gelman tells us that she and Kassan were inspired by the women’s club movement in the early 1900s. “There were actually around 5,000 women’s clubs that existed around the turn of the century.

Our idea was to resurrect that concept for contemporary women.”

The difference between then and now, of course, is that now more women work outside of the home. Most use the space to work during the day. At night, they focus on “making connections, collaborating and attending events,” Gelman says. The events are no joke–Jennifer Lawrence and even Hillary Clinton have been guest speakers. The Wing aims to host 3-4 D.C. events a week spanning a range of topics and industries; the first is a book talk on April 13 with Claire Shipman and Katty Kay, authors of “The Confidence Code.”

And who can members expect to work alongside once they join?

“It’s been really all over the map,” Gelman says about membership applications.

“Definitely women in politics and government, but also women who work at NASA and Boeing, women in creative fields and women who work in environmental causes. It’s a really diverse group.”

You can apply to join this diverse group by filling out an application at Memberships prices are competitive and start at 5 a month for one location (with a year-long commitment) and 0 for unlimited access to every location.

Considering that The Wing is rapidly expanding (six new locations are set to open in Seattle, Toronto, LA, San Francisco and London), an all-access pass may be the best bang for your buck.

Photos Courtesy of The Wing.

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