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Sep 27, 2018 4:57 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Sag Harbor Women Open Communal Work Space

Amanda Fairbanks, Sarah Cohen and Liza Tremblay, the co-founders, are pictured working at the Shed.  KYRIL BROMLEY
Sep 30, 2018 12:07 PM

The Shed is not for lawn tools, bicycles or holiday decorations.

A women-only co-working space, the Shed will pop up at Estia’s Little Kitchen in Sag Harbor every Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., beginning on Tuesday, October 2. Co-founders Sarah Cohen, Amanda Fairbanks and Liza Tremblay envision their new venture as providing an affordable, reliable and social space where women can work and network.

Similar spaces have been launched around the world due to climbing rent prices and self-employed workers. For instance, KettleSpace and Spacious, two start-up work spaces in Manhattan, take over unused restaurant spaces during the daytime, transforming them into communal work spaces.

“Being a writer, I’ve often worked from home,” Ms. Fairbanks said on Thursday afternoon in Sag Harbor, as she and her partners sat around a wicker table at SagTown sipping coffee. “Working at home is great, but it can be isolating and lonely.”

The catalyst for the Shed emerged when Ms. Fairbanks was living in Mill Valley, California. She started getting work done at an all-women’s co-working space, called the Hivery, while doing freelance writing for The San Francisco Chronicle. “I was a bit of a skeptic going into the whole thing, but I found it very transformative,” she said.

Later, Ms. Fairbanks wrote an article about the Hivery, which Ms. Cohen read, and which helped persuade her that a woman-only work space would be a much-needed addition to the East End.

All three co-founders have strong local ties, and all live in Sag Harbor. Ms. Tremblay, a mother of two, has been the owner and operator of the Bay Burger restaurant, Joe & Liza’s Ice Cream, and Bay Brothers Catering, along with husband, Joseph Tremblay. Ms. Fairbanks, a mother of two, is a journalist who has worked in the editorial department of The New York Times, as a reporter for The Huffington Post, and as a staff writer at The East Hampton Star. Ms. Cohen, a mother of two, has worked as a physical therapist at Stony Brook Southampton Hospital for over 10 years.

“As working moms, we’re currently juggling, and multitasking,” said Ms. Tremblay.

The three women were originally supposed to meet in March to discuss how to make the Shed happen, but two weeks before that Ms. Cohen was diagnosed with breast cancer. “This project has been a shining light,” Ms. Cohen said.

For $25 per day, or $75 a month, the Shed provides a work space, WiFi, Kobrick’s coffee and charging stations. In addition, it will offer wireless printing and scanning, courtesy of a women-run Sag Harbor business, GeekHampton, and flowers courtesy of another one, Sag Harbor Florist. Indoor and outdoor work spaces, grab-and-go lunches for purchase at Estia’s and access to the Shed’s networking events, lectures and speakers are also in store.

The co-founders said they created the work space to help almost 1,000 self-employed women on the South Fork combat the high cost of commercial rent. By partnering with Colin Ambrose, owner of Estia’s Little Kitchen, the Shed will provide Estia’s with consistent off-season business on days when the restaurant is closed. In the coming months, the founders hope to offer year-round and seasonal members a place to work five days a week.

“Freelance women workers are certainly a phenomenon out here, whether they’re selling real estate, writers, artists or graphic designers,” Ms. Fairbanks said. “It’s nice to get a cup of coffee with someone and talk about work and collaborate.”

“The difference between our space and a Starbucks, for example, is that we hope to build a community, and help women network,” Ms. Cohen added. “You don’t get that experience when you have your earbuds in.”

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This is totally sexist and illegal
By even flow (1023), East Hampton on Sep 28, 18 6:55 AM
1 member liked this comment
Cry about it
By johnj (1024), Westhampton on Sep 28, 18 9:21 AM
Or sue about it. Whatever floats your boat.
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (8259), HAMPTON BAYS on Sep 28, 18 9:37 AM
Wait a minute, are you telling me that if I am a aporagender, non-binary, androphillic, skoliosexual who identifies as a llama on every third Tuesday of the month that I can’t use the work space?? Where’s my pink llama hat, I’m starting a protest march.
By localEH (427), East Hampton on Sep 28, 18 3:02 PM
1 member liked this comment
Great. Three successful and hardworking women willing to take time out to help and mentor others at a modest fee. Nothing wrong with that. Hope this venture works out and opens doors especially for younger women.
By V.Tomanoku (790), southampton on Sep 29, 18 10:41 AM
2 members liked this comment
Would even flo (767) write the same message about the Ravenite Social Club?
By FrankV (1), East Hampton on Oct 2, 18 5:15 PM
2 members liked this comment