Felena Hanson founded Hera Hub in 2011 before the massive coworking craze that exists today and was one of the first coworking spaces to cater to female entrepreneurs.
Hera Hub’s female-centric space contrasted the hypermasculine culture that is associated with other coworking spaces. Now, the operator has locations throughout San Diego, Washington D.C., Phoenix, and even Sweden, with further expansion plans in Europe.
Hanson says that major coworking operators, such as WeWork, have funneled money into advertising, which allows smaller firms the time to focus on educating the market.
Admittedly, Hera Hub has lost some members to WeWork due to members outgrowing the space, but Hanson uses Starbucks as an analogy, saying that the large coffee chain isn’t necessarily running independent coffee shops out of business.
“People gravitate to the right environment for them. If rubbing elbows with the founders of the next big tech concept is important, then WeWork might be a good fit,” Hanson said. “If someone looks forward to Taco Tuesday or loves Ping-Pong to blow off some steam, then places like WeWork might be a good fit. But there are many other locally owned and operated coworking options on the market.”
Hanson created Hera Hub for her own personal need for a flexible office after being pushed into entrepreneurship. She launched Perspective Market, a marketing consulting firm, and found working from home to be convenient and cheaper.
Soon, she also found working at home to be distracting, so she took a position at Women’s Global Network and Ladies Who Launch.
In 2010, Hanson hosted a networking event at San Diego’s first coworking space, the Hive Haus. It was then she realized she could create a space targeted to women, as opposed to tech startups that consist primarily of young men.
Hera Hub has a spa-like theme filled with water features, soft music, and aromatherapy candles.
Members also have access to workshops, mentors and other business education programs that support women.