Last week, the women-centered dating app Bumble unveiled its first brick-and-mortar concept space in Soho known as The Hive. But it wasn’t until a cocktail reception there last night that 26-year-old Bumble CEO Whitney Wolfe had a chance to see the space IRL. “I’ve been peeking in digitally for a while now, but this is the first time I’m seeing it. We wanted it to look like an Apple store infused with your chic friend’s living room,” she said of the interior, which is coated in floor-to-ceiling honeycomb yellow.
But like the app itself, the month-long pop-up isn’t just about getting physical. It’s also a space for platonic daytime powwows and business meetings, reflecting the app’s mission to foster non-romantic connections. “We have panels in the morning with female entrepreneurs from various industries,” said Wolfe. “It’s also just a great place for people to come meet new people that they may not have even met on the app.”
This weekend, the Mercer St. location will be abuzz with speakers including co-founders of The Skimm Danielle Weisberg and Carly Zakin and a panel of editors from Cosmopolitan.com. For now, guests can register online, but according to Wolfe, Bumble users will be able to plug into The Hive on the app. “We’re slowly rolling out a card in the app that you can match with,” she said. “It will give you all of the offerings and tell you where to be and when, and who to bring, or who not to bring.”
While filtering out unwanted advances remains an important selling point for the company, Bumble’s new space addresses such issues with irreverence and humor: one wall features numerous portraits of famous Richards (e.g. Pryor, Nixon, etc.) with a disclaimer reading “No dick pics – unless your name is Richard.” But jokes aside, Wolfe is dedicated as ever to holding people accountable “There have been lots of funny ideas coming out of the concept of ‘no more, quote unquote, dick pics,’ but [in reality] it’s offensive,” Wolfe said. “In real life, at a restaurant, you wouldn’t act that way. And so if we’re not behaving this way physically, why are we doing it digitally? People lose this element of accountability online and we want to rebuild that.”