“When I couldn’t gain entry into the coworking world as an employee, I decided to build my own space”

Felicia Rubinstein, founder, HAYVN

When you walk around HAYVN, you see Felicia Rubinstein’s vision in action. “I know how difficult it is to work out of your home,” says Felicia. “So I wanted to design a space where people can be highly productive on their own but also have the opportunity to interact and collaborate with others in a warm welcoming space.”  

Felicia Rubenstein

The space is open and inviting with a mix of private offices and collaboration spaces. And unlike most coworking spaces we’ve been to, this one offers a range of cultural, physical and business options to draw people in. 

HAYVN hosts many events and has strategic partnerships to provide programming in the fitness center downstairs. While we were at HAYVN, there was a workshop on SEO (search engine optimization marketing) and we overheard women excitedly discussing options to become a member of HAYVN. And Felicia is dreaming of someday offering after-school programs, babysitting and dog-sitting services as well as a host of other amenities.

Her inspiration came as she walked the streets of New York, thinking about what to do next, after her job ended at a SaaS company in NYC.  She thought the coworking industry would be interesting, and reached out to multiple companies. When she didn’t get any responses, she decided to do it herself. “I come from a long line of entrepreneurs so the idea of starting my own business was exciting,” says Felicia. “ You’ll find photographs on the conference room wall of my grandfather at aged 16, newly immigrated from Poland, with his tie business and later in his factory on the Lower East Side of New York for inspiration.” 

Her determination grew after she visited a variety of coworking spaces in the New York City and learned about the industry in FROM THE GWA  “Global Workspace Association ” Conference. She explored franchises but ultimately decided to pave her own road, getting an SBA loan to supplement her investment for startup capital. She then found a developer landlord who shared her vision, and in Spring 2019, HAYVN opened. 

Felicia is a woman who clearly thinks of everything, reflecting on what she would like and delivering it to the public, with plenty of marketing experience to make her space distinctive. Small wonder that when HAYVN opened on a rainy day in spring, 400 people attended. “It’s challenging to start your own business but it’s exciting to see your vision become reality.  When I looked at the market, I didn’t see anything that fully met my needs. By building it myself, I knew I could reach consumers who, like me, wanted a different coworking experience.”

Now, having launched HAYVN, Felicia is considering the possibility of  expanding HAYVN’s footprint, with more HAYVNs offering more women and men a space to work away from home that feels like “home.”

To learn more about the Hayvn, which is currently located in Darien, CT., visit https://hayvn.com

Copyright© 2020 Emelie Smith Calbick and Betty Wong

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