10 to Watch 2018: Club Kwench

“People want more services, and that’s where we’re leading the third wave of co-working. We’re giving them a lifestyle club.”

Photograph by Darrell LeCorre.

The sharing economy and co-working are buzzworthy business concepts for 2018 — and Tessa McLoughlin, Club Kwench founder, is taking both to the next level.

As part of the sharing economy, the club provides facilities for members so they don’t have to go out and purchase or rent their own spaces. Amenities include turnkey workspaces, event space, maker and artist studios, and boardrooms, along with classes and workshops, cultural events and wellness seminars. The core focus, however, is fostering a fun, vibrant and inspiring community — evolving co-working into a culture-based collective.

“Club Kwench came about out of my own desire to have a central physical space that removed the busyness from my life and supported happiness,” McLoughlin explains. “That is with the belief that happiness came from a multitude of things including Knowledge, Wellness, Experiences, Novelty, Curiosity and Connection (KWENCH). The C is the most important part.

“I wanted a place I could work, have meetings, stay fit, meet new people, try new experiences and be exposed to a range of professionals that I might not normally encounter in my day-to-day life. A one-stop-shop club solution.”

McLoughlin says the club will grow over the next year, moving into a 25,000-square-foot space with room for over 300 members, plus a café, fitness facilities, maker space and offices, and an open communal area with a kitchen.

“I’m hoping our new space will have a lot more social members who may not use it for [office] space,” she says, “but who will come to the pancake breakfasts and stay and do some sewing … I want it to be really vibrant.”

Q&A With Tessa McLoughlin of Club Kwench

What was the scariest part starting up?

It was taking the jump and signing a lease. You’re opening a space for everybody else to have no risk, and you’re assuming all of it. As soon as I signed the lease it was giddy-up time.

What was the biggest challenge?

If I think back to the startup, it was the financials. That’s not my background, and I really had to learn all these new terms and learn what investors want and need.

What advice would you give to someone just starting out?

Have good supports. Things can fall apart right at the 11th hour. My friends, family and all the strong women in my business network — that’s what got me through it.

All the 10 to Watch 2018 Winners

Avalon Accounting
Club Kwench
Hyas Infosec
Island Circus Space
Stride Properties
The Cookie Guy

This article is from the April/May 2018 issue of Douglas.