Arkansas business women have something to look forward to in September or early October: the opening of The Nest, a coworking space and social club in Little Rock’s SOMA District that will also offer weekly and monthly programming for working women.
Co-founders Natalie Ghidotti and Erin Hohnbaum describe their 3,000-SF space at 112 W. Daisy Bates Drive as being designed for women by women. Monthly memberships are $99, $175 or $325, and corporate memberships will be available as well. Those cost from $5,000-$15,000.
In addition to co-working space, The Nest will offer a conference room that can be rented by members, as well as a kitchen and outdoor area. The outdoor area will open with the rest of The Nest, but plans call for further development of it in 2022.
Ghidotti is the owner and founder of Ghidotti Communications, a Little Rock public relations and content marketing agency. Hohnbaum is the owner, founder and CEO of E.Leigh’s Contemporary Boutiques and co-founder of PowHer Players women’s community.
“The Nest will capture the collaborative spirit of our community’s female leaders by serving and hosting women in an authentic environment for empowered thought, inclusion and connection,” Ghidotti said in a news release. “Erin and I, along with our founding members, will create a community where the phrase ‘women supporting women’ isn’t just a catch phrase; it’s a way of life. Our vision is that The Nest will be your bridge between work and home that inspires you to conquer your day, week and year.”
Hohnbaum told Arkansas Business she met Ghidotti through her involvement in a central Arkansas group affiliated with Vistage International, a peer mentoring membership organization for CEOs, business owners and executives of small- to mid-size businesses. They were the only women there, she said.
“We both, separately, had this idea for a space for women,” Hohnbaum said. Then the pandemic hit.
COVID-19 caused many mothers to leave the workforce because they lacked child care options, she explained, and those who didn’t stop working transitioned to working remotely. Hohnbaum was pregnant with her first child when she and Ghidotti started planning The Nest in earnest.
“We saw the need, and we knew people were craving connection. We were craving connection. Both Natalie and I are extroverts, so especially during the pandemic, it was pretty hard on us. So we dreamt this up,” she said.
Hohnbaum acknowledged that there are many co-working spaces in town already, notably at the Little Rock Technology Park, but she said The Nest sets itself apart because it will not have enclosed office suites. Instead, it will offer an open seating office area that resembles a lounge.
Hohnbaum expects a big plus for members will be The Nest’s “highly intentional programming,” with topics ranging from personal finance and wealth management to starting a business, leadership and mental health.
The Nest will also host holiday parties, other social events and workout classes.
“We really want to get to know our members and want to know what they want to learn about, what they want to talk about, what's important to them. So we've really put a lot of thought and effort into what we think our members want, and that's what we're starting with. And then, from there, we are all ears for them on what they want to talk about,” she said.
The Nest has already attracted membership signups, Hohnbaum said.
She and Ghidotti estimate that The Nest can serve 200-300 members, and they are seeking a full-time general manager. Several part-time roles are available as well, and they’d eventually like to add a full-time program coordinator, Hohnbaum said.
Hohnbaum thinks the name conveys that The Nest is an incubator.
“If you think about a nest, it's very feminine and — at the same time — there is so much creation that's happening in the nest,” she said.