Layla Rivelino is the founder of We Heart Mondays (WHM), a members-only, female co-working and event space in east London. I spoke to her to find out how she went about creating the space, why she is an advocate for women-only workspaces, her plans for expansion and more.
Let’s start by talking about the name of the workspace. We live in a very anti-Monday society, why was it important for you to turn that on its head?
I personally love Mondays as it’s a fresh start to every week. When I was in the process of launching the company I did a poll to find out which words our potential members associated with Mondays and over 80% selected the word overwhelming. As we continue to grow, our aim is to create workspaces and services that equip female entrepreneurs with everything they need to approach Mondays with confidence and hopefully genuinely enjoy Mondays as much as I do!
At what moment did you realise you wanted to create WHM?
I listen to a lot of podcasts by female entrepreneurs which inspired me to create an environment where like-minded businesswomen could come together in places where they’re comfortable to be themselves, be productive, network and make new friends.
How much work did it take to bring your idea to fruition?
I made the decision to launch the company in August 2017 and it took about two months to find a place that was suitable. We signed the lease on October 3rd 2017. It was very much a fixer upper, which we managed to DIY ourselves in time for our launch party which took place on October 23rd 2017.
As WHM is for women only, what do you think the benefits are of female-led workspaces?
They encourage women to partner up and create their own paths within a variety of industries which allows us to be more niche with our services and offer activities that specifically benefit women. Additionally, after we’ve left environments such as school and university, it can be difficult to make new friends, especially if you’re a ‘solopreneur’ working from home. Our workspace and events provide women with the opportunity to work and make friends at the same time.
You’ve already worked with a diverse set of freelancers, bloggers and entrepreneurs. Can you tell us a bit more about the types of businesses that have signed up for membership?
Our members are owners of a variety of businesses including blogs, PR agencies, online stores, recruitment agencies, book publishers, coaching providers, make up artists, photographers, event organisers, TV production companies, freelance journalists and more.
The decor is beautiful and creates quite a calming vibe. What was the inspiration behind the interior design?
Thank you, I’m really glad you like the decor! I wanted to create a space that could be a blank canvas with lots of natural light for content creation and events. I also wanted to ensure that members would feel relaxed enough to be as productive and creative as possible.
Hackney Wick is a creative and ethnically diverse area. I’m a black female entrepreneur so it was important that the space was in an area easily accessible to other women like me.
Other than desks and meeting rooms, what else can members expect when they sign up to WHM?
The space can be used by our members to host their own events. We also host a variety of in-house events, such as our upcoming London Fashion Week Party, our planned WOC brunch, manicures and massages, and monthly goal and content planning clubs, along with a mix of creative and educational workshops.
What’s your long-term goal for WHM?
We’re currently looking for a second space in south London which will hopefully be ready in time for a spring/summer launch. Over the next few years the aim is to expand into other locations around the UK and internationally.
Find out how to sign up for a We Heart Mondays membership here.