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Viral estate sale bears (chaotic) witness to the downfall of a corporate girl-boss brand

Sonja Sharp, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Business News

Some came seeking glory. Others, a velvet couch or a La Marzocco espresso maker.

But most shoppers who flocked to the viral estate sale at the Wing in West Hollywood over the weekend were there simply to bear witness, as a brand built on the aspirations of Instagram was dismembered by the vultures of TikTok.

"I used to take meetings here," said Caroline Wimberly, 29, who spotted the sale on the popular video app. "Even if things are out of budget, it's a spectacle."

With its millennial pink office furniture and $13 "Fork the Patriarchy" grain bowl, the Wing was once a byword for women's ascendant economic power, a femme-focused WeWork whose girl-boss aesthetic and skirt-friendly climate control defined corporate feminism.

At its West Hollywood outpost — one of the company's 11 clubs — members paid upward of $250 a month for frosé on the terrazzo-checkered terrace and tête-à-têtes with Hollywood stars. The Wing promised a heady mix of sun salutations, power lunches and drop-in day care, with zippy Wi-Fi and a powder room stocked with Chanel perfume, organic tampons and Honest Co. diapers.

But the COVID-19 pandemic decimated women's professional progress, and the brand foundered amid damning allegations of discrimination, dysfunction and a toxic work culture.

 

Now, the club itself was being liquidated, its bespoke furniture, industrial kitchen equipment and high-end ephemera luring bargain hunters from across Southern California.

In a matter of seconds, the spectacle turned to blood sport.

"It's like the 'Hunger Games' out here," 32-year-old Ayrn Terry cried out as she tried in vain to extricate herself from between branded yoga mats and tongue-in-cheek athleisure.

For many of the 20- and 30-something shoppers, these talismans of corporate feminism didn't just feel cringeworthy, but myopic and willfully naive. Maybe it was easier to tear apart the evidence than to acknowledge they'd once imbued those totems with power.

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