Meet Felicia Rubinstein, Founder & Chief Collaborator of the Coworking Community – HAYVN, which opened its doors in May of 2019. Felicia worked with our Business Banking team on a PPP loan. We connected with her to learn more about her experience with our team and the importance of staying positive when starting your own business.
FCB: What is your business specialty/focus?
FR: Coworking and Flexible Office Space, located in Darien.
FCB: Why do you trust your business to First County Bank?
FR: First County Bank is always very responsive. They were especially amazing during the Covid crisis, as they helped me throughout the process of getting funding via a PPP loan.
FCB: Who is your go to Banker on our Business Banking team?
FR: Michael Yao
FCB: What were/are some of the hurdles your business experienced due to the pandemic?
FR: We are working hard to maintain existing members despite social distancing concerns, and bringing in new members who are interested in private offices. We had to update our dedicated desks with plexiglass and dedensify our common areas and private offices, in order to adapt to the “new normal.” We ramped up our marketing to support our membership recruiting efforts. We also created a virtual membership to maintain existing members and grow our subscription model. We incurred considerable expenses in May and June to make our facility a “Safe HAYVN” for our members and other visitors.
FCB: What is your Covid Comeback story or how did your business model adapt as a result of the pandemic?
FR: We are seeing some progress in recovering the revenue we lost between February and May, but we are also encountering severe headwinds. We have landed approximately 35 new members over the past 6 months, resulting in an increase in revenue. Our team had to adapt our business model to address social distancing concerns, retrain existing members on new protocols, and bring in new members who are more interested in private offices. We are also actively experimenting with digital memberships, virtual mailboxes, for profit program offerings and events, alternative family-friendly coworking packaging options, and an internship program to help members and high-school and college students in the area.
FCB: Tell us about a situation where First County Bank was able to help/assist the needs of your business.
FR: We received PPP loan funding and advice from First County Bank. Our commercial banker Michael Yao was super responsive and very helpful. I would prepare my files in the middle of the night, when I couldn’t sleep. Michael would be right there getting back to me first thing in morning. The process was very smooth and it absolutely saved my business during these unprecedented times.
FCB: What advice if any, you would offer up to women who are interested in starting their own business?
FR: Go for it – and be sure to stay positive and carry your own sunshine. Others will be attracted to your positive attitude and be encouraged to do the same.
FCB: Any hurdles that you had to overcome as a female business owner?
FR: Always – it is a balancing act – juggling family and work. You have to be really buttoned up and super prepared to be taken seriously.