By Meredith Knight
Sisters Beth Beck and Aimee Woolverton were each at the top of their game, Aimee as a photographer and Beth as a NASA visionary when they slammed on the breaks to come together and care for their aging mother. Little did they realize how their do-over would impact the women of Greater McKinney —and how those women would, in turn, impact them.
Once the sisters were together again, the creative sparks flew, and before long, in 2019, they’d leased space in the Cotton Mill in Downtown McKinney and launched the MillHouse Foundation, a collaborative space where women can support, encourage, and inspire one another. Then came 2020, and all bets were off. What would happen to this thriving community of women who were connecting, sharing resources, cultivating creativity, and building community when suddenly we were discouraged from being together? “Together” was their whole business model.
Fortunately, innovation is the lifeblood of the MillHouse Foundation and MillHouse McKinney, and with a healthy dose of creativity and resourcefulness, this community isn’t just surviving. It’s thriving. “From the beginning, we’ve been about women flourishing,” Beth said. “Thanks to our members, MillHouse is flourishing, too.” Every day now, women are finding their way to the Millhouse, and Beth says it’s not to see what they can get but what they can contribute.
“There’s all this new enthusiasm with new members coming to see what they can offer,” Aimee said. As a result, at a time when many businesses are dialing it back, the MillHouse is doubling its footprint.
“We’re going from 5,500 square feet to 11,000,” Beth said. “We are adding nine more private studios and two more photo studios. We still offer dedicated desks in either 8-by-8 or 8-by-10 open studios. It’s your space where you can spread out and leave your things where you want it. And we still have co-working desks which are shared by members.”
The larger digs include a total of 18 private studios, 12 open studios with dedicated desks, 10 co-working desks, six co-working living rooms, three changing rooms, two photography studios, two hair and makeup stations, a conference room, and a coffee bar.
“We’re listening to members and shifting based on what they want,” Aimee said. “Right now, women ask for private studio space. We still offer shared spaces where you can take classes, hold meetings, schedule community events, or just sink into the couch and brainstorm with other innovative women. I think working at home was novel a year ago, but people are tired of it. Our members want to be around other creative women. They crave it. And that’s what MillHouse is all about.”
The ability to shift and adapt is more important now than ever, and Aimee and Beth are committed to continuing to do just this. “We’re encouraging women to let home be home again and come create with us,” Beth said. “Let us know what you want and what you’d like to contribute.”
610 Elm Street, suite 1000
McKinney, Texas 75069