Ethels Club

Ethels Club is a private membership club designed for people of color, featured in the New York Times. Our first location will be in NYC.

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Project Description

(Idealized image of the space)

 

MEET ETHELS CLUB

Ethels Club is the first private membership club and workspace created with people of color in mind. Our mission in building a network of branded spaces is to shift the narrative around coworking and social clubs into a platform to empower our members and their communities.

We will be opening our first location this August, in Brooklyn New York. The club will house a workspace, social lounge, boutique and cafe, along with weekly programming, activations and partnerships with like-minded brands included in your monthly membership. 

 

THE PROBLEM

Community fosters self-reflection and self-acceptance. The ways in which we commune and reflect derive from the places we call home, and those places are rapidly transforming and expanding. According to Coworking Resources, by 2022, there will be a projected 6,219 spaces created to tap into the abundance of interest in blended-community workspaces.

These new spaces are revolutionary in terms of the world they’ve built for their members, but there is no social club specifically designated for black and brown people.

As people of color we lack representation in these private spaces and we often find ourselves on the outside looking in, or belonging to communities that do not fully embrace our celebration, language or spirit.

“People of color are often so familiar with navigating white spaces that even when there’s a possibility of bringing more of ourselves into a room, we simply don’t know how. We’ve assimilated to white cultural conditioning, and that assimilation has become part of our identity. While this can help us “get ahead,” the compromise is that we forget what it feels like to be our whole selves.”

- Kelsey Blackwell, author and activist


 

 

THE MISSION

As a Black woman working in the real estate and tech industry for the past four years, I have come face-to-face with the chronic lack of representation in the workplace every day. This same deficit of genuine representation is very much reflected in many “third spaces,” including social clubs that many of us rely on for our social nucleus, professional network and cultural anchor.  

Ethels Club is the brick-and-mortar answer, created so that members can reclaim and redefine the parts of themselves that have been repressed and neglected. We provide a physical and digital space for members to build, network and support one another.

I created Ethels Club to be a safe space that allows the resiliency of black and brown culture to shine. A space that sees your color and celebrates it, every day.

 

 

THE SOLUTION

Ethels Club is designed for people of color to come together, learn and grow in ways that build strength from the inside. It’s a space made for us, by us, redefining what it means to be brown and gather.

Each Ethels Club location will be a gathering place, workspace and multi-purpose event space with a small cafe and a boutique that carries black and brown-owned brands.

Included with membership is access to a vibrant and ever-changing calendar of speakers, performances, exhibits and events. The cultural offerings at Ethels Club are meant to fortify and broaden our members’ experience.

Ethels Club is a proven solution, connecting a human need for community with a scalable business strategy. We are capitalizing on the co-working and social club phenomenon by building a network of branded spaces with a unique, necessary and timely twist.

Our first location will be located in Brooklyn, New York, but the vision of the company is to have a network of clubhouses around the world.

 

 

OPENING AUGUST 2019

Our first location will give a small intimate group of founding members a preview of what it means to be a member of Ethels Club.

Interested members will be able to purchase monthly memberships and event tickets through our website. For our opening night event we have partnered with Samsung.

Most of the funds from this campaign will go toward bringing our first space to life. Our team is also privately raising investment from angel investors and small firms to grow what we're building at a faster scale. If you're interested in learning more about how to get involved, you should email naj@ethelsclub.com

Our first space will include:

  • Cafe (provider TBD)
  • Workspace with high-speed wifi and outlets
  • Comfortable social lounge with couches and chairs
  • Art installations from local artists and photographers
  • Unique programs and events steeped in black and brown culture
(Idealized image of the space)
(Idealized image of the space)

It’s also important that we foster a connection beyond our walls. We plan on debuting an app in the coming months that will connect our members and enable them to network, register for events, shop and more.  

(App mock-up)

 

 

PROGRAMMING & EVENTS

Programming at Ethels Club is meant to uplift, support and broaden the brown experience. We will work with organizations, groups and companies that share our ethos.

We will partner with:

  • Local museums and galleries to curate seasonal exhibits and host residency sessions with local artists, photographers and designers.

  • Local wellness and health groups to help create a space of healing and enlightenment.

  • Local restaurant groups and chefs for monthly collaborations.

  • Local activist and philanthropic organizations who have a direct impact on the surrounding community.

  • Studio and music labels to promote new artists by hosting open mic and interview sessions with black and brown musicians.

  • Platforms and production companies to trial and preview new shows and movies while also showcasing classic black and brown films.

 

 

PRESS & TRACTION

Since getting started just four months ago and with zero marketing spend, we've created a network of over 7,000 people, with over 2,500 of them waitlisted for our Brooklyn location.

Ethels Club was recently featured in The New York Times as a “new social space for people of color.” 

 

 

We also spoke with lifestyle and fashion influencer Bobo Matjila on being a WoC entrepreneur and about the many rewards and mistakes that are made  when you're bringing a unique vision to life, and with beauty and lifestyle influencer Cassidy Sparks about why we’re focused on creating a space that centers on art, music, literature, and film as a way to nurture our members in a holistic way.

 

 

WHY CROWDFUNDING

“Female entrepreneurs receive a tiny fraction of all venture capital funding — a minuscule 2.2% last year to be exact.” -World Economic Forum

“Less than 1% of American venture capital-backed founders are black.” -Forbes

As the founder of Ethels Club, I thought long and hard about how to fund the company in order to best ensure its success. Our North Star is to understand what it means to be a person of color in today’s world and to recognize and celebrate that experience without ever diluting it.

To accomplish that in full, I felt that it was important to begin raising capital from the many people around the world who believe in what we’re creating. The incredible community we’ve built so far (of over 6,000 people) and the community we have yet to meet (hi!), believe that people of color are long overdue for a space that centers their life and experience.

We're committed to building Ethels Club for anyone who believes in the empowerment of black and brown people. Our focus and intentions are PoC-centered and we want to make sure that their lives and identity are always understood, validated and celebrated. This is a space for brown and black voices, which are so often marginalized, to be heard. When the community is nurtured and empowered, everyone benefits.

Join us as we carve out a space made for people of color to thrive.

 

Naj Austin, Founder & CEO

Team: Christina Jones, John Yates, Bruce Easley, Najir Austin, Roy Abraham

All funds raised on the iFundWomen platform will be used to build out and open our Brooklyn space.

Updates

The Project FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is the space?

Ethels Club soft launch location (August - September) will be located in Brooklyn. 

Are there age requirements?

While Ethels Club may host events that are made for all ages, memberships are only available to people 21+.

Does Ethels Club provide parking?

Ethels Club will be conveniently located near multiple subway lines and on street parking.

Are members allowed to bring guests to Ethels Club?

During our soft launch campaign, members will not be allowed to bring in guest into the space. 

What are the dates of the soft launch pop-up?

Our soft launch dates are August 2, 2019 - September 30, 2019

How much will the soft launch pop-up membership cost?

Both monthly membership options allow you access to the club for the full operating hours, including access to all preferred programming and events.

Event pricing: $20 - $25

One Month Membership pricing: $225

Will I have to apply to be a member for the soft launch pop-up?

We will ask that all interested members fill out a simple application prior to purchasing the membership of their choice.

Are people who do not identify as a person of color allowed in Ethels Club?

Ethels Club does not purposely exclude people who do no identity as a person of color from applying. Our focus and intentions are PoC-centered and we want to make sure that that dynamic is always understood, validated and celebrated. This is a space for brown and black voices, which are so often marginalized, to be heard. We also understand that more often than not people of color work, partner, and collaborate with people who do not identify as such, so we welcome all guests of any background.

Is Ethels Club looking for artists, speakers, performers, musicians etc?

Yes! What makes Ethels Club so powerful is our community and ability to be a robust platform for our members. If you would like to be a part of our programming (in any way!), please drop us a line: hello@ethelsclub.com

Does Ethels Club allow outside food and beverages in the space?

Yes, we allow outside food and beverages but we ask that all members follow basic guidelines for the benefit of everyone in our community. We will also have food and beverage for sale at our cafe and bar.

Do you have any partnerships with other organizations?

Ethels Club makes a point to partner and collaborate with relevant groups that share our mission. We believe in collaboration over competition and we are growing stronger every day due to our connections with local establishments and groups.

How many Ethels Clubs are there?

Right now there willl be one Ethels Club located in downtown Brooklyn from August to September, with a flagship location opening in a year. We plan on having a network of locations for members in major cities throughout the US.

samra
06/12/2019
Personalized Thank You!
$20
Ngozi Okaro
05/10/2019
Swag Kit One
$35
Harry Roman-Torres
05/10/2019
Boost your Brand - Instagram & Facebook
$85
Olamide Olowe
05/10/2019
Personalized Thank You!
$20
Alice
05/10/2019
Newsletter Shoutout
$15
05/09/2019
Swag Kit One
$35
Brittany Gilmore
05/09/2019
Swag Kit Two
$50
Tiffany-Ann Taylor
05/09/2019
Swag Kit Two
$50
Vanessa Edwards
05/09/2019
Personalized Thank You!
$20
05/09/2019
Monetary Contribution
$25
Monetary Contribution

Contribute what you can to support Ethels Club's vision of creating a place made for people of color to thrive. Your contribution will help us launch our soft launch popup and grow our business!

48 Supporters
Contribute
$20
Personalized Thank You!

Receive a personalized thank you card from our founder, Naj Austin!

 

9 Left
41 Supporters
Select this reward
$15
Newsletter Shoutout

We’ll include you in our weekly newsletter shoutout thanking you for your commitment to our company!

 

37 Left
13 Supporters
Select this reward
$35
Swag Kit One

We will send you newly-designed Ethel Clubs stickers and put your name in our Instagram story, so be sure to include your handle!

 

26 Left
24 Supporters
Select this reward
$50
Swag Kit Two

We will send you newly-designed Ethel Clubs stickers and an Ethels Club Notebook with a message from our Founder. We’ll also put your name in our Instagram story so be sure to include your handle!

24 Left
26 Supporters
Select this reward
$75
Boost Your Brand - Instagram

Want to promote your black or brown-owned brand or company to our niche community? This is the reward for you. We will post an Ethels Club designed ad of your company in our Instagram story for 24 hours along with a link to your profile.

41 Left
9 Supporters
Select this reward
$85
Boost your Brand - Instagram & Facebook

Want to promote your black or brown-owned brand or company to our niche community? This is the reward for you. We will post an Ethels Club designed ad of your company in our Instagram story for 24 hours (along with a link to your profile) and on our Facebook story for 24 hours.

 

37 Left
13 Supporters
Select this reward
$200
Programming VIP

Interested in performing or showing your art, photography or brand at Ethels Club? Schedule a meeting with our Head of Programming and we’ll move you to the top of our list.

14 Left
6 Supporters
Select this reward
$350
Insider Access

If you’re interested in learning about Ethels Club more formally and are itching to see our (exceptional) deck and (detailed) financial models, on top of supporting us with your contribution, this reward is meant for you! As a thank you, we will send a thank you note and a bouquet from Brooklyn Blooms.

18 Left
7 Supporters
Select this reward
$500
Super Insider Access

If you're interested in learning even more (on top of the decks and models) and want to meet in person, on top of your contribution, this reward will solve all of your needs! Receive a private lunch (In New York City) accompanied with an exclusive meeting with our Founder, Naj Austin.

23 Left
2 Supporters
Select this reward
$1,000
The Angel

Receive eternal gratitude for your amazing generosity!

Other features of the reward include:

- a shoutout in our newsletter and on social media

- a gift bag of our seven favorite black and brown-owned brands

- access to the social club (up to one month)

- exclusive invitation to the soft launch party opening

- access to exclusive VIP events and programming

 

22 Left
3 Supporters
Select this reward
$2,500
The Super Angel

Receive eternal gratitude for your amazing generosity!

Other features of the reward include:

- a shoutout in our newsletter and on social media

- a gift bag of our seven favorite black and brown-owned brands

- access to the social club (up to two months)

- exclusive invitation to the soft launch party opening

- access to exclusive VIP events and programming

- access to our private investor information 

- access to a private investor and donator event held in 2019

24 Left
1 Supporter
Select this reward
$10
Afropunk Tickets

Enter for a chance to win weekend Afropunk 2019 tickets in Brooklyn, August 24 and 25th.

Tickets are a value of $125. A weekend ticket guarantees access to the festival for both Saturday, August 24th and Sunday August 25th. Access to cash bars (21+ with valid ID). 

Winner will be announced April 26th!

27 Supporters
None available

Rewards

Monetary Contribution

Contribute what you can to support Ethels Club's vision of creating a place made for people of color to thrive. Your contribution will help us launch our soft launch popup and grow our business!

48 Supporters
Contribute
$20
Personalized Thank You!

Receive a personalized thank you card from our founder, Naj Austin!

 

9 Left
41 Supporters
Select this reward
$15
Newsletter Shoutout

We’ll include you in our weekly newsletter shoutout thanking you for your commitment to our company!

 

37 Left
13 Supporters
Select this reward
$35
Swag Kit One

We will send you newly-designed Ethel Clubs stickers and put your name in our Instagram story, so be sure to include your handle!

 

26 Left
24 Supporters
Select this reward
$50
Swag Kit Two

We will send you newly-designed Ethel Clubs stickers and an Ethels Club Notebook with a message from our Founder. We’ll also put your name in our Instagram story so be sure to include your handle!

24 Left
26 Supporters
Select this reward
$75
Boost Your Brand - Instagram

Want to promote your black or brown-owned brand or company to our niche community? This is the reward for you. We will post an Ethels Club designed ad of your company in our Instagram story for 24 hours along with a link to your profile.

41 Left
9 Supporters
Select this reward
$85
Boost your Brand - Instagram & Facebook

Want to promote your black or brown-owned brand or company to our niche community? This is the reward for you. We will post an Ethels Club designed ad of your company in our Instagram story for 24 hours (along with a link to your profile) and on our Facebook story for 24 hours.

 

37 Left
13 Supporters
Select this reward
$200
Programming VIP

Interested in performing or showing your art, photography or brand at Ethels Club? Schedule a meeting with our Head of Programming and we’ll move you to the top of our list.

14 Left
6 Supporters
Select this reward
$350
Insider Access

If you’re interested in learning about Ethels Club more formally and are itching to see our (exceptional) deck and (detailed) financial models, on top of supporting us with your contribution, this reward is meant for you! As a thank you, we will send a thank you note and a bouquet from Brooklyn Blooms.

18 Left
7 Supporters
Select this reward
$500
Super Insider Access

If you're interested in learning even more (on top of the decks and models) and want to meet in person, on top of your contribution, this reward will solve all of your needs! Receive a private lunch (In New York City) accompanied with an exclusive meeting with our Founder, Naj Austin.

23 Left
2 Supporters
Select this reward
$1,000
The Angel

Receive eternal gratitude for your amazing generosity!

Other features of the reward include:

- a shoutout in our newsletter and on social media

- a gift bag of our seven favorite black and brown-owned brands

- access to the social club (up to one month)

- exclusive invitation to the soft launch party opening

- access to exclusive VIP events and programming

 

22 Left
3 Supporters
Select this reward
$2,500
The Super Angel

Receive eternal gratitude for your amazing generosity!

Other features of the reward include:

- a shoutout in our newsletter and on social media

- a gift bag of our seven favorite black and brown-owned brands

- access to the social club (up to two months)

- exclusive invitation to the soft launch party opening

- access to exclusive VIP events and programming

- access to our private investor information 

- access to a private investor and donator event held in 2019

24 Left
1 Supporter
Select this reward
$10
Afropunk Tickets

Enter for a chance to win weekend Afropunk 2019 tickets in Brooklyn, August 24 and 25th.

Tickets are a value of $125. A weekend ticket guarantees access to the festival for both Saturday, August 24th and Sunday August 25th. Access to cash bars (21+ with valid ID). 

Winner will be announced April 26th!

27 Supporters
None available