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The Riveter: Coworking and Community

Built by Women, for Everyone

Article by Susan George

Photography by Emma Morem

Originally published in Bellevue Lifestyle

With today’s modern and, more notably, mobile culture, we find ourselves with the ability to run our businesses from wherever our lives take us. While we can answer emails and run socials from the phone in our pockets, there are still times when we find the need for a conference room or a community of like-minded individuals who understand what it can be like to work for yourself or remotely. Because of this, co-working spaces are more popular than ever. 

“Built by women, for everyone” is the motto for The Riveter, a local female-owned co-working and community space. Amy Nelson, its founder and CEO, tells us about what makes this space so unique.

What is The Riveter’s vision?

The Riveter is a community where all women—inclusive of any race, sexuality, age, ability or marital status—can access the resources they need to build their businesses and networks. We are proud to center women while being welcoming to all. More than anything, we understand that equity in work won’t be realized without everyone having a seat at the table. At its core, The Riveter was created for all women to thrive.

At The Riveter Bellevue and any of our six (and growing) locations, members can find best-in-class professional and personal development programming, robust membership options and collaborative workspaces. Our programming fosters community, and we often see connections between our members lead to new businesses or partnerships as a result.

How did you come up with the concept, and what made you decide to create this space?

Although I’d practiced law for a decade—and very much felt like I’d succeeded in rooms full of almost all men—I felt a fundamental shift when I shared the news about my first pregnancy with colleagues in 2014. I felt like the perception and perspective of me changed immediately. This moment—and all the moments after—led to a change in how I looked at my own future as an attorney. This was all compounded by what becoming a mother meant to me, and that was that I wanted to spend the time away from my girls doing something meaningful. When I was pregnant with my second daughter, I started to really think about what I wanted to do—what would sustain me for years to come and the work I could do to make an impact in the world. While I was on maternity leave, I started exploring the idea of starting my own business.  

Entrepreneurship was an exciting opportunity for me, and I knew I wasn’t alone in searching for resources and programming to learn more about how to start a company.  I’d read in Lean In that almost half of women leave corporate America after they have kids, and I know on the flip side of that was this fact that women were starting businesses five times faster than men. I had some ideas and started going to classes on how to start a business plan, and those classes were at coworking spaces. I didn’t see many women in the spaces, and I was often the only woman in those business workshops. I yearned for that community. I wanted to talk to women who had built businesses before me, who had pivoted their careers to begin again. The idea for The Riveter was born because the community and coworking space was something I needed in my life.

What are some of the coolest success stories or collaborations that have come out of The Riveter? 

Our members are incredible, and so many of our 2,000 members have amazing stories of success. One of those stories is Armoire, a clothing rental company for women, with its founder, Ambika Singh. I met Ambika when The Riveter Capitol Hill was just an idea, and we had a conversation about how Armoire was starting to grow. After a few conversations, Ambika and her team of four employees moved into The Riveter and, over the past two years, their team has grown to 26 employees and they just raised $3 million in funding. We’re so proud of all that they’ve accomplished and their bright future.

Some of my favorite moments include having rich conversations during our events and programming, especially the fireside chats that we get to have with game-changers and innovators like Jane Fonda, Maria Shriver, Sheryl Sandberg, Howard Schultz, 10 U.S. senators, Backstage Capital’s founder and The Riveter member Arlan Hamilton and more. During these events, I often watch our members making important connections that later propel their business and career. They leave inspired by those conversations and move their work forward in new ways.

With spaces in Bellevue, Capitol Hill and Fremont, you’re bound to find a location to grow your business, engage with a female-founded community, and enjoy the chocolate perks along the way! For more information, visit TheRiveter.