PROSPECT-LEFFERTS GARDEN – Three years ago when Jeff Lindor was looking to chop it up with other like-minded men of color he found his options were bleak. There’s always the barbershop or bar banter but he wanted something more, he thought. That’s when the idea of a collective men’s space popped into his head.
His workspace community opened its doors in February 2017. Gentlemen’s Factory is designed to enhance men of color. The two-story space is located inside another communal site, Bklyn Commons at 495 Prospect Pl. and is open 24 hours from members 21 years and older.
“There wasn’t necessarily a space that we could go to on a daily basis to share ideas and collaborate and build,” said Lindor.
The 32-year-old came to the states, from Haiti, when he was three years old with his parents and two siblings. He grew up in Coney Island and worked as a city government staffer before venturing off to entrepreneurship. Lindor tested the waters first by renting a space at Bklyn Commons. He realized shortly Pacific-Lefferts Garden was the place to jump-start his business.
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The dream space started small with seven of his closest friends. Now more than 50 members, the Gentleman’s Factory attracts anyone from college students, professionals in real estate development, attorneys and educators. There are about 30 workstations, four of which include desktops stations.
“The reason why we love such a diverse membership is that when you combine the attorney, the creative and the accountant, a lot of really good products can come out of it,” Lindor said.
Member Triston Ellis-King can attest to the networking benefits. The 32-year-old financial advisor from Crown Heights joined in March of 2017 and says many people have come to the communal space and offered advice and their expertise.
“It’s more than the network aspect, we’re leveraging each other’s talents,” he said.”It’s a central hub.”
For a quarterly fee of $225, members have access to a 24-hour workspace, weekly seminars, events and community.
Lindor also said many of their members are married and often girlfriends and spouses gift their loved one’s memberships.
Members can create their own workshops or participate in those the company offers. Lindor said he polls his members to find out what professional men of color need to enhance themselves. So far, the Gentlemen’s Factory has conducted talks ranging from fatherhood and mental health to seminars on how to transition from a 9 – 5 to entrepreneurship.
All of the content is geared towards men of color, but Lindor welcomes membership from anyone.
For those batting their eyes at the membership club “for gentlemen,” the owner said they’re always partnering with women-based organizations. In early November, the men paired up with Freedawomennyc.com to discuss relationships in the age of social media.
So much power in bringing men of color together and it helps to build the community and change the narrative. By inviting business leaders, tech founders and authors to its speaker series, the company also serves as an instructional hub.
The former advisor to New York City Corrections executives said he’s looking to expand into the tri-state area but is set on the name Gentlemen’s Factory because it’s true to its mission.
“[It’s a] space where men get sharpened, built and enhanced,” he said. So much power in bringing men of color together and it helps build the community and change the narrative. By inviting business leaders, tech founders and authors to its speaker series, the company also serves as an instructional hub.