Yet in just six months, they’ve come a long way from when Sheldon asked the Flea’s Instagram followers: “If we opened a co-work space, would you show up?”
An outpouring of positive responses snowballed into developing a blueprint and recruiting head contractor Emily Roll, builder M Mock and designer Lauren Noel of Lady Noel Designs.
After all, a space women should also be by women. “I would say we are a 95-percent women-led space,” says Sheldon, who holds a degree in architecture from the University of Michigan.
The eclectic communal office with Wes Anderson vibes feels like “art school meets a hotel lobby,” Sheldon says. The 3,600-square-foot flat features 18 studios for full-access members, benches for when it’s time to step away and three private booths for pumping breast milk, taking phone calls or a private moment. And, of course, Sheldon’s signature pink marks any Flea space.
“It will feel like this very DIY architectural place,” she says. “There will be a lot of creativity, because you aren’t surrounded by the basic beige and taupe materials that are in a lot of places in Cleveland.”
Although it begs to be photographed, the space has a no-Instagram policy. Sheldon wants to curb over-sharing and penetration from the outside world to nourish creativity and let personalities blossom.
“Owning a business can feel isolating,” she says. “This space tends to the hustle and heart side of things.”
Creative Clubhouse’s tiered monthly membership options ($75-$195) range from social memberships for networking to full-access plans with designated desk space, as well as a daily desk rate ($8-$10). Whether it’s writing a manuscript or answering emails, Sheldon wants the Clubhouse to be the fuel that keeps the wheels spinning for female creatives.
“I hope this space gives women the courage to say yes to themselves creatively and get the work done every day to make their businesses and projects bloom,” says Sheldon.
If you’ve ever wondered how Cleveland Flea vendors make their creative companies work, pull out your notebook because class is in session. This month, Cleveland Flea founder Stephanie Sheldon launches the Flea Club, a $49-a-month resource package providing monthly meet-ups and instructional podcasts. We took a crash course on three podcasts you can hear from Flea Club.Episode: Fount Leather founders Jackie and Phillip Wachter discuss the importance of quality. What You Get: “Jackie and Phillip put quality at the front of their business,” Sheldon says, “so to learn from them what sacrifices it takes and how to execute it is really helpful.”
Episode: Lauren H.B. Ceramics Studio owner Lauren Herzack-Bauman examines how to balance mom and work life. What You Get: “We explore what it takes personally and how to set a schedule to fulfill both your business and duties as a mom,” says Sheldon.
Episode: Flea lawyers Len Gray and Anthony Trzaska from Gray Legal offer startup advice. What You Get: “Picking up the phone and calling an attorney about contracts and LLCs can be intimidating,” Sheldon says. “So the podcast conversation takes some of that pressure off.”