Nestled in one of Seattle’s trendiest neighborhoods, Knack Coworking in Belltown is the latest edition to our city’s list of places that help enhance productivity.
From the moment you walk through the doors, visitors see that Knack is unique. Co-founders and owners Mariah Lincoln and Catherine Bye set out to create a place that was intentionally functional to help people get things done, with a particular focus on women, LGBTQ+ people, and other underrepresented groups.
“The goal of our space is to extend the arc of equality in business to all by providing access to the type of practical (and impactful) services and support that those who are well-connected take for granted, but the rest of us may not even realize we need—or deserve,” they write.
Originally built in 1919, the 10,000-square-foot space, which also houses their marketing agency Knack Collective, retains its historic elements while also being a model of modernity. One can see this modern touch in the amenities they offer: from ergonomic, wellness-focused chairs that support people’s movements (and help combat neck and back pain when sedentary, a common issue with seating) to gender-inclusive bathrooms to a nursing/lactation room to onsite showers, it seems that Lincoln and Bye thought of everything.
There’s also event space, and even a room upstairs outfitted with equipment to help people produce and record their own podcasts. Like the other work rooms, it too is soundproof, combatting the cacophonous surroundings that can be distracting to people who prefer to work in more quiet surroundings. Private work areas with doors can be unlocked with an app right on your phone. And of course, there’s excellent Wi-Fi. The co-owners conducted research before opening Knack: “We talked to a lot of people about what was missing from other coworking spaces,” says Bye. “And we set out to address those elements that were lacking.”
Also forward-thinking are their conscientious partnerships: 85% of the businesses with whom they work are owned and operated by members of marginalized populations. Creating opportunity is a value that the owners espouse and are deliberate about carrying out this mission in all parts of the company. “We thought carefully about how businesses are designed today, and how they need to evolve for the future … access and inclusivity are very intentionally built into the fabric of our organization,” says Lincoln. Gender is not something they take for granted either: “Today, less than 2% of women-owned businesses surpass $1 million in annual revenue…We’re here to crush those statistics by creating a community where real progress happens and everyone supports one another like it’s their job (because it is).”
The founders chose the name ‘Knack’ because the word speaks to the process of honing in on your expertise; focusing on what you’re good at; of specialization. Knack currently offers workshops and other programs and events to assist people on their path to success. “What is it that all entrepreneurs and businesses, but especially those founded and run by underrepresented communities, need to accelerate their business success?” asks Bye. “What support do we need to provide to make an immediate impact?”
With experience working and living in different parts of the country, the duo could have opened Knack anywhere. Why Seattle? Our city’s cultural climate is part of it, but not the only reason: “[Seattle is] a hub for innovation; not just socially progressive. When you bring those together, it’s the perfect alchemy,” says Lincoln. Though Bye reveals that they would like to expand in the future to other cities, addressing different needs in each community, it is clear that they are thriving here for now.
A neon light bearing the phrase, “Ask Why not” graces a brick wall of Knack Coworking, daring and perhaps emboldening those who read it to, like its co-founders, challenge the status quo.
To learn more about their mission and membership options, visit knackcoworking.com