Marva and Myriam Babel, two Brooklyn-based sisters who double as entrepreneurs, have come up with a unique type of membership club in their city. Their venture, Babel Loft, features a space with a living-room type of setup, along with two bar areas and DJ equipment sitting on a white marble. The DJ area is also transformed into a workspace during the daytime. At night, the same space serves as a dance floor.
Still, there is much more to see at the Babel Loft. Some of the other features of the building include a quiet room, as well as another music space, which is still under construction.
“Every place will be intentional, and that’s a work in progress,” Myriam told The New York Times in an interview. “That’s actually the beauty and fun of it.”
Marva and Myriam previously had a cocktail bar, Ode to Babel, which served as a popular spot for Black and LGBTQ+ people. Now, the sisters have opened a space that’s specially designed for the “creative professional.” Right now, the annual fee is $810, but it will increase come Nov. 1. Patrons can use the loft for professional events or co-working opportunities. Babel Loft is supported by 35 mostly Black investors.
“The confidence came from really knowing who our community is,” Marva said. “Knowing that our community will want to hold space for each other, for themselves.”
Cheraé Robinson, one of the investors of Babel Loft, said she’s noticed an increased desire for Black business ownership in recent years.
“More people are also just understanding the importance of us making those strategic decisions to spend our dollars in our community and to do that as often as possible,” Robinson told The Times. “We’re going beyond, ‘I want a Black doctor, I want a Black dentist.’ Now, ‘I want a Black acupuncturist, I want to go to a Black wine shop, I want to go to a Black-owned yoga studio.'”
Marva and Myriam said they found their inspiration at a young age when they grew up with their mother and grandmother, who taught them about the importance of self-reliance. The sisters also built a strong foundation while attending The East, a Brooklyn institution that focused on teaching Pan-Africanism.
Robinson said membership at Babel Loft has grown immensely in the past two weeks, increasing from 30 to 150 people. Marva and Myriam understand that they still have a lot of work to do, but they’re eager to take the next steps together with their supporters.
“Marva and I have no egos,” Myriam said. “We’re like, ‘OK, this is what we want to do. Let’s build.'”
Find out more about Babel Loft by visiting the site.