Updated: Jun 20
(archived from CDA Press January 25, 2020 by Jennifer Passaro, Staff Writer)
COEUR d’ALENE — Melinda and Delia Cadwallader have a vision. Fashionable and fierce, the mother-daughter duo plan to open The Hive, a women-centric coworking space and learning annex in downtown Coeur d’Alene this spring. They bring a dynamic energy to the emerging powerhouse of women entrepreneurs in North Idaho.
The Hive will kick off its opening year facilitating a dialogue with local businesswomen. “Fresh Spaces, New Faces” at Art Spirit Gallery on Friday, Jan. 31 from 7-9 p.m. will give a platform for entrepreneurial success stories. The event is free and open to the public. Eight speakers, from Dani Mountain and Lindsay Hyle of Lush Intimate Apparel to Jessica Mahuron of Civic Engagement Alliance, will present their business journeys. “We’re really just talking about what gave you the push to pursue something and how is it sustaining you,” Melinda Cadwallader said. “How can anyone else do that and what advice do you have for them so that we can carry this conversation and keep moving people forward?” The event will preview the essence of the Hive.
The Cadwalladers envision a gathering space, much like a beehive, where workers can get together, rest, learn new information, collaborate, and then disperse into the world, pollinating the landscape with their creativity and knowledge. “More than anything this space is a place for women to be visible,” Cadwallader said.
Both Cadwalladers have their hearts in the pulse of the community. They understand the vibrant, entrepreneurial spirit of North Idaho and they want to provide a space where business owners and freelancers, students and retirees, can share ideas, knowledge, and inspiration.
“I’m involved in the ambition of other women, but it's hard to maintain that energy unless you are surrounded by it,” Melinda Cadwallader said. “I think that is the challenge — when you have a really big makers community where women are creating, but they’re doing it out of their homes and in their living rooms. They’re doing it while they’re watching babies — which is amazing! — but then a younger generation needs to see that. There needs to be visibility.”
Melinda Cadwallader began her career as a single mother in Denver. She directed the Aveda Institute, an internationally renowned and eco-friendly vocational education institution dedicated to shaping the future of the beauty industry.
“It was the highlight of my career in the beauty industry to welcome future professionals and watch and help them transform into professionals,” she said.
She then got to encourage those professionals to teach others what they had learned. That progression of knowledge and empowerment formed the backbone for the Hive.
“The journey of just being a student … that at any time anyone can choose that for themselves, if they really want to pivot their lives,” she said. “We can all just keep going and learning and changing our paths.”
When she first relocated to North Idaho she directed a local beauty school and worked for some time at a women’s shelter before going back to school. That’s when the #metoo movement exploded and women’s coworking spaces popped up in big cities from New York to Seattle. Women wanted to inform themselves about self-defense, career advancement, sexual harassment in the workplace, and fighting for equal pay for equal work.
“We are 49th in the nation for women’s equality, so we have work to do,” she said.
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence lists financial dependence as one of the reasons women stay in abusive relationships.
“It goes back to this quote by Desmond Tutu: At some point we have to stop pulling people out of the river and we’ve got to go upstream and figure out why they’re falling in,” she said. “North Idaho spends millions of dollars every year rescuing women, rehabilitating women, but why are we falling in, why are we not developing something in ourselves that can sustain us economically, independently so that we’re not trapped?”
Cadwallader has big questions. With her daughter, she is stepping into some complex and thrilling answers.
Founding memberships at the Hive can be held for a deposit of $99. The deposit will hold a monthly membership at that rate and is all-inclusive. More information can be found at thehivecda.com.
Members will have access to coworking space, a photography corner, podcasting equipment, workshops and the visible support of other women.
For every five memberships, the Hive will donate a membership to a young woman in need.
“That way the women who can support the space, in membership, are supporting it for other women too,” Cadwallader said. “We know that that is sustainable.”
When Cadwallader speaks, Delia beams. They have a strong relationship, but they also have the buoy of a mother-daughter relationship informed by cancer. Delia was diagnosed when she was 10. Melinda had to fight for her. Their journey is not just that of a mother and daughter, but of friendship. They looked at one another one day and said, “Well, what else are we going to do together in this world?”
“It just makes sense that we’re doing this together,” Delia said.
Melinda believes the younger generation and the perspective they provide on the world are worth making space for.
“Ruth Bader Ginsberg says if not for them, then who?” Melinda said. “I’ve lived this really rich life. I have three kids. I have an amazing partner. We live in this beautiful town. What else is there to do than to create more space for our daughters to keep soaring and going farther than we did?”
The Hive’s location at Indiana and Fourth was once an auto showroom. Hence the floor-to-ceiling windows and open floor plan.
After vetting for sound bones, the building’s owner decided to help the Cadwalladers make the interior workable. The pair knows how to repurpose a space. They have been busy thrifting, collecting furniture and decor to illuminate a clean, crisp, and welcoming hub.
“We want women to be able to pursue something without going into deep debt, so why would we?” Cadwallader said. “We want to model something that is real. We need to show that it is possible. So we scaled everything back to this allowance that the building owner graciously gave us to improve the shell.”
Delia’s grandfather, her mother’s dad, was a junkman. In the 1980s he picked treasure out of other people’s trash at the dump. He opened an antique shop called Second Chance and began collecting vintage instruments.
“He believed there was a second chance for every item that was tossed out,” Melinda said. “And we feel that about people, about careers and relationships. So that’s what this space is. It’s a second chance for people.”
“We’re going to get women talking,” Delia said.