By Anne Wilner
After being temporarily shut down due to Covid since March, The Jane Club has permanently closed its clubhouse on North Larchmont Boulevard. At the same time, however, it has also found new life as a virtual community.
The Jane Club started out as a women’s organization with both private and shared work spaces, childcare, seminars, classes and other various activities. When the Coronavirus forced its doors closed, the Jane Club took its programming online, expanded it and significantly lowered the cost (memberships now start at $50/month). Now being virtual, membership was also opened beyond Los Angeles, and it has increased by more than 40%. There are now “Janes” in over 35 states and 4 countries.
The newly minted “Connected Jane” is thriving online but with no clear reopening date for the physical building in sight, the club’s executive team made the choice to close for good. As mentioned in a story in the Hollywood Reporter earlier this week, co-founder June Diane Raphael shared that “It was a hard decision, a really painful decision. Women were not ready to come back and work in an indoor, communal setting, and they weren’t ready to have their children in that setting. I understood that.”
From a personal perspective, in May 2019, I was searching for a place to work and entertain clients and found the Jane Club. I was immediately drawn into the impeccably designed building with gorgeous outdoor lounge spaces. What impressed me more was the tribe of members and the staff, who seemed more like encouraging leaders who tried to remove any obstacles that stood in the way of us getting our work done.
I was hooked and excited that I had such an option available right in my own neighborhood. While I worked by the fireplace in the boardroom, my son enjoyed the preschool style amenities downstairs where I could go and take multiple snuggle breaks. I even attended fundraisers and events all within the walls of my “office.”
Then came March and the pandemic. The Jane Club executives quickly took the physical space online. They introduced the “Daily Jane,” a daily detailed schedule of the offered activities. Programming included meditation, children’s music and story time, workouts, cooking and breathing classes, seminars teaching us how to best support our kids and ourselves, as well as how to contribute to the community at large, namely our elected officials.
The pandemic pivot turned out to be an incredible online sanctuary for women around the world. While the goodbye to the building was emotional, the beauty of what transpired from its closure is inspiring. The Jane Club was originally started as a space to support local women, but we never expected that the community would expand all across the globe, connecting us at a time when we need it more than ever.
Anne Wilner is an event planner who lives with her family in Larchmont Village. Anne has more than fifteen years of experience in event production and management, hospitality and catering. From the moment she saw “Franck Eggelhoffer” in Father of the Bride at the age of 7, she decided she was going to be an event planner and never looked back.