The name Leslie Bailey might ring a bell. She was a reporter for The Indianapolis Star from 2012 to 2016 and penned a regular column titled “The Adventuress.” She’d jump into some new sport or activity or an unusual situation and write about it. As she discusses in the latest edition of the IBJ Podcast, taking risks is in her DNA.
In 2019, Bailey and business partner Amanda Kingsbury co-founded Indy Maven, a lifestyle website and membership organization focused on providing a wide variety of content and networking resources for women. As Bailey learned more from the women who were consuming the content and pursuing networking opportunities, she realized that the next obvious move was to create a physical space that could serve that community.
So she and another partner co-founded Maven Space, which at heart is a co-working space—again, primarily intended for women—but also offers an abundance of amenities including a full gym, a podcast studio and a room for new mothers. This was a much bigger risk, which entailed digging deeply into her personal savings and getting a zero-interest credit card for charging necessary expenses.
Maven Space opened in mid-May. Bailey, its CEO, was fortunate to find a space to sublease in downtown’s historic Gibson building that already was outfitted with many of the features she wanted to offer. But the sublease is up in about two years, meaning a new set of important decisions is waiting just over the horizon.
In this week’s edition of the podcast, Bailey discusses her approach to entrepreneurism, which some would describe as building the plane while you’re trying to fly it. She readily admits that she wouldn’t necessarily advise other new entrepreneurs to take the same path. But, as she says, she believes in the idea and wasn’t interested in the time and energy needed to try to find investors when women-led businesses historically get so little attention from funders.
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Looking for another podcast to try? Check out IBJ’s The Freedom Forum with Angela B. Freeman, a monthly discussion about diversity and inclusion in central Indiana’s business community.