Working mums Erin Richards and Kirstin Boyd have created the working space they've always wanted, one with an inviting and professional setting for a fledgling business, and fully licensed childcare.
'Women are starting businesses at almost double the rate of men, often exactly as I did: part-time at first whilst juggling child-rearing," says Richards. "And yet, that very same issue [of balancing work and a young family] is often the biggest barrier to women making a success of their business."
Richards and Boyd have put in $350,000 to start up Happy HubBub, which is set to open on February 1 in a building that used to house the vicarage behind Jika Jika Anglican church in Preston.
Finding the target market
Richards says after having her second child she realised she couldn't afford to go back to her part-time job as an editor and fund two children in childcare, so started her own editing business.
She soon discovered how difficult it was to get work done at home while caring for children.
"Literally I am the target market [for Happy HubBub]," she says.
"I'm part of an online Facebook mums group and a common recurring theme was women trying to get work done at home with their kids. One woman said 'I just wish I could go to a cafe and get my work done and look out the window and see my children happily playing and being looked after by qualified child carer'. I thought straight away, there is a business there."
Three-and-a-half years later Happy HubBub is almost ready to open, with Richards and Boyd using a crowdfunding campaign through Pozible to sign up members and raise awareness.
Happy HubBub can be used by members on a casual basis for a $30 monthly fee and a $65 day pass, which includes four hours of childcare. There are cheaper rates available for regular members.
Richards says the response to the co-working childcare centre has been "brilliant".
"Aside from the on-site childcare, the thing that most people loved about the idea was the sense of community and support of parents working together. Most people think it is such a simple idea and people are surprised there aren't places like this already," she says.
While Mummydesking opened in the Melbourne suburb of Kensington last year, it is only run for two sessions a week and Bubs and Boardrooms in Sydney provides a creche rather than qualified childcare.
Some interest from dads
Happy HubBub will also present an alternative to the majority of co-working spaces attracting more males than females.
"We've had some interest from dads but it's a very low percentage at the moment," Richards says. "To be fair, a lot of our advertising has been focused on women so far."
"[Male domination] is something I'm aware of in terms of the statistics on co-working spaces across the board, so I'm excited about creating something that is predominantly a female space."
Sarah Pilling, co-owner of business consulting firm Bramble and Briar, has signed up as one of Happy HubBub's founding members.
Pilling and her business partner both have small children and tend to work for clients remotely but if they need to work on projects together they are stuck with meeting at each other's houses or the park because inevitably one of the pair have a child in tow.
"Because we pick and choose our own work hours it's hard to have childcare at the same time," she says. "We are hoping it will be a great place to get out and have a nice workspace because it can be quite lonely working from home. It will also save time, as you can drop the kids off and start working straight away rather than dropping them off at childcare and then going into the city to a co-working space".
Pilling says another attraction of Happy HubBub is the more family-friendly hours of the co-working space.
"I've used co-working spaces before and while it's great to get out and about, you lose so much time commuting to them. Nobody is there at 9am and then a lot of the functions are on a Friday night," she says.
"I can't wait until [Happy HubBub] kicks off."