Supporting women through a collaborative space

Natasha Bell opened Her Collab Co. earlier this year


  • Community   Wednesday, November 30, 2022   Stewart Grant



By Stewart Grant
I’m writing this article while Shania Twain’s “Man, I feel like a woman” happens to play in my head. My recent experience sitting down with Natasha Bell at Her Collab Co. makes me somewhat envious that I don’t have the opportunity to work in this environment that she has created at 6 Water Street South, Unit 3 in St. Marys.
What a lovely, comfortable space that has been designed in the former home of M&M Variety, adding to the list of businesses here that also includes The Flour Mill, The Yoga Chapple, Betty’s Book Shelf, and Miss Jones. Bell credits friend and designer Abby Campbell for the welcoming décor that sets the mood within the 750 square foot facility.
Her Collab Co. is described concisely as “a coworking and event space for women”, though its more than that, as I discovered. There is also a collaborative and supportive network that is meant to help females excel both in their businesses and in their personal lives.
“I worked in the online space for 10+ years with e-commerce and health coaching,” Natasha told me. “When we were traveling overseas, I would often work from coffee shops although when we were living in Berlin (Germany), there was a coworking space there. This concept is a lot more common in larger cities. These places are usually huge, there are permanent offices and flex workspaces where people just come and go, and I said to Mark years ago, “I want to open something like that up here.”
“When I saw Tracey redoing this beautiful building, I just thought, oh my gosh, there’s this beautiful mix of female entrepreneurs already in this building and people are coming from Stratford already to experience this, and it just felt like a good fit.”
“My passion and purpose is to support women – in their health, in their business, as they create a life that they love and feels good,” she explained. In the last ten years, Natasha has hosted a number of events for female entrepreneurs, and this is one of the unique aspects of her new venture. Having opened in the spring of 2022 and through to the end of December, there will have been close to 30 different events hosted at Her Collab Co., covering a variety of topics. “We’ve offered a number of workshops to support the women in our space including bookkeeping, self-care as an entrepreneur, mindfulness tools in life and business, brand photography, social media, masterminding and more,” she said. “I want this to be a launch pad for women to connect, to collaborate, to grow.”
The shared office space for women is available Monday to Friday, from 9 to 5. “We run based off of memberships so they can come and go as they want,” Natasha explained.
The room includes sitting areas, standing work areas, and a bar area. There’s also an attractive enclosed studio space where people can go in and take Zoom meetings, bring clients in, or even do sound recording such as podcasts. Outside of the coworking space, the area is also available for events, such as meetings, small teams, workshops, etc.
Those who are curious to see the space, and find out whether membership is right for them, are encouraged to come in and take a tour. Also, a guest pass can be arranged for those who are curious about whether they enjoy working remotely. Bookings for tours can be made through the website, www.hercollabco.com, or by contacting Natasha at hercollabco@gmail.com or by calling/texting 519-949-2961.
Natasha said that one of her members recently said, ‘it’s the community that I didn’t know I needed.’ “That really landed for me because I want women to know that they’re not doing it alone.”
“We have a good mix of professionals and entrepreneurs. Most of us use the space 1-3 days a week. It provides a good mix of doing some stuff at home and having that balance, and then getting out and being distraction-free and focused, so I wanted to reflect that in the memberships too. We’re going to a model now where you can become a member of our community and have unlimited office hours, the meeting room, three networking events a month, plus we also have our own platform and hub as well so the women can connect with each other in there,” she added.
Although the memberships are only available to women, there will be a great opportunity next week for all to come and see the redesigned space. On December 6-7, Her Collab Co. is hosting a holiday pop-up market from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., both days. “Everyone is welcome and there will be six local vendors each day of female-founded brands.”
Or as the Shania song goes, it’s “the prerogative to have a little fun”.