The Hera Hub Story Female Entrepreneurs Only Club
Bringing San Diego female entrepreneurs together
Owner, Felena Hanson
As soon as you set foot into a Hera Hub location, you know that you are not in a typical office environment. Gone are the walls and cubicles, the ringing phones and the stiff, uncomfortable plastic chairs. Instead, you are greeted by the scent of fresh flowers, the sounds of running water and soft music, and a variety of stylish furniture that makes you feel like you are in a five–star hotel rather than a co–working office space.
And you see lots of smiling, welcoming faces of people—mostly women—who are managing their respective business endeavors in an airy, open environment that has the relaxing smell, luxurious feel and fashionabale look of an elegant spa. This is the creative work space for entrepreneurial women who are either self–employed or working remotely for an already established business but need a more positive social atmosphere than a desk in a spare bedroom at home can provide.
This is Hera Hub, the spa–inspired co–working environment that launched in San Diego in late 2011. Hera Hub currently has three locations in the area—Sorrento Valley, Mission Valley and Carlsbad—as well as one in Washington, D.C. and is poised to explode with franchises nationwide.
Felena Hanson is the founder of Hera Hub, which is named after Hera, the Greek goddess and protector of women. Having worked alone to build her own marketing firm, Hansen found it difficult to grow her business in the solitude that working from home provided.
“It’s challenging working alone because you work in a vacuum,” she recalls, “so I started looking at space for myself and my business and found that a lot of the women I knew were running into the same challenges.”
The traditional executive suite businesses didn’t fit because they sell a model of privacy, which she didn’t want. “I didn’t need more privacy, I had plenty of privacy on my own at home.”
Co–working spaces were mostly focused on technology businesses that were very male–oriented and provided the bare minimum of work space environments, such as plywood and cinder block tables, loud music and beer pong games—clearly not the style she was looking for.
In fact, no shared workspaces that she visited fit her needs, so Hanson decided to create her own.
“I decided to create a model that didn’t exist because I knew there was a need in the market,” she said. “It’s just a different environment with a vibe that is focused on creating a safe, supportive setting where hard questions can be asked and we can all learn from each other.”
“Too many people try to create a business in a vacuum, but it’s important to surround yourself with like–minded individuals in a community that is supportive. We need to see people who are a few steps ahead of us and be able to sit down with them and ask ‘How did you do that?’”
So Hanson created Hera Hub as a spa–inspired platform for members to come to focus on their businesses in a calm andrelaxing environment with service reminiscent of what you might find at Nordstrom or other high–end boutiques. Members pay a monthly fee based on their desired use of the Hera Hub facilities, with full–time users paying more than $300 per month and others averaging $150–250 per month.
After creating and perfecting her business platform in San Diego, Hanson was ready to recreate Hera Hub in other cities she where she saw a need, so she decided to franchise the business, with Washington D.C. being the first to open outside of San Diego.
“I figured that because Hera Hub is a platform for entrepreneurs, then why not take everything that I’ve learned over the last four years and turn that into an opportunity for somebody else to launch their own business by using our brand and our system as a model?” said Hanson. “We worked very hard to get going and made a ton of mistakes so they (franchisees) don’t have to suffer through all those things.”
After the opening of the Washington, D.C. location in June, Hanson is in talks with potential Hera Hub owners in about a dozen other cities across the nation. Her goal: To have 20,000 members worldwide by 2020. Hanson is discussing potential franchisees in Phoenix, Las Vegas, St. Louis, Raleigh/Durham and London. Expansion to Canada, South America and Western Europe could be coming as well.
Nicole MacDonald, owner and founder of Sash Bag, is one of the many entrepreneurial women who credit Hera Hub with her success.
“I was working from home, trying to grow my business, with my kids around, which was a bad decision because I was unable to focus and grow my business,” said MacDonald. “Then when Hera Hub opened up I was able to find my space and was able to grow my marketing business. And through that business I was able to grow to a point where I had the resources to fulfill my ultimate dream which is the Sash Bag. I can’t even stress how much I think Hera Hub is such a huge component to the success that I have had with this business. I met my business partner, my investor, all my board members, I’ve gone through the HeraLab incubator, I put my business plan together,and everything has been done here. It’s amazing.”
Amanda Hirko, owner of Hirko Consulting, agrees.
“I looked into it based on using the conference room and a space to meet students and just found that it was so much more than that,” she said. “This is not just a shared workspace, it’s a place of true inspiration. I was working from home for eight years and I don’t think I moved very far. I now feel like I’m part of something and I missed that.”
After opening four locations in four years, and many more on the way, it’s clear that Felena Hanson is living her dream and staying true to her business mantra: Go Big or Go Home. Hera Hub style.
For more information about Hera Hub, head to www.herahub.com