In the past few years, we have seen a major upswing in the rise of women’s only workspaces. From The Wing to Quilt to The Hivery to RISE, etc. And though all of these clubs have very social aspects they are primarily focused on giving women a safe and inspirational place to work, what about women’s social clubs?
There used to only be men’s clubs for drinking whiskey, wine, and beer, but women are swiftly and significantly moving into this space. Even though women have always consumed both of these beverages there never were any clear numbers on it even though two-fifths of bourbon drinkers are women, according to Forbes. Women are also working in these industries running their own distilleries and breweries.
It is interesting that these social clubs around whiskey and beer, which have been relegated as traditionally more male drinks, are popping up but surely there are plenty of female-led social wine clubs for women? Not so much it turns out.
According to a 2017 study on wine consumer segmentation from the nonprofit Wine Council Market, women make up 59% of the total wine drinkers in the U.S. and more and more women are becoming winemakers, but female-only wine societies are few and far between and entrepreneur Joss Sackler was not happy. She wanted to go to events where women were the members and not guests of the men or where she was the lone pioneering female member in the year 2017. So she decided to fix the problem and launched LBV, a non-partisan, non-conformist and open-minded community for women to celebrate wine, food, culture & design via an ongoing series of activities, dinners, and excursions.
LBV was created in response to the current landscape of private wine societies in New York City which are predominantly male. LBV is a private social club for women with shared interests in culture, art, design, fine dining and wine. We host a series of four quarterly experiential dinners, as well as a wide range of social events throughout the year,” Sackler told Ladders.
Events have ranged from a pre-runway showroom visit to designer Prabal Gurung, workout classes, a black-tie dinner set within an art installation at the Four Seasons Restaurant, a private wine & food tasting with Michelin-Star Chef Gunter Seeger and a virtual reality screening of Emmy-Award Winning film, “Capturing Everest”, an introduction to the world’s go-to climbing guide and the incredible Lisa Thompson, the first American woman to summit K2.
“I am not sure why there has been a lack of female wine societies in NY,” Sackler said. “I know that from my own personal experience, I really enjoy having a group of women with whom I can share and enjoy wine.”
The key to networking for women
LBV will be keeping the activities strong in 2019 with a dinner honoring Will Cotton in March and a collaborative evening with CJ Hendry in May as well as more workouts, studio visits, and lectures on special topics.
“My favorite aspect of LBV dinners is being able to share in the experience with my group of girlfriends. With each event, we build our collective memory because we live through it together, at the same time,” Sackler told Ladders. “The common thread amongst all LBV members is that everyone wants to be the most supportive possible to each other, we all share the excitement and joy when one of our members succeeds at a personal endeavor. LBV is made up of rad people.”
I was lucky enough to attend the last dinner and I can say though I didn’t know anyone I felt completely comfortable going up to people and introducing myself. I made some amazing career as well as personal connections with people who I would have otherwise never met (now I know a handful of people that climbed Mt.Everest!)
A more intimate networking event like this is a setting that tends to work better for women when making career connections. According to a 2015 study by LeanIn.Org and McKinsey & Company, women have smaller networks, but deeper relationships within those networks.
The research found that women are really looking for counterparts in their network that share the same values and can also offer support in their career while men care less about a connection with the same values. Another more recent study found that men’s networking events tend to be more casual and spontaneous so women are automatically not included. A recurring formal, planned event like LBV may be the key to getting women to network more.