Customer Stories

Building an Engaged Community of Women with Salon22

Learn how the Salon22 leadership team is building a community of empowered women with Optix
Salon22 Founders and Customer Story of a Coworking Space for Women


150+ members in-app
4,000+ messages sent
500+ engagements
“Optix really stood out to us, not only because it provided the different elements that we were looking for, but I really liked the different people that we were engaging with." Mariska Morse, Co-founder at Salon22
Coworking for women

As an advocate for gender equity, Mariska Morse has spent her career working at the intersection of women and business. Now she, along with her three co-founders Christa Talbott, Fay Kimbrell, and Fresh Johnson, are working to empower women in their community with Salon22.

Salon22 is a social and professional women’s club located in New Orleans, Louisiana. Founded by four powerhouse professional women, it serves as a safe space for women to gather, meet other like-minded individuals, and invest in themselves, personally and professionally.

The space is stunning, the programming is thoughtfully designed, and the commitment to diversity and self-improvement is inspiring change throughout their home of New Orleans.

Salon22 is a community first and a coworking space second. The team required a unique approach to technology to bring their vision of a community-powered women’s space to life. Here is how Mariska and her incredible team of co-founders are leveraging Optix in their coworking and social club to build a community of empowered women.

“We want the members of Salon22 to connect on a personal level and meet other like-minded women from across the city that they wouldn't normally have met otherwise. We really see it as a gathering place, not just for getting your work done, but as a place to meet other amazing women and connect and support each other.”

The challenge: Manual processes hindering growth

Many coworking space founders that are new to the industry start managing their space with pen and paper, Excel spreadsheets, and other manual processes. When the organization begins to scale, these processes quickly fall apart.

Mariska recalls trying to manage the work of her and her three co-founders using some combination of Excel, Microsoft Office, Google Sheets and Google Drive. 

They tracked prospective members in a spreadsheet, with some members of the leadership team preferring Excel while others chose Google Sheets. They lacked a single source of truth, suffered from inconsistencies, and were vulnerable to human error. The process was, as Mariska described it, “a hot mess.”

What Salon22 was looking for in a technology partner

The Salon22 team knew that if they were going to grow their business, they needed to operationalize their processes with technology.

There were a few key elements that were important to Mariska and the Salon22 team when it came to finding the right technology for their space.

One, they wanted something that would provide a positive member experience. They needed a tool that was beautiful on the outside and powerful on the inside to provide a good experience to their members.

Two, they wanted a one-stop-shop for all of their data. Any member of their founding team needed to be able to go into the platform and quickly find the information that they needed.

Three, they needed something that would support their business model and enable them to sell multi-tiered memberships within a single platform.

And finally, they wanted a platform that would help them build community. After all, coworking is just an element of what they do. Their real mission at Salon22 is to cultivate a thriving community of powerful women from all different walks of life, and they wanted technology to enable this mission.

“The kind of platform that Salon22 was looking for when we were thinking about how to set up and operationalize our business was technology that would, first and foremost, provide a positive and user-friendly membership experience.”
Salon22 Engaging its Community for Women

Evaluating technology and why they chose Optix

Mariska and the Salon22 team were committed in their journey for the right partner. They did their homework, considering at least half a dozen providers, from traditional coworking software solutions like Nexudus and Cobot to less traditional platforms like WildApricot and PeopleVine.

Optix stood out not only because it had all of the elements they were looking for, but the customer service was unmatched, offering white-glove onboarding and ongoing customer support throughout their Optix journey.

The exceptional customer service and partnership approach that Optix provides meant Mariska would be partnering with a team that would help them learn about the industry, engage their members, and grow their business over time. This was what really placed Optix above the rest.

“Optix really stood out to us, not only because it provided the different elements that we were looking for, but I really liked the different people that we were engaging with. To me, customer service makes a huge difference.”

How the Salon22 team is using Optix

Since starting with Optix in February 2022, the Salon22 team has built an exceptional branded experience while serving their incredibly diverse community of women. Here is how they are using Optix to get it all done.

Driving event attendance and engaging members with Events 

One of the initiatives that Mariska and the Salon22 team have launched to help cultivate a community and build connections between members is well crafted and curated events.

These events are set up in Eventbrite and showcased on the homepage of their White-labeled App. With this set-up, members can easily see upcoming events happening in the space every time they open their phone.

Everyone in the community, including members, are invited to showcase their events in the app, helping to drive attendance and awareness of what’s happening in the space.

Cultivating community with the Community Feed

Not only does the Salon22 team use the Community Feed to share important announcements about the space, they also encourage members to use the feed to introduce themselves, share upcoming events and build connections.  

As a result, their Community Feed is colorful and bright, showcasing photos of member events and entrepreneurship feats. Members are now conditioned to know that this is a place they can go to find information and engage with other community members.

Encouraging connections via the Directory and Messaging

Mariska and the Salon22 team have mapped out their member onboarding flow perfectly. When members sign up for the space and download the app, they’re asked a series of questions about who they are and what they do. Answers to some of these questions are then added to their public member profile in Optix.

Other members can search these public profiles in the Directory, filtering by specific terms, like “Marketing” or “Business Owner” to find exactly who or what they’re looking for. Connections can blossom fluidly through these easy search and filter systems.

In turn, the Salon22 team also has access to a number of important data points about their members to help them create a better, more personalized experience for their members.

Mariska and the team also encourages members to communicate with one another via Messaging. In just 6 months, their community has sent almost 4,000 messages in Optix!

“The key features are being able to connect with the space, sign up for events, and then most importantly, connecting with other members, because that's really what our business is about - building community, meeting other like-minded women from across the city, and really getting outside of your bubble and feeling that kind of diversity and inclusivity.”
Female Founded Salon22 Looking Ahead and Celebrating Coworking for Women

Looking ahead with Salon22

Now that Salon22 is up and running, the next focus of Mariska and the team is on growth. Growth takes on a different meaning when you’re a social impact business – the more they’re able to grow their business, the bigger of an impact they’ll have on their community.

We are so proud of Salon22 and their incredible space. We look forward to continuing to empower them to evolve and grow their community of incredible women!

“We hope that the business will only grow because the more that it grows, the more that we'll make a difference. Thank you to Optix for your partnership in helping us get up and running.”