Billed as a “town square” for mission-driven projects and small businesses, Made by We, a new retail and coworking concept introduced by the We Company, opens today in New York City’s Flatiron district. It’s the latest expansion of the extended We universe, which includes WeWork, WeLive (coliving), and even WeGrow (schools).
The coworking and coliving giant appears to be counting on the synergy of not only selling goods to its own members, a potentially desirable group of consumers, but also testing an on-demand model of coworking in a high-traffic area, a concept that could be replicated in other dense urban areas.
“Everything we do at the We Company, from the spaces we curate to the service offerings we provide, is intended to create meaningful human connections,” said Julie Rice, a WeWork partner, in a statement. “Made by We was launched with a vision to connect the We community with the rest of the world, and provide people with the best on-demand workspace, services, and products, no membership required.”
This new facet of the business debuts as the We Company, valued at $47 billion, seeks to show it can turn a profit and continue growing as the company considers going public. The company recently received an additional $2 billion in funding from Japanese conglomerate SoftBank, a downgrade from an expected $16 billion investment for growth and expansion.
Opening at 902 Broadway in Manhattan, the space, designed by the company’s in-house team, will be open to the public, no coworking membership required. Initially, the store’s marketplace will carry handmade cards and stationery by Miks Letterpress, reusable water bottles by Memobottle, chickpea snacks by Lebby, and wallet and laptop cases by Dynomighty Design. The products featured at launch were chosen via a series of pitch nights held by the company’s retail team.
For aspiring startups, Made by We could be the beginning of a WeWork ecosystem: network with potential collaborators, design and develop products in a coworking space, then sell to fellow coworkers at We Company retail spaces.
“I was thrilled to pitch my products to Made by We,” Terrence Kelleman, the founder and president of Dynomighty Design, said in a statement. Now, I have a brick-and-mortar presence in the same community, which will continue to give me feedback and support my products throughout New York.”
The retail space and coworking hub will be paired with a outpost of Bluestone Lane, the Australian coffee and cafe chain, which is open the public. There’s also a custom WeWork space, offering nearly 100 bookable seats as well as six meeting rooms available on-demand or via prebooking on the Made by We site. Users, who don’t need a WeWork membership, can pay for 30 minutes minimum, and then book by the day or minute after that.
In addition to blurring the lines between workspace and retail, the Made by We space will also host programs focused on “people who are shaping culture and influencing the modern workplace.” The inaugural event on January 22, Do What Feels Good: Redefining Beauty & Health, features entrepreneur Hannah Bronfman and former Teen Vogue editor Elaine Welteroth.
The workspace will be open from Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., while the marketplace and cafe will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday.