How is it that a person living in New York City can feel as if they can’t find a group of people with shared interest. I’m a creator living in Brooklyn who loves to network and have a burning interest in collaborating with people who look like me or who are also interested in creating content for people who look like me. Where can a person who shares the same excitement for meeting like-minded people go? There are various membership-based organizations in the city that seem appealing but do they offer the community feel that I’m looking for. All of these questions continued to cross my mind and I had to reach out to my mentor who shared with me the Instagram page for The Gentlemen’s Factory. I immediately went through their website which ultimately leads to me emailing the founder, Jeff Lindor to learn more about this unicorn.
The Gentlemen’s Factory is a “space where men of color can come, share ideas and build with each other” says Jeff Lindor. Now I’m sure you can see my excitement, not only was the space intended for people who shared a similar lifestyle as me but it seemed to deliver a promise of building relationships with other men that I was so eager to accomplish. Mr. Lindor started Gentlemen’s Factory because he felt there was a void in the market. He asked himself “where do I go as a husband, as a father, someone with a master’s degree who is making six figures? Where do I go to be around guys that think like me?” I completely agreed with him and found it challenging to find this physical space where all of these men congregate. There are events and meetups that are being hosted all around the city but there is not a single place that all of these men can go daily or weekly. Jeff goes on to say “The Gentlemen’s Factory is an incubator that gives men of color the blueprint to success. Whatever success that they define.”
Opening their doors over a year ago, The Gentlemen’s Factory has morphed into a shared workspace where members have access to Wifi and other essentials you would find at other co-working spaces like WeWork. But there is a difference in this space when you walk through the door on the top floor inside Brooklyn Commons. Lindor describes this difference as “[Gentlemen’s Factory] It tailors to the fabric of men of color. Where are you now? Where are you trying to go and how can we help you get there?” The events and content that are produced speak to various stages of entrepreneurs and creators.
With over 50 members, The Gentlemen’s Factory has a wide range of industries covered. There are the obvious creators who are looking for a place to create their latest content but you may be sitting next to a law enforcement officer, a professional in the healthcare industry or a gentleman who works on Wall Street. Jeff takes a holistic approach to ensuring that there is a benefit to all of his members. He says “It’s not an elitist club where we only factor in your network. We factor into your well-being. We have workshops that focus on health. One of the workshops we did was specifically on why should men have a primary physician. That goes to show you the level of detail within the lives of men that we decide to focus on.” The Gentlemen’s Factory also hosted a co-parenting workshop which I thought was interesting because “deadbeat dads” is a term that is used so easily in our community without a full understanding of the circumstances that the father may have to go through.
Jeff Lindor is not new to understanding his community and instituting change. He worked in city government in the department of corrections where he was the advisor to the executive staff helping them to reform the entire agency. With a masters in public policy and by working for the city, it helped him to learn how the city worked and it opened his eyes to mass incarceration. He has seen the state of black men and how the city of New York targets this segment of the population. As he breaks it down, “If 90 percent of the inmate population is men of color and that’s not representative of the New York City population, then you have to ask ‘Are men of color just barbaric individuals or is there a systematic approach that targets this segment of the population to keep us imbalanced?’ With these thoughts, Jeff wanted to figure out how he could help change the community but also make it profitable so that he could become an entrepreneur and create a sustainable business so that he could build upon.
It looks like Jeff Lindor was able to create that space and is offering to share it with you. We as men of color no longer have to grow in isolation. We now have a home in Brooklyn where we can not only be our brother’s keeper but also professionally develop ourselves. The Gentlemen’s Factory is located at 495 Flatbush Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11225. To learn more about The Gentlemen’s Factory or to join click here.