Turning sour situations sweet, that’s what Toronto’s new female co-working space Make Lemonade is all about.

It all started with a lemon. In Rachel Kelly’s case, founder of Make Lemonade, it was a job offer that fell through. Having been freelancing as a social media content maker, working in coffee shops and different offices Kelly started to realize the freedom of working from home had lost its lustre.

Rachel Kelly sitting on top of a desk.

Founder of Make Lemonade, Rachel Kelly – Photo by Cameron Bartlett

The twenty-six year old knew the precariousness that her career could entail but that didn’t lessen the blow of her new freelance contract pulling out last minute leaving her in a bitter situation unsure of where to turn.

Rachel used this experience to make something sweet out of the sour time: a company that helps other women to make their own lemonade.

In September 2017 Kelly opened Make Lemonade, a female co-working space on Adelaide Street downtown Toronto. The summery vibes throughout the penthouse welcomes female innovators to find inspiration to create anything that will make life richer.

With options to have your own desk space, share a workspace, or come by for drop in sessions Make Lemonade is useful for any woman who wants to get shit done. Interested in a one time pop in? $25 will get you an hour of motivated ingenuity. Looking for more commitment? Monthly memberships are available from $300 to $500. Whether you’re a student looking for an inclusive community to finish projects or a full time entrepreneur looking for a space to work from every week this unconventional office is “open to whoever wants to make their dream a reality.” Kelly says.

Astro-turf and lounge chairs inside a building.

Indoor-out patio at Make Lemonade – Photo by Cameron Bartlett

After working in offices with small groups of women to working in isolation from home, the Ryerson grad began realizing there was a void in the market. “There are 85-90 co-working spaces in Toronto but not many of them focus on women” she says. 

Co-working spaces are trendy open concept studios that are designed to hold meetings, work on projects, and create a shared community to network in.

As more co-working spaces opened up Kelly says she noticed none of them focused on promoting female startups in a market that tends to have a more masculine undertone. Using this as her edge she took her lemon and created a secure space for empowered women to empower women.

Self Love Supply, one of Make Lemonade’s 60 members, promotes self care, body positivity and empowerment through their blog and clothing line.

The founders, female duo Rachel DaCosta and Varhini Kanishkan say that having a female co-working space in Toronto is important because in history “it has always been the cis straight white man at the top and to some people that image still exists in their head.” The more women entrepreneurs that make their presence heard and voice their passions the sooner that image will change DaCosta and Kanishkan say.

They also say that women have a leg up in entrepreneurship because of their compassion. “Not to say men don’t have compassion, but the experiences of a woman are unique.” Using Make Lemonade as a work space and to hold Self Care Sunday events where they advocate self love to young women, Self Love Supply proves how compassion makes them successful entrepreneurs.

Individual rooms with chairs.

Private rooms at Make Lemonade – Photo by Cameron Bartlett

Make Lemonade’s space can spark productivity in anyone with the vibrant pink and yellow walls, murals of motivational quotes like

she believes she can, so she does

and private meetings rooms to make calls without interruption. Kelly encourages young women to work alongside each other because she says “people work better when they’re around other working people.”

And when being a bad ass woman gets too tough there’s an indoor patio with astro-turf and lawn chairs to kick your feet up and relax. You can also connect with ladies over tea and coffee in the kitchen and gain creative ideas through the discussion panels, self love talks, meditation, and intro classes to how to discover your own path.

“The more women in businesses and startups the better!” Rachel and Varhini say. The world is experiencing a transition in entrepreneurship and it’s just at the beginning.

Whether it’s snuggling up with a mug of hot tea, making important calls, networking with other like minded innovators, or lounging on the patio, making lemonade can be for anyone who is willing to take their situation and create something sweeter. And that’s not just for full-time business owners. Kelly says she seen many students come use her open concept space to work on assignments, join in discussion panels, and help make life a little richer.

No matter who you are or how old you are, Rachel Kelly proves that any woman can do what she loves and create something powerful out of a negative situation. “I want to watch businesses evolve and watch other people make their own lemonade” Kelly says. 

For more information about Make Lemonade: https://www.makelemonade.ca/