Betting on Black Business: Joining a New Membership Club

But the investors in Babel Loft point to signs of promise as it finds footing: Ms. Robinson said that membership had grown from about 30 people to more than 150 two weeks after a preview weekend in mid-September.

Bringing in more members will require some convincing. Kyla Kelly, a chef and former Ode to Babel regular, said she was planning on becoming a member after the preview weekend, which included a one-on-one discussion between a writer and a creative multi-hyphenate and an evening D.J. set. To make the decision, she said she had to see the space and its potential for herself.

“When people are investing into an experience, you have certain expectations,” said Ms. Kelly, 38. “It’s not like I’m just going to come and have a drink and hope that I like the vibe.”

The extent of the sisters’ ambitions slowly unveils itself in conversation. The plan to finish work on the B-side room by late November begets a goal to expand their spirits brand with help from collaborators outside New York, which begets a vision of an interconnected travel hub with links as far as Kenya.

“Marva and I have no egos,” Myriam said. “We’re like, ‘OK, this is what we want to do. Let’s build.’”

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