on THE VERGE OF CLOSING AND ERASING THE space designed TO BRING COMMUNITIES TOGETHER
Thank you! You are helping prevent this small business from closing. It goes towards:
-Meaningful working capital and community event offerings
-Creative, safe, diverse work and meeting space for everyone
-New employee retention that is critical for business to grow
-Offsetting sky-rocketing commercial rent, deposits and legal fees for attorneys being asked of
-Scholarships, free and reduced space to underserved entrepreneurs and work from home professionals
-Growth and expansion efforts to Beacon Hill, Queen Anne and Renton
Learn more about the disparities black business owners are facing and how you can support the recovery efforts for Work and Play Lounge and how you can support and partner to help this small business overcome these barriers.
WORK AND PLAY LOUNGE We uniquely provide work, podcast recording studio, branding photography, safe mental/emotional support, and kid-friendly spaces for work from home professionals, parents, entrepreneurs, and creatives. We offer wholistic business solutions, mentorship, resources, and tools that support, prepare, and inspire people to entrepreneurship and small businesses and economies to thrive.
MEET THE FOUNDER AND OPERATOR
“NOT JUST A BUSINESS OWNER BUT AN ENCOURAGER OF CHANGE AND LOVE”
Margie has dedicated her voice for speaking up for those being overlooked and whose visibility is a side note and gave her time to advancing this work before it was popular or paid. She leads with love, listening and understanding at the forefront of her decades of experience and master’s degree in Social Work, Policy and Education from the University of Washington. As a mother first, thought leader and businesswoman, she on a mission to interrupt institutional racism and cultural norms of selfishness, bias and hate through incorporating training, consultation and inspirational speaking, poetry and music to both connect and provide simple, measurable, and attainable tools, behaviors and policies that all communities, leaders, and systems can implement and replicate easily and immediately. She in love with accountability and disrupting oppression in love while encouraging decision makers to use their power, influence, and platforms to promote change. Learn more about what she is up to and upcoming events and services
DOMINO EFFECT OF TRAUMA’S IMPACT: BARRIERS TO OBTAINING FUNDING
The Day Life Was Flipped Upside Down
“August 20, 2015, when my first-born children were 1 and 2 years of age, they fell out of 30-foot-high window together, a major accident together that resulted in life threatening injuries, some that would heal with time (skull fractures, broken bones) and some that would be a lifelong journey to recovery (Traumatic Brain Injuries, chronic headaches and trauma). This not only flipped my life upside down, but my finances took a hit due to sudden unemployment because I had to care for and rehab my children 5-6 days a week.”
Try getting a business loan and commercial space while being black, a woman and a startup
If you just google the statistics and data driven disparity reports, that will pretty much sum up what I have continued to experience. The numbers don’t lie and I too have been a victim of institutional racism regarding my interactions with banks and real estate owners. Despite good credit, assets, cash and a viable business plan, I was consistently denied, because the gatekeepers in charge said they didn’t “understand my business model” but no feedback or attempt to understand it was made and no resources were provided to help me further explore business ownership.
Victim of discrimination and predatory commercial leasing
My only hope to overcoming the funding and commercial lease barriers was taking the self-funded route using my cash and assets and finding a sublease with less obstacles in order to open a brick and mortar business. I went from celebrating my first space in 2018 to unexpected loss of it in 2019, while 6 months pregnant. I was blindsided by a sudden business bankruptcy filed by the subtenant landlord. Of which I was the only creditor of color, I was left off her list of creditors submitted to the court and the only creditor not informed of the filing. This person knowing that she was in financial trouble, knowingly engaged in predatory leasing as well as racial targeting, as she consistently pointed out that she was looking for a black-woman tenant because she wanted to “help them be an example to her kid who was half black. Double blindsided by the owning landlord’s reluctance to offer me a direct lease initially, and then only by request, reluctantly offered a direct lease with an attached 6–8-month deposit, again! Both landlord’s had power, resources and authority to prevent me from displacement with little notice and loss of business. After a long battle in court, I was entitled to damages, but no money was left over to pay me. Overnight, my family lost all deposits, tenant improvements, income, and everything we had built. Wish I can say it stopped here but the ongoing challenges of my new subtenancy since 2021 has frustrated my hope that I can overcome barriers in commercial real estate leasing without the intervention of policies.
COVID19 and its crippling impact on my credit worthiness as a business owner
Many of these reasons existed far before the COVID health crisis but have only gotten wider since the COVID shutdown. Unfortunately, like many in my community, I lack the financial resources to recover, such as bank savings, access to a line of credit, or the ability to borrow from family and friends. As a business owner it has been discouraging to learn that systemic policy failures kept pandemic aid from reaching most black businesses in America, including here in Seattle. I found that my perception of my pandemic hardships mirrors the realities of the disparities that recent data reports revealed at the city, state, and federal levels. My personal credit scores took a hit during the pandemic as a result of no income and late payments. This has now become an even bigger barrier to commercial space, loans, and other sources of institutional capital.
Meet the Kidpreneurs Behind the Dream My children have inspired me from the beginning of this dream and beyond. They were with us every day while we moved and built out the space, they were very good helpers! My hope has always been to build a platform to inspire youth entrepreneurship and social change early in life to provide them with the opportunities and resources to interrupt hate in our world. I’ve been teaching my children how to run a business since an early age. My Sonshine Project has been in business for over 4 years. They are aspiring kidpreneurs dedicated to inspiring change, giving kids a voice, and making our world a better place for everyone no matter their skin color! They want to make this world a brighter place, one project at a time! Work and Play Lounge was their first storefront!
TURNING MY PROBLEM INTO A SOLUTION FOR OTHERS Through balancing work and small children, community volunteer work and hardships, I quickly recognized the need for a productive and inspiring workspace that is kid-friendly at times. I just needed help to work on my business and connect with others that was in close proximity to my home. But they didn't exist. In the US, membership of coworking spaces is expected to increase by 5.1 million by 2023. Despite this rapid growth in shared working spaces, only a handful of coworking spaces are black-owned or focused on creating diverse spaces.
THE CHALLENGE AND HOW WE CAN SOLVE THIS IN 2023 The impact of COVID-19 has made things worse and changed the work landscape forever, and for most telecommuting is the new norm. People are craving human interactions, diverse connections, support, and inspiring workspaces to thrive not just survive isolation. Especially parents who have been significantly impacted in the workforce for decades, having to choose between work and their children on so many occasions have deepened and created a greater disparity in the number of parents losing their careers during the pandemic. Work and Play Lounge is filling this gap in the market and hopes to expand.
DEMAND AND EXPANSION
Our only location is currently located in Jefferson Square Building in West Seattle, a part of the Seattle region that was impacted by lack of transportation access to the Greater Seattle for over 2 years due to the bridge being down, which impacted our business significantly. We have been providing needed business space and services to the isolated area since Fall 2021 and have been met with challenges of the location, lack of visibility and ongoing landlord issues. We are eager to expand to neighboring cities in King County and eventually nationally. We are targeting Queen Anne and Beacon Hill this year and later South King County, Renton area, and highly interested in relocating back to Bellevue one day.
Space Features, GOAL Amenties and add-ons WE OFFER
OUR WAY OF GIVING BACK Removing barriers to access is a big part of our vision of creating a welcoming space for all professionals and business leaders evolves and we develop more ways to invest in others, our first commitment will start with a community funded 10-for-1 scholarship model. We will offer scholarships to folks in the community who might not otherwise have access. For every ten members, we’ll fund one scholarship. You can also gift a scholarship by contributing to our campaign, please specify your request and we will gladly recognize your gift.
OUR MEMBERSHIPS! Work and Play Lounge offers multiple membership types to fit different lifestyles. From day passes to discounted 1 year memberships we provide flexibility because we get that life can change quickly. Whether you need space for yourself or small team, or different workspaces to pop-into to fit your attitude for the day, we have you covered.
GIFT A MEMBERSHIP Whether you want to join Work and Play Lounge yourself, or you're thinking of someone in your life that could benefit, our Founding Memberships are a great gift. Providing professionals access to our community is an opportunity for them to further develop, network and connect. Memberships also make great college or graduate school graduation gifts - help them start early! You're able to put any of our rewards in another person's name.
tHANK YOU From our heart to yours, thank you for taking your time to learn more and making an investment in not only this idea but in the many lives your contribution will benefit. This is a community effort and would not be possible without you. Blessing!