Meet Maison: A new, members-only club for women, and mothers in particular, to prioritize themselves, allowing them to focus on their personal pursuits and recharge.
We visited the serene space and chatted with Founder Ashley Wu to learn all about Maison. We got the inside scoop on the new concept club, catering to the modern mom and sophisticated woman to learn, connect, work, and relax. Ashley told us that Maison means home in French and the idea was to create a place that felt as comfortable as your best friend’s warm home where you’re relaxed and the coffee is always on. After experiencing the new club, you will want Maison to be your home away from home.
We chatted with Ashley Wu!
Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m just about to celebrate ten years in New York! I moved here straight out of graduate school in Missouri. I had always wanted to live in New York and I felt if I didn’t do then, I never would. Writing was my trade, and fashion was my secret passion, so I threw myself every opportunity that came my way that would give me some kind of exposure to the fashion world. Through the years of fashion shows, and photo shoots, I found my way to my blog, Exposed Zippers, where I focused on exposing my readers to the behind-the-scenes lives of interesting people in the fashion industry. In between my work, I got married, had my first child, Ashton and then another, little Wilhelmina.
What sparked your vision for Maison?
My second child forced me to confront a work/life balance. Working from home was no longer working with two children in the mix. But, I wanted to be around to be a part of their everyday routines. I started looking for office space on the Upper East Side, where we live, in order to be close by their school and activities so I could stay involved. Single occupancy office space was cost prohibitive in my neighborhood and sounded lonely. Co-working spaces and private clubs were everywhere…downtown. I know so many women, mostly mom friends, who were in a similar position in their lives. They had young children, and were trying to juggle careers, exploring remote job opportunities, or embark on entrepreneurial pursuits, but no one had a place to sit, to think, to work, to connect in a way that was meaningful enough to be more than something they would get to later (in their lives). Moms were really left out of the co-working conversation, if not by proximity of a space to go, then by the narrative of community, that is the life-blood of any club, that understood who they were and what their lives really look like.
How do you bring your unique vision to life at Maison?
The vision for Maison came from a truly authentic place. I created the type of club I would join if it existed. I built a team of trusted confidantes and women I admired to turn my vision into the physical place it is today.
How does being a designer, blogger, and mom influence Maison?
Maison is the culmination of all of my experiences to date. In my life, I have always used fashion as a way to define myself. My personal style is one that I have cultivated over the years and refined when I became a mom to be a bit more functional. And I used the same approach in the space, I always intended for it to be very, very beautiful, but each design decision or piece of furniture needed to have an element of function. A designer chair needed to be statement making, yet comfortable. I like to think I have a unique eye for things, and want to challenge people, my members, into trying something new, whether it’s our kombucha on tap, participate in a group mediation, or discover a new beauty brand in our retail section. I have touched every part of Maison and I think if you know me, you can see that.
Maison is a new and different type of uptown establishment. Can you fill us in on this exciting concept?
From the beginning, I wanted Maison to be agenda-free in its experience. What I mean by that is I never wanted to define what members should do in the space. We’re not just co-working, or just a social club, we’re a place where members can come together to learn, connect, work, and relax. People can interpret these activities for themselves. My goal was to provide the space to give women, and mothers in particular, to prioritize themselves, allow them to focus on their personal pursuits, and recharge.
We have moved so far into this realm of work is our culture, and it should define us, quantify us as people, and if we’re not doing something that benefits our career or our family, it’s a waste of time or too selfish to pursue. And I think this is particularly true for mothers and what’s expected of us. I’m hopeful Maison can become a place in a member’s daily routine and the benefits of regular prioritization and an opportunity to focus will be felt in our community and how we relate to each other.
Tell us how Maison will be different from other women’s clubs and co-working spaces.
One of the most obvious distinguishers will be our community. Our community will be unlike any other club or co-working space’s community because of our members. You certainly don’t have to be a mom to join Maison, but so far, our membership is mostly mothers. Our space was designed with intention, from the food to the programming and partnerships, but a club is only as special and unique as its membership.
What can members expect?
One of the most fulfilling parts of this journey so far is having women thank me for giving them Maison. I had hoped it would make an impact on their lives, but many women have approached me to tell me how Maison has changed their life, in only the few short months we’ve been open. These are women whose lives have been consumed by their children and their work with no place to prioritize any “me” time. Maison can check a lot of boxes given the needs of any particular day. Monday, a member may come by to pick up a healthful meal on their way to the office, Tuesday, a member may participate in a group meditation before taking a meeting in the library, Wednesday may be a “work from home” day and a member can get to work for the afternoon, Thursday, you may meet your friends for breakfast while a sleep expert has a talk, and Friday, Facelove might be at the club offering a 30-min complimentary massage. Membership perks range from gift delivery from The Craft Studio within a few hours, to discounts at The Surrey for hotel stays and spa, to exclusive workouts with AKT.
I think when anyone joins anything there is an expectation that they will meet new people, find a community, and gain support from like-minded people. And along the way learn something, be more in touch with one’s self because ultimately, the greatest luxury at a certain point in our lives, is time.
Can you share the membership selection process and fees?
Of course! We have two membership opportunities. We have just introduced a Summer Membership where members will have all the annual benefits of membership from Memorial Day-Labor Day for $650, this membership does not have an initiation fee. Our annual membership plans start at $275/ month. For all memberships, we have a membership committee who reviews applications.
What will members enjoy most about being at Maison together?
Hopefully the freedom to choose what you want your Maison experience to be! I have worked hard to be thoughtful about how to make it the best experience by choosing food and programming and partners that make women feel good about themselves. I don’t want anything about anyone’s Maison experience to make them feel guilty or selfish or indulgent. Everyone should have a space where they can access the luxurious necessities that every person deserves – autonomy, unity, focus – in pursuit of their full self.
What are your favorite things about Maison?
So many things! I have had so much fun curating a retail section for Maison. I love products and discovering cool, new fashion and lifestyle brands. I have the opportunity to feature my friend’s lines, like New York Stoneware, champion clean beauty brands like Megababe, and Grown Alchemist. Carrying cashmere sweater brand Lingua Franca also fulfills my wish of matching with my daughter in Room for Her sweaters that were made just for us!
What is the one thing everyone should know Maison?
That we are a community who welcomes anyone looking for room to breathe and space to focus.
Maison is currently accepting applications! Visit here to apply.
To learn all about Maison, visit thisismaison.com
Jana Beauchamp is a Manhattan writer and mom of two