New Gather Cowork Space in Hawai‘i Kai Was Designed by Women for Women
Come for the lovely work space; Stay for the amazing community, business support and self-growth.
Knowing founder Michelle Carmack, I expected that the space for Gather Cowork, which recently opened in the Hawai‘i Kai Corporate Plaza (a few doors down from Roy’s) this March, would be stylish and well-done. An event planner and owner of Oak + Pine Society, a networking organization for female entrepreneurs, Carmack is no stranger to creating chic settings.
Just a few steps inside and my suspicions were quickly confirmed. The reception area, decked out with modern-meets-boho touches, includes a sweet little complimentary coffee bar and a shopping nook filled with fashions from a local vintage pop-up shop.
The warm welcome is just a teaser of what’s to come. Turn the corner, and you’ll find yourself in an expansive 1,000-square-foot room, dubbed the Gathering Space, outfitted with every sort of setup imaginable, from comfy sofas and lounge chairs to petite café tables and large community desks, including a long 3-person standing desk.
Carmack opted for neutral hues and natural materials to keep the vibe calm and cozy. “It’s a flex space, so the furniture can be arranged in several configurations,” she explains. There’s Wi-Fi, of course, and outlets galore.
Along one wall, light pours in through massive picture windows that offer views of swaying palms trees and outriggers gliding past Maunalua Bay Beach Park. On another, an arched lighting installation creates a striking backdrop for events—the room can also be rented as an event venue for up to 100 guests. Gather Cowork frequently hosts wellness and educational workshops and networking events that are open to both members and non-members.
“Our events range from lighthearted gatherings that are meant to build community, like restorative yoga classes and movie nights, to ones that are more business-focused, like digital currency classes,” Carmack says. Several, like the latter, intentionally focus on industries or area of business that have typically been male-dominated in hopes of giving women skills to excel in those arenas. “We also plan to have regular panel discussions with successful female leaders who can offer insight on how to build one’s career.” For some of the events, Gather Cowork has even offered free onsite childcare by Island Kid Sitters.
Additionally, the space boasts a 15-by-10-foot conference room that can seat 12 people and a soundproof podcast room, fully equipped with audio and camera equipment, run by Sounds Better Studio that can be rented alone or as part of a podcast services package.
It also has three individual 10-by-10-foot offices—two are home to permanent residents, including O‘ahu Lux Home Real Estate, Gather Cowork’s partner in operating the space. The third is available for members to rent by the hour.
I inquire about day passes, as much of my writing is done remotely these days. “Yes! Day passes are available and give you access to all the amenities for a full day, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.,” says Carmack. “We also offer monthly memberships with unlimited regular hours plus after-hours coworking. And we just introduced a Starter Kit for people who want to test things out, which comes with five Gather credits.” Gather credits, she explains, can be redeemed for a slew of things—guess passes, tickets to events and rental of the conference room and private office.
It’s worth noting that the plaza Gather Cowork is in has 24-hour security and is close to an HPD outpost, factors that heavily influenced Carmack’s choice of location. “That was important to me considering that most of our members are women and some would be working at night after their family dinners or once their kids went to sleep.”
Being surrounded by strong, inspiring women in business is something that’s fueled Carmack ever since she was young. A first-generation American, she watched her mom and paternal grandmother go after their dreams of self-sufficiency.
“They both came to Hawai‘i from the Philippines without any community waiting for them or knowing what was in front of them. My mom was 18 years old and started out selling jewelry—now she owns her own care home. And my grandmother was a single mother of five. She sold kukui nuts and puka shells at a kiosk at the International Market Place and was able to scale that up and become a wholesaler. She still has that business today.”
After starting Oak + Pine Society three years back, Carmack began to see how lack of representation and support, specifically female-geared support, could affect someone’s level of success. “I wanted to create a community of female entrepreneurs so that we can carry each other and empower each other and achieve those big goals. That’s how I want to make an impact.”