Martine Resnick, Co-Founder at The Lola.
After almost 20 years of building brands for global companies, she realized the traditional corporate environment no longer fit her life. Compounded by adding the pressures of a growing family to an already busy schedule, she noticed the same feelings of frustration from her friends and peers, and she began looking for solutions.
Martine’s search led to the conclusion that women are taught to fit into a world that wasn’t built for them, and conforming to these socially accepted boxes wasn’t working. These boxes lack the freedom, inclusive culture, support systems, and personal spaces women so badly need to thrive in the workplace.
Ready to make a change, inspired by the social climate, and with the foundation of building female-forward brands across media, television, beauty, retail and interior design, she set out to create a meaningful space and community for professional women through The Lola. The name The Lola is inspired by her young daughter and the next generation of women she represents.
What You’ll Learn In This Episode
- The power of community and intentionally building your network
- To build your own personalized support system (and why)
- Group accountability and peer support can help you achieve your biggest goals
- A community that will help you feel less burned out and alone as a woman in business
- It’s not a zero-sum game how supporting other women helps all women rise
This transcript is machine transcribed by Sonix
Intro: [00:00:03] Broadcasting live from the Business RadioX Studios in Atlanta, Georgia. It’s time for Atlanta Business Radio, brought to you by on pay. Built in Atlanta on pay is the top rated payroll and HR software anywhere. Get one month free at onpay.com. Now here’s your host.
Lee Kantor: [00:00:31] Lee Kantor another episode of Atlanta Business Radio, and this is going to be a good one. Today on the show, we have Martin Resnick with The Lola. Welcome, Martin.
Martine Resnick: [00:00:42] Hey, Lee, how are you doing?
Lee Kantor: [00:00:44] I am doing well. I’m so excited to get caught up with The Lola. For those who don’t know, can you share a little bit about what you’re up to?
Martine Resnick: [00:00:53] Yeah, absolutely. So we are a women’s co-working space in Atlanta. We’re also a community and a digital community, and we’re based in our fourth ward right behind pump city market. We are we’ve been open three years. We opened right before a pandemic, which was always fun, opening any business with a physical space in a pandemic. But but yeah, we’re still here and we’re thriving. And we actually had a big event at the Lola last night bringing our members and women together.
Lee Kantor: [00:01:24] So how has the business changed? Like you mentioned, the pandemic happened and folks are kind of interacting with work and doing work and community a little differently today than they were a couple of years ago.
Martine Resnick: [00:01:38] Yeah, for sure. I mean, obviously through the pandemic, when we weren’t able to meet in-person, we pivoted everything online pretty much within a week, which was kind of crazy because we were doing three or four or five events, sometimes on a bad week or a good week, however you look at it in person. And so we moved all of that online. And I think one thing that that showed us very quickly was, is that we were piecing it together community together with Zoom, with Slack, with Eventbrite, with all these different platforms. So we quickly realized we needed a one community hub to bring everyone together. And so we launched that for a new platform with Mighty Networks, which I really love. We don’t build the software, so I think they keep it up to date, they listen to their community, they teach you how to use it and how to build community effectively in the online space. So now we can host events and programing and have conversations between members, community groups and promote all of our in-person stuff and our happenings at the space through the platform. So I would say that members now are interacting. Everyone’s obviously much more comfortable with Zoom and technology and the app on their phone, and I think that just presents a lot more opportunity for connection where you don’t have to physically be together, but you can still feel connected to your community and ask questions and get support remotely.
Martine Resnick: [00:03:06] But I will say there is still a huge amount of value in in-person connections and I think that’s shown by members very keen to come back together. And it’s funny because before the pandemic, if we’d have said speed networking, everyone would have run a mile. But we were talking to a group of our members and they said, Honestly, I just need to reconnect with people and I need to do it quickly because I’ve neglected my relationships a lot in the last couple of years. So if you can just get us connected to as many other members as possible, that would be great. So I never thought I would hear anyone say that. But obviously we do networking a little differently at the Lola and it is very much built relationships and authenticity and spending time with one another so that collaborations and partnerships come more organically. But still, I think people are really craving in-person connection right now.
Lee Kantor: [00:04:00] Yeah, we’re seeing the same thing we have. We a lot of our business is done in person as well. And especially historically, we’ve done a lot of work remotely doing broadcasts from events and tradeshows and conferences and things like that. And then through the pandemic, obviously that wasn’t happening, but now it’s starting to open up again and you feel a real sense of hunger for people to just you know, they get so excited, hugging and shaking hands and just kind of these things that we used to take for granted are now like something, you know, that they’re celebrating.
Martine Resnick: [00:04:35] Yeah. The show. And I think as well, you know, before we did most things in person and I think it’s been interesting. So things that are like learning opportunities now, like workshops, we still do those digitally because it gives more people the opportunity to join depending on busy schedules. And we can also record it and post the replay and it can be more interactive with slides and stuff like that. So some of those experiences actually lend themselves really well to a digital environment that anything that’s like social or connection or, you know, if we have like vibrant speakers and stuff, then those things obviously lend themselves more for the physical space. So it’s been interesting and fun to kind of play with thinking about which situation suits best depending on what we’re talking about.
Lee Kantor: [00:05:23] Now, your business, obviously, community and relationships are are kind. The secret sauce. Are you finding other entrepreneurs kind of leaning on community and relationships as tools to build their businesses as well?
Martine Resnick: [00:05:40] Oh, yeah, absolutely. And I would say that honestly, at the core of what we do and I think and I mean even Eileen, my co-founder and I, I feel like, especially through the pandemic community, is how we built the Lola from the start. And even more so, I feel like I’m learning from other entrepreneurs every day organically. And yeah, I think it’s I think it’s really important, apart from any important part of any kind of business growth strategy, is, is your community a network? And some communities say don’t promote yourself or sell your business inside the platform. And I and I understand why they would say that, because sometimes it can feel really spammy and people aren’t there for the right reasons. But because we know people know what they’re getting into at the Lola and they really want to be there because they truly want to be part of a supportive community. It never feels like that. So we even have like a channel in the platform where it literally says, Promote yourself, tell us what you’re doing, celebrate your wins, tell us about your new launch. So yeah, we and in some ways we have to really encourage it because I think people hold back on doing that and we’re like, no, no, please. That’s, that’s why we’re here is to help each other, support each other. And we often buy services, products, consulting advice from each other because we’re all kind of in it together. And you can’t be an expert in everything.
Lee Kantor: [00:07:12] Yeah, that’s I understand. I agree with you that, you know, they don’t a lot of platforms don’t want it to be this. Just pitch, pitch, pitch, pitch, pitch. But in most people’s lives are so busy, it’s hard to help another person without some financial compensation. Like you have to get paid in order to survive. So if everybody knows that, you know, the more you’re getting paid, obviously, the more people you can be helping. So if you can reframe selling to helping, you know, maybe it’ll help people kind of get past that. It’s almost like a mental block.
Martine Resnick: [00:07:50] Yeah. No, for sure. And actually, it’s interesting that you say that. I just came out of a workshop we did with Kate Meier, and we were talking about nurturing sales and your business. And actually and I have a true believer in this, sales is always kind of felt as a sleazy kind of thing or you don’t want to do it because you don’t want to be pushy. But actually, if you look at it more of like, how can I help solve problems and support my community organically without then you’re not directly selling, you’re solving problems for people and the problems that you would then sell with your services. So I think they get to know you through that lens and they’re like, Well, hey, this person solved all these things for me and now I want more of that. And now I’m willing to pay for their membership or their service or their product because I want more of what they’re offering.
Lee Kantor: [00:08:46] Yeah, it’s sales kind of has a bad rap, I think, and a lot of people are afraid of it. But without sales, I mean, you know, nobody eats as the saying goes, you know, somebody has to sell somebody something in order to kind of continue to be in business. I mean, that’s what this is about. Yeah.
Martine Resnick: [00:09:06] So absolutely.
Lee Kantor: [00:09:09] Now, do you have any advice for folks that are looking to maybe invest in their community and and build a network that can really serve as a support system for themselves? Is there any advice on how to do that? Or and obviously, I’m sure you can share a lot about the why you should do it because since it’s at the core of your business as well.
Martine Resnick: [00:09:34] Sure. Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I think intentionally building your support system or call it your network is really, really, really important. And I think you have to come from a place I think you have to start from a place where you start with your values and your why. Like, why does my business exist? What am I about? What are my values? What are the values of my business? And often in entrepreneurship, our personal values are somewhat attached to our business values because that’s why we start businesses in the first place. But I think when you get really clear on your why and build your goals for your business through the values, then I think then it becomes quite apparent like like what are the kind of people you want in your network who’s also who also are aligned with your values and kind of your goals and are heading in the same direction? And then what I think once you’re kind of clear on that solid foundation, then I think it’s identifying what gaps do I have? Like we’re all we all kind of have a skill set in something like my career was built on marketing and branding and so I’m really comfortable in that space. But I’ve been in corporate for 20 years before I started my own business, and there were some other areas that I was like, Hey, I don’t I mean, I’m in marketing, but I’m not a tech person. I don’t know how to code or build my own website or I certainly don’t know how to build a good one. I think we built our first one using Squarespace, but then I was like, Okay, now we’re kind of more grown up.
Martine Resnick: [00:11:10] It’s like, I need somebody that knows what they’re doing to really build this solidly so we get good SEO. So I think really thinking about like, what’s your kind of what are you really good at? Focus on that and then build your network and your community around around the things that you are not good at and learn from and who can you learn from and start from that place like you don’t even have to become that customer. People put out blog posts and free content and downloads and workbooks. Just spend time learning and listening and following people. And then when it feels like then it’s the right time or a good fit, then you can kind of consider supporting them more and buying their products. And then also I think it’s important to, you know, we have friends, we have family, we have people from our maybe our ex corporate careers. But I think the people that really understand the boat we’re in are other entrepreneurs and other like minded entrepreneurs, like the entrepreneurs at the LOLA. And the members are very kind of purpose driven. Like we all kind of really want to build businesses that we feel connected to. So it’s finding more of those people because I think it’s a self-perpetuating cycle, right? You surround yourself with smart, ambitious people who are trying to do the same thing you do, and it’s just a snowball effect. So like it helps pull you along.
Lee Kantor: [00:12:38] Now when you’re working with your members and your clients, how are you helping them kind of wring out the most value on. Service because there’s a lot of co-working spaces. I know yours is focused on women, but you’re always have to kind of push that value line. Are you is it constantly about education? Is it are you proactively helping them network with each other? What are some of the kind of the deliverables a new member can expect when they’re part of the LOLA community?
Martine Resnick: [00:13:13] Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I think it’s obviously before the pandemic, I think we were maybe 60, 40, 60% entrepreneurs, 40% corporate women. And that’s definitely shifted a little more in the direction of entrepreneurs through the pandemic. So I think it’s bringing those women together and kind of saying, okay, when they first enter the Lola, what do we first want them to do? Well, we want them to meet other members and build that community and build that network. And I think we’re getting better at this. And I think we are, in fact, overhauling our onboarding program now because we really want that first connection, that first impact to be we want you to meet other people, because that just starts a snowball of inspiration, connections, collaborations and ideas before we can even solve problems with workshops and events and programing. So the first thing we want them to do is join. We have a goals and accountability group. That’s a great place to start because everybody has goals and and it’s always hard to kind of stay true to those goals. So that’s one of the first places we want them to go to meet other people. Another program that we encourage new members to join is Cultivate Connections, which is a peer to peer mentoring program where we match members with other members who are maybe one is a couple steps ahead, maybe they’re in the same place, and then we rotate them every six weeks so that they’re meeting other new people.
Martine Resnick: [00:14:52] And then, yeah, we offer. So it’s almost like a 12 month program when you join the Lola. So we have a monthly theme each month and and attached to that monthly theme, we’ll put out articles and we’ll bring in speakers and we’ll host workshops. And that is, again, it’s an education opportunity. And often other members are speaking at those events or hosting those workshops, and we try and keep that in the community because there’s so much knowledge and so much value. And we also work with Friends of the Law as well, and other people outside because we want to make sure we’re bringing in the best people we can. But again, those environments are connections. Connection is also a goal of those. So yes, we want to share some knowledge, but then how do we bring members together to brainstorm and workshop and mastermind some of their problems together so that they can help each other? And it’s amazing. I mean, we just had one now where we were brainstorming the brand promise for the business so that you can more effectively sell your business. And four or five members were having like aha moments left, right and center because they said, Oh, when you set that, that made me think of another thing and I just changed my brand promise. And here, what do you think of this? It was kind of real time masterminding, which I always love to see.
Lee Kantor: [00:16:12] Now, is there a story you could share that maybe kind of brings the Lola to life for our listeners in terms of what is the possibilities? Is there kind of a serendipitous meeting that happened with between members that enabled one or both of them to get to a new level? Is there a story that’s rewarding or memorable to you that can kind of encapsulates the value promise of the Lola?
Martine Resnick: [00:16:40] Yeah, of course. So this was actually a story from early on that always kind of like warms my heart and I think about it. So one of our members, Amy’s APHIS, hosts a life design program and she’s actually about to kick off a new one this October. And it’s something we’ve done always. And and she basically uses design thinking to help you design the life that you that you want. And so you go through this six week program and again, you’re kind of you’re mapping out two or three or four options and then honing in over time on one so that you’re not limiting your thinking. And so through one of these programs, we had a member, Scarlett, who has a really awesome candle like handmade candle brand called Young Gentry. And she was in a transition period where she had been in business with her sister, and her sister was also a full time lawyer. So there was some transition going on with the business and they’d also been in business a few years, and so she was trying to take it to the next level and so in. The Life Design Program. They come up with Odyssey Plans, which is kind of one. So after they’ve kind of thrown all the ideas out, then they hone in on their plan and then present it. And then the group come together and kind of hack and brainstorm like with them. And I think through that process we call it Scarlet’s Sleep and she really like took leaps and bounds that could have taken her months to come up with alone. But in that one session she was able to workshop with other members and really take her where she was going to take a business next to another level, which was just awesome to see.
Lee Kantor: [00:18:29] Yeah, it’s amazing when like minded people who have a heart of service come together. Just magic can happen.
Martine Resnick: [00:18:38] Yeah, really. And it’s interesting because it doesn’t happen. I mean, as I mentioned, I spent a long time in corporate and great cultures, great communities like really great people to work with. But what I realized when I stepped out of that environment and came into the Lola when we were building the Lola community, suddenly it felt very different. The energy really shifted. Everyone was really there to help each other. The competitive kind of edge had gone and it truly was like, How can I help you? And really like, what can I do to help you and how? And that just is really magical. And I think even if you have a corporate career, I think having an environment or a space or a community network that’s outside of that is really important because you will get you don’t have to filter so much. You’re not there’s not the corporate politics that sometimes goes on. And really no one’s yeah. No one’s trying to be even if they have very similar businesses. I see those people get together and and work together and collaborate like we had two members that both had like bookkeeping, accountancy, businesses and when one was really busy they would send the other one clients and they really were offering the same services. But instead of seeing that as a negative thing, they, they just work together.
Lee Kantor: [00:20:03] Yeah. I think it’s so important today to have a community that you have are filled with people you trust, that you’re rooting for, that you’re supporting and celebrating. I think in today’s world it’s just we’re bombarded with so much and we need kind of that safe place so that we are not as stressed and we’re not getting burnt out and we don’t feel isolated. I think that that everybody needs that nowadays.
Martine Resnick: [00:20:32] Yeah. I mean, we’re we’re social. Humans are social. And I think we thrive in connection and collaboration.
Lee Kantor: [00:20:42] Well, if somebody wants to learn more about the Lola, where can they go?
Martine Resnick: [00:20:46] Yeah, if you want to go to our website, it’s the dash Lola dot com. We have some great kind of free gifts on there. You can download our guide How to build high quality connections in business, and that will put you into our welcome series. So you’ll get for about a week, you’ll get emails and you’ll learn more about us. Or if you just want to sign up for our newsletter, you can do that at the bottom of our home page.
Lee Kantor: [00:21:13] And then also for folks who are listening that may not be in the metro Atlanta area, there’s still a digital membership as well, right?
Martine Resnick: [00:21:22] That’s right. Yeah, you can if you go to the NOLA.com and click on the membership tab or forward slash memberships, you’ll see there are two membership options. We have coworking in person and then for a smaller amount you can join our digital only membership and we have monthly, quarterly and annual payment plans.
Lee Kantor: [00:21:44] Well, Martin, thank you so much for sharing your story today. You’re doing important work and we appreciate you.
Martine Resnick: [00:21:50] Thank you so much. Thanks for having me.
Lee Kantor: [00:21:52] All right. This is Lee Kantor. We’ll see you next time on the Atlanta Business Radio.
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