An Update from team COTERIE

Starting a business is challenging. Starting something that’s new to a market adds a host of hurdles, both known and unknown. We have recently come under fire for our startup practices. Stories that are untrue have been told, and truths have been diluted. We’re here to set the record straight.

In June of 2016 I began putting a team together. After 9 months in development, I’d identified a Charlotte office location, and was as ready as I could be to build a team to support our first community. That team was committed to introducing COTERIE to Charlotte, and we worked to piece together a system that we thought would work. There was a lot of trial + error. Ultimately, that first property didn’t open, for a variety of reasons. We weren’t prepared to absorb that loss, and many on the first team left, angry to not see their efforts pay off. During that time we’d also added our second location to the fold, and those who stayed on board chose to redirect their energy + talent to that community.

As a boot-strapped startup, we’ve had no one backing this. You hear stories of wildly inflated valuations, unicorn funding in the hundreds of millions, etc…. those stories are fun to read, and super exciting. The truth is that few experience that story, and even fewer women ever get near those opportunities. Hard work, tenacity, community support + an enduring passion for our mission is what has driven this. It’s very hard work and we have commitments that stretch our resources weekly. We’re further along than we were six months ago, and in six months, we’ll be doing even more.

This story isn’t a new one. The startup world is ripe with stories like ours. It’s not as sexy as the magazines and Facebook stories would have you believe. It’s also interesting to hear how people react to these truths depending on geography. We know that it’s not as familiar in areas where traditional, corporate structure has reigned.

Our story is pretty raw. A lot of sacrifices have been made to get where we are today, and we are savvy enough to know that there will be more, albeit different, sacrifices in the future. What we’re very proud of is our company culture. Our team is very close, we support an environment of transparency, we adapt to each other’s needs, with a family-first approach, and we actively consider ways to advance this company. In an effort to make a difference for women worldwide, we know we have to start at home. That’s a constant effort.

In January of this year, we sat down as a team and committed to developing a stronger VDS {vision delivery system}. We sat in our newly chosen Charlotte office, talked through the things that weren’t working and discussed our growth plan. Moving forward, we knew it was time to get real about ensuring that our foundation was stronger, so that the company had more market power and our members + clients are offered a greater user experience. The past three months have seen a considerable amount of growth, and we’re very excited about what the future of COTERIE looks like today.

We’ve been blessed with the enthusiasm of the press. From local stories about our spaces serving women, to international recognition as one of the best coworking communities in the US, we’re grateful for the stories that promote why we’re here. We’re also experienced professionals who’ve been at this {business} for many, many years. I’m no stranger to objectors, and my life has been colorful. There’s plenty of stories to tell and hear. At the end of the day, we sleep well knowing that our work is valuable, that we’ll do great things and make mistakes on our way to greatness. What you won’t hear in relationship to COTERIE are stories about blatant sexism, people being fired for not playing to someone’s ego or contributors being diminished. There won’t be stories of gross waste of funds or inflated salaries for the top brass. We keep it clean and respectable, because that’s part of what we would like to be known for.

COTERIE is about service. How we bring that to life may or may not meet with the approval of everyone, and that’s ok. People often judge what they don’t understand. It takes a certain level of acceptance to endure the challenges of a startup environment. It would be easy to buckle. However, each of us feel called to continue, and as hard and messy as that may be, we will continue building what we know is a powerful, meaningful community for other unstoppable women. Women who aren’t afraid to look the naysayers in the face, smile and continue building their dream.