Founded by changemakin‘ superwoman Sheree Rubinstein, @oneroofwomen is Australia’s leading co-working space for female-led businesses, providing everything women in business need to succeed under one roof.
Providing a space for women from all walks of life to be championed, seen, heard and celebrated, One Roof Women is paving the way for women in business, offering aspiring entrepreneurs with not only a co-working space, but also a sense of connection, community and support.
We sat down with the thought leader and creative powerhouse behind this incredible initiative to find out how she’s empowering other entrepreneurial women to succeed. Let’s get down to business!
How did @oneroofwomen come about?
I started my career in corporate law. From the moment I entered the corporate world, I became aware and equally passionate about removing the barriers that exist for women to succeed in business. I started by running networking events and focus groups bringing women together. I asked them what barriers they felt were holding them back. What they felt they needed in order to truly succeed in business. Through garnering these insights I came up with the idea of One Roof Women – a hub providing everything women need to succeed in business, all under one roof.
I began by testing the idea as a pop up co-working space in an Airbnb home. I literally converted this woman’s house in St Kilda into a co-working space for a week! We programmed and curated the whole week. There were meditation sessions in the morning, meet-and-greets at lunch time, afternoon workshops and networking events every evening.
In one week, nearly 500 people came through the doors. While the landlord had absolutely no idea how many people came through her house that week, it was a massive success! I knew I was onto something significant and meaningful.
What motivated you to start sharing One Roof Women on Instagram?
I always knew One Roof was more than a space. It was always about the community. And so I knew right from the start Instagram would be instrumental in driving and forging that community. Encapsulating all the different programs and opportunities we have, profiling our members and the broader community of women in business. Ensuring we positioned ourselves as thought leaders on what women need to succeed in business.
Our very first post back in 2015 was around raising our brand awareness and launch. We did a campaign around “embracing fear and doing it anyway”.
Embracing fear and learning from failures is still a big part of our brand message. However, now that we have a strong engaged community, we spend a lot of time getting to know them and identify all the different ways we can support them through our content. Our Instagram has evolved by becoming the go-to place for female entrepreneurship in Australia.
What’s your mission? How has Instagram helped you achieve it?
Our mission is to put Australia on the map as the number one destination to be a woman in business. Instagram has helped us build our brand, our community, reach new customers, corporate partners and really position ourselves as thought leaders. It has been instrumental in the growth and success of One Roof so far.
“Instagram allows us to reach a wide audience of women who can get a sense of what One Roof stands for, how we work with and support our members and the endless opportunities, events and programs we have on the go.”
Instagram allows us to reach a wide audience of women who can get a sense of what One Roof stands for, how we work with and support our members and the endless opportunities, events and programs we have on the go. It also allows us to really promote our members and event clients. This is a crucial aspect of what we do – creating a platform for women in business to be championed, seen, heard and celebrated.
What’s the biggest misconception about women in business? How do you use Instagram to combat that?
The biggest misconception is that women are not business or financially savvy. We use our Instagram page to promote and highlight women working at One Roof and in the broader community who are building successful and impressive businesses.
We are testing and proving the assumption that a space designed by women to support women is needed. And that we can design a space and community that supports women without being female-only.
How do you use Instagram to give insight into your workplace?
Instagram is an amazing platform for us to showcase what we do. We profile our members which gives people a good idea of who is working in the space what kind of community you can expect, we show elements of the decor and facilities in our space including event space, meetings rooms and co-working and we showcase our services and how we support our members.
This is predominantly done through Insta Stories where we capture our events, workshops, business support and community engagement activities. Including giving people a sense of the One Roof team, our lunch ‘n’ learn workshops, coffee on us, wine down, social gatherings such as trivia nights and karaoke nights. Showing snippets of our events and programs including accelerator program, female founder pitch night, networking events and panel events such as You Got This. We always think about not only showcasing what we do but providing value so that people who couldn’t attend can gain insight into the key insights, fave quotes and lessons learnt. We love Instagram stories as we get to show more behind the scenes. It helps create a real authentic connection with our followers
“We always think about not only showcasing what we do but providing value so that people who couldn’t attend can gain insight into the key insights, fave quotes and lessons learnt.”
Do you find Instagram to be an effective marketing tool?
Definitely. Instagram is just one of our brand touch points. We find a lot of consumers go to Instagram to do a “credit check”. Essentially to make sure we’re the right fit.
Knowing this, we use it to create a feeling. So that when our followers see or read our content we’re making sure to provide value, connection, community and support. Those are key things consumers look for in a co-working space. So, if they can experience it on our Instagram, they automatically connect with our brand.
“We use Instagram to create a feeling. So that when our followers see or read our content we’re making sure to provide value, connection, community and support. Those are key things consumers look for in a co-working space. So, if they can experience it on our Instagram, they automatically connect with our brand.”
We then also use it to cross-promote our overall business activity. Such as event promotions, blog releases, member profiles and so on. It’s almost like you are part of the One Roof community just by following us.
What challenges have you faced as a woman in your industry?
When I was working in the corporate world I created a story in my head. That because I am a woman, no matter how hard I work or how ambitious I am, I can never truly be successful. I felt that I am too short, too nice, too humble, not arrogant enough, not tough enough and not masculine enough to succeed. I carried this story with me for a long time! This is why I created One Roof – to ensure women have equal opportunity to succeed in business.
What’s your advice for other women wanting to start their own business?
I used to think successful people were born confident and never felt fear. I thought they were born with this super power. And then somewhere along my career journey I had a massive epiphany. It’s not that successful people don’t feel fear. Of course they do. We all do. It’s just that they feel the fear and do it anyway.
I think the sooner women have this same realisation and truly know that no one fully has their “shit together” – that we are all doing the best we can with the limited resources we have, that we all have to take risks, step out of our comfort zones (multiple times a day as a business owner) and sit in the feeling of imposter syndrome and inadequacy – the sooner women will have the courage to take the same risks and give things a go.
“I think the sooner women have this same realisation and truly know that no one fully has their “shit together” – the sooner women will have the courage to take the same risks and give things a go.”
I’ve also learnt along my journey that persistence counts for everything. Starting a business is hard. Pursuing your passion is hard. Taking risks is hard. Stepping out of your comfort zone is hard. The one thing that makes a person truly successful is their ability to persist and never give up. Of course there will be times when things aren’t working and where you need to pivot or change. Or even close one business and open another. But, persistence will hold you in good stead.
Underneath it all, if you truly understand your passion and motivation, this will keep you going. Particularly on the days when you just don’t want to get out of bed or when you’re absolutely ready to give up.
What’s next for you and One Roof Women?
We have big plans to expand! To set up multiple world class co-working hubs for women all around Australia and expand our ancillary services. We want to include drop in business lounges with onsite cafés, nannying services, nursing rooms, yoga & meditation studios, event spaces, meeting rooms and break out areas.
We’re looking to produce an annual impact report to measure our success, set up an investment fund for women-led startups, launch a scholarship program for women-led social enterprises. We want to expand our women’s leadership programs and networking events, as well as build an online app to complement our physical hubs and scale One Roof to women all around Australia.
Underpinning all of this is our mission to be the driving force that puts Australia on the map as the number one destination in the world to be a woman in business.