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Take Care: How an indie store is merging coworking and retail

Author: Kaarin Vembar

Source: Retail Dive

Becky Waddell launched a wellness-oriented office space inside her Washington, D.C. store and tapped into an emerging trend.

The most frequent comment Becky Waddell receives about her store, Take Care, is that people don't want to leave. The independent beauty store in Washington, D.C., is an oasis in a hectic urban area — a building full of sunlight filtering through large windows, and soft, pastel tones. Stone diffusers fill the space with a fresh scent reminiscent of a luxury spa. "Everyone here says 'oh, I wish I could just hang out here. It's so soothing, it's so relaxing,'" she said about her brick-and-mortar location.

Waddell's product selection focuses on natural ingredients for skin, hair, body and makeup, but there is a visible emphasis on wellness in her space, too. Shoppers can choose from a variety of supplements, crystals, and aromatherapy options and go to in-store classes about sustainable living, candle making and inner beauty.

Waddell recently made the decision to add coworking to the list of services offered by her company. The front of the store remains a traditional retail space, but the rear houses her new "Workwell" shared office space. Here, subscribers can come to work for their respective industries while enjoying perks of membership including mini yoga sessions, cushions for meditation, a healthy snack bar with coffee and tea, and a small library on subjects that encourage mindfulness. Long tables have essential oils available that members can spray to support focus and balance.

The messaging around Take Care's coworking venture is one of support, with the physical space built to reduce stress and anxiety. "I created the workspace I needed,"Waddell said in an interview with Retail Dive.

Take Care's Workwell space.
Credit: Erin Fabio Photography via Take Care

The word you will hear Waddell frequently use when describing the space and its connection to the retail portion of her business is "community." She is interested in creating touchpoints where people can gather, with the coworking arm of the business acting as an extension of the brand.

"We just decided that we really wanted to double down on our community-building efforts," she said. "Having this space for people to be in a peaceful setting while they work, surrounded by people that value their own self-care and a norm of 'my personal wellness is not superseded by the expectations of my job' is super important."

Waddell expects her members will be a self-selecting group who are drawn to Take Care's particular coworking concept and ideas around wellness, and that those who elect to be in the store's space will be focused on balance and searching for a natural approach to many areas of their lives, including work.

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