The ”anti-burnout space” on how to create the members club of tomorrow
Lindsay Hedenskog and Julia Hagnäs saw the pandemic as an opportunity to challenge the status quo and to finally acknowledge that the ”old normal” — our previous way of living — is neither healthy nor sustainable. So, they quit their top jobs and founded LAMB.
By JOHAN MAGNUSSON
July 02, 2021
How are we going to live our lives after the pandemic? Will anything change? What will change?
LAMB is a space conceived of and built during the pandemic. Founders Lindsay Hedenskog, originally from the US and a former journalist and marketing and branding consultant, and Julia Hagnäs, former real estate agent and event manager, met in early 2020 on a playdate with their kids, who became best friends at daycare.
— We’re two mothers with ambitious careers, who felt our lives were missing a few fundamental things. It was a meaningful connection with other women and the ability to make new friends, which gets so tough in your 30s and 40s. It was a chance to try new things, get creative and ”play” — something we stop doing as adults. And it was the ability — or permission — to care for ourselves in the simple ways we know are so beneficial, the duo tells. They continue:
— And when we spoke to our audience, they shouted back to us with incredible enthusiasm that their lives were missing these things too. We do not have corporate backers, we are a brand new company, we had never started a business like this, and we had a tight budget so we had to get scrappy and creative. We’re just two women with a passion for this business — and incredible partners — just crazy enough to believe that we could bring a big vision to life with the highest standards.
They call it ”the anti-burnout space” — the first member’s club and coworking space to focus on wellbeing in Stockholm.
— We offer a support system that brings the most essential elements of your life — work, play, and self-care — into one space. And it is engineered to remove the roadblocks that stop you from prioritizing your own health, wellbeing, creativity, and connection with others.
Hagnäs and Hedenskog realized how the pandemic was the opportunity to challenge the ”old normal” — our previous way of living.
— In truth, we were exhausted by the runaround of modern life — like so many others. Stressful jobs, demands as parents and partners, maintaining a social life. And in all of that trying — yet constantly failing — to prioritise ourselves. Or even find ourselves making the list at all. Our space is built for the ”new normal”. Or at least the new normal we want to see come to life.
”Instead of adhering to traditional office design principles, we embraced the warmth and comfort we enjoyed as part of our ’work from home’ lifestyles during the pandemic”
And what do you offer?
— With the most flexible membership options of any member’s club, we offer workspace, meeting rooms, podcast studio, infrared saunas, gym and workout classes, meditation rooms, personal growth workshops, and the widest variety of creative events, says Hagnäs and Hedenskog.
— Our biggest aim is to remove as many barriers as possible that we all put up about why we can’t take care of ourselves. So we integrated self-care tools that — when used consistently — have an incredible impact on mental health, wellbeing, and productivity. We have a gym where we stream workout classes, infrared saunas, and retreat rooms with daybeds where people can meditate, listen to music or take a nap in the middle of the day.
— Instead of filling the space with brand new designer furniture — widely considered a hygiene factor in coworking and member’s clubs, which creates an unimaginable amount of waste — we sourced 90% of our furniture second-hand. It is recovered, repainted or simply placed in another beautiful context and given new life.
— Instead of designing spaces for a single purpose, each room is designed to be adaptable to the needs of our community – rather than asking our community to adapt to the space. A meeting room is also a free workspace, a video studio, and a workshop hall. A yoga studio is also a room for personal growth workshops, sculpting, vegan cooking, window farming, book clubs.
— Instead of adhering to traditional office design principles, we embraced the warmth and comfort we enjoyed as part of our ”work from home” lifestyles during the pandemic. We combined the feeling of ”home” with the connection and creativity that happens in an office. We have a ”home kitchen” with a communal and social kitchen island, and oven for baking. The library is furnished like a living room; the retreat rooms have daybeds, pillows, and throws; and there are thoughtful touches like organic tampons, vegan or local beauty products, and great books to borrow.
— We have two membership types, depending on whether you need a workspace or not. Our Club membership is for those who want to be a part of the community, attend events, and use the facilities. Our Work membership is for those who need a flexible or dedicated workspace. Every membership includes a pack of credits that members can use to enjoy all of our services, rooms, and events. They simply book what they need in our app, and if they need more credits, they purchase a credit package. Instead of taking a one-size-fits-all approach, everything is designed to help each individual get what they need, when they need it. It’s why we offer credits — the choice of what to give yourself in a given moment or on a given day is up to you. And that’s empowering.
The space is 670 square meters right in the heart of Stockholm, located at what Julia and Lindsay describe as neutral ground — neither exclusive nor quirk and cool.
— It’s a location that is accessible for almost all and doesn’t say anything about status, wealth, or privilege. And that was important to us — we wanted to create the ”uncool” member’s club, where people can come as they are. Flaws and all.
In so many ways, according to Hagnäs and Hedenskog, traditional member’s clubs are all about exclusivity — excluding people who don’t fit the mold they have created, who don’t have the right connections or the right budget.
— We wanted to challenge this model: to create a member’s club that was inclusive, that almost anyone could afford to join, and where the membership criteria has everything to do with the real person — and not superficial status symbols. There are three criteria: firstly, that you’re on a personal growth journey of some kind — or want to be; secondly, that you are generous with your time, energy, and attention, and lastly, that you have a growth mindset and are curious to try new things, embrace new ideas, and meet new people.
LAMB is already open with the big official launch to be held in early September.
— We’ll celebrate our opening with a launch party, tells Hagnäs and Hedenskog, and we have a crazy event schedule coming up — with yoga, salsa dancing, sound healing, sculpting, painting, vegan cooking, macaron-making, HIIT, tarot, tapping, kombucha-making, olive oil tasting, jewelry-making, and so much more.