Los Angeles is getting more and more exclusive with private clubs popping up all over the city. Each club brings a different style, taste and omnipresence. Joining the list of private membership clubs including Soho House and Spring Place, The AllBright Club is catered to women only.
The AllBright Club first opened in London’s fashionable Bloomsbury district in March of this year. This club is designed by women with women in mind with a mixture of business and social affairs.
Following the success of the London club, co-founders Anna Jones and Debbie Wosskow are bringing their first international clubhouse to West Hollywood on Melrose Place opening in 2019. Rolling in the European decor with it’s cool architectural design, this will be a California dream space.
I had the pleasure of having dinner with Anna and Debbie while they were in town. Elegant and chic describe this duo. We had a intimate conversation about their new venture in Los Angeles. I was fond of how brillant, sensible, and insightful these women are. After our conversation, I knew The Allbright Club would be a exceptional place. Their business backgrounds, Boss-like charisma, and passion for women’s rights were the perfect platform for this project.
This three-story 9,000-square-foot location designed by Brigette Romanek will feature a rooftop deck, dining space, wellness and beauty services – a women’s exclusive haven. A tailored program to working women will bridge their members together for connection, collaboration and growth. The mix of artistry and sophistication set the lifestyle to attract elites. This clubhouse will sit inside the ivy-covered walls of Melrose Place, a quiet hidden gem nestled outside the busy streets of WeHo that is home to a number of luxury brands like Chloé, Bottega Veneta, Balmain, and Oscar De La Renta.
It was a delight to find out who these fascinating and incredible women are and to hear about their new project opening in summer 2019. If you’re looking to be part of a private club that supports a community celebrating women that pushes advancements in the workplace and beyond, AllBright Club is the place for you.
How did you get started?
Anna Jones: I got my start in public relations, and very quickly moved to marketing, helping to launch Grazia in the UK. From there I was appointed the first female CEO at Hearst UK, where I helped transform the business, expanding the reach of Hearst’s magazine brands through a strategic diversification strategy, growing audiences digitally and by expanding into events, licensing and brand services.
Debbie Wosskow: I came from a family of female entrepreneurs, so my entrepreneurial journey started early at the age of 25 when I launched my first company Mantra, a marketing consultancy, which I later sold to Loewy Group in 2009. From there I co-founded Maidthorn Partners, an investment and advisory firm aimed at assisting media and tech companies around the globe. In 2011 I found Love Home Swap following a nightmare holiday, which I sold to Wyndham Destination Networks last summer.
Tell us a little bit about yourselves. Who is the mastermind behind the project?
We met on the speaking circuit in London and bonded over our shared desire to drive change for women in work. We had both witnessed first-hand the huge gender imbalance in the world of business and in the number of women in top roles. We recognized there was a need for a platform and supportive environment to help women thrive. Propelled by these ideas together we started assembling the idea for AllBright.
How long have you been in business?
AllBright launched in 2016 – our first iteration of the business was a venture capital fund to invest in female-led business, which led to investment in eight different businesses. Next, we developed the AllBright Academy – a free 10-week digital course of video modules and worksheets featuring some of the most incredible leaders in UK business today. From there it was a natural step to create a dedicated space for women to grow, learn and build community. The first AllBright Club opened in Bloomsbury, London on International Women’s Day in March 2018, and our second UK location is opening April 2019.
What are your ultimate goals for the AllBright Collective?
We have endless ambition; as well as changing the statistics around women in business, such as increasing the number of women in the boardroom and growing the amount of venture capital being invested in a female-led business. We want to build a global community for women to connect and support one another, whether by proximity or digitally across the world.
Where did the name AllBright originate from?
It is in reference and reverence of the famous Madeline AllBright quote “there is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women”.
Why was LA the choice for your first international club?
Between the birthplace of the Time’s Up movement and having deep ties to the entertainment community through some of our key partners and investors, Los Angeles was a natural next step. There are so many incredible women in the city, yet very few places exist where they can gather, learn and empower one another. We’re thrilled to bring such a space to Los Angeles.
What will this club offer women?
Three-stories of dedicated space featuring a full restaurant, bar, loads of lounge seating, beauty services from some of the city’s experts, a large rooftop space with views of the city, and of course ample programming tailored to working women. We will host everything from discussions on motherhood to scaling business to screenings, intimate dinners with top executives, and more.
What pressure came with opening the UK’s first members club for working women?
Like any new business, there is a ‘hold your breath’ moment when you bring your idea to market. With the first London Club, we knew it was good – but we didn’t know for sure how well supported we would be by amazing women cheering us on. In particular, actors like Naomie Harris and Ruth Wilson were instrumental in our story capturing the imagination of the press and influencers – and this momentum has driven the opening of our first US Club in LA in 2019.
What have you learned from your first opening of the London Club that you will take into consideration while opening the LA club?
That great things truly happen when amazing women get together in a building – day in and day out. And that a building can stand for something more than just bricks and mortar. It’s the spine of a movement – a movement that celebrates women – and we can’t wait to bring all this to LA!
How will you make the LA location different from London and appeal to the crowd here?
While our clubs in London are quite British in design, it is important to us to inject the Los Angeles personality in the space – perhaps bigger pops of color, some bolder pieces – but all staying in line with the AllBright aesthetic. That and the roof deck of course – food will be served there, as well as throughout the space, creating an environment where you truly can spend the entire day.
Can you share your plans for the menu and chef at the new LA Club?
While we can’t share all the details quite yet, we are speaking to incredible female chefs up and down the California coast. The menu – like in our London clubs – will include homages to British favorites, while also infusing fresh California fare. And of course some Matcha Lattes.
What makes AllBright different from other clubs in the LA area?
We are dedicated to creating an elegant, comfortable space for women to not only to do business but to socialize and find community. As well as making a point to be industry agnostic – welcoming women across industries and generations to join, and making sure our programming delivers on that as well. We also think it is important to not only invite men into the conversation, but have them at the table, which is why men are welcome as guests of any female member.
Have you decided on the design direction for the new LA Club?
We are beyond thrilled to be working with Brigette Romanek. She has a keen sensibility of how to mix our various worlds together, all while making the space both glamorous and comfortable at the same time.
You recently partnered with Facebook to create the AllBright Academy. Can you tell me a little more about that?
Facebook’s #Shemeansbusiness campaign in the UK was a great fit to complement what we are doing with the Academy. As we mentioned earlier, The AllBright Academy is a free 10-week digital course which sets out to arm women with the network, skills, and confidence to achieve their career ambitions. Facebook has a community of engaged women across the UK who are keen to invest in themselves making them the ideal partner to launch the Academy.
What’s your top piece of advice for women in the workplace?
It takes Grit, Graft, and Grace.
What’s your favorite part about your job?
Knowing we are making a difference. There is something quite serendipitous about AllBright, with women connecting and building their sisterhood with tangible results
What’s next for AllBright?
Beyond our two new clubs opening next year, we will continue to nurture and grow the community of AllBright women both in the UK and US through the AllBright Academy, Alumni network and Clubs. We are also developing an app for our global community to connect and support each other and AllBright Connect will launch in January 2019. Our quarterly members’ magazine, AllBright, will launch in March followed by our first book will be released in the summer.