In nine months, a woman can birth a baby.
But Kiki Littlestar chose to spend nine months birthing something else: a dedicated women-only workspace and social club called the Perlene.
That timespan was an intentional part of its femininity, which also includes pink, fluffy pillows on white leather couches and fresh bouquets lining long tables.
Littlestar came up with the idea of creating a women's space last March. As a life coach, she often heard from her female clients about having a lack of career support and workspaces. As Trump's popularity grew, she felt inspired to do something to make the world a little bit better.
She hoped that when she opened the space at 1910 SE 11th Ave., she'd be celebrating the first female president.
That's not what happened.
"On Nov. 9, everything changed. It went from being, like, 'Yay, us' to 'We have work to do.' It became the feminist fortress, the safe space to come for even an hour at a time to be living outside of the patriarchy," she says.
At the Perlene, you can bring your laptop and work at a tall table while sipping on coffee from an exquisite porcelain tea cup, meet with clients, network with other businesswomen, take workshops and classes, stop by to freshen up for a date, or simply sit and talk while drinking a glass of wine.
"What we really need is a physical space to be together, because magic happens when women are together in a room," she says. "Deals have been done in backrooms by men for centuries. This feels a little bit like our backroom."
Except that the Perlene offers the most beautiful backroom you've ever seen. It's like an 8-year-old's dream dollhouse come to life—except that instead of Barbies, it's filled with strong, career-oriented women plus tiny dogs running around.
White twinkle lights and crystal lamps shine on plush couches with pink, fluffy, glittery pillows. Upcoming classes cover the chalkboards: a sign-making party for the Women's March, a goal-setting class and Crafty Bitches on Wednesday night.
Littlestar describes the space as being "like your home, if it was beautiful all the time."
There are plenty of online groups and meetups for women, but Perlene thinks there's no substitute for a physical space. For your $50 monthly membership, you get a whole slew of treats, like drinks, snacks, classes, workshops, a feminist library (stocked with everything from Wild to Ruth Reichl), parties, and a network of female friends. Mostly, you get a place to be outside the patriarchy, even if only briefly.
"Everything inside these four walls, everything is owned by women, run by women. It's where you get to recharge before you have to take on the world again."
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