February 24, 2020

Tisch Center Fireside Chat: Marcela Fernandez, Selina

On February 19th, the Tisch Center hosted a Fireside Chat with Marcela Fernandez, who represents Selina. Selina is an ecosystem of platforms & destinations where global and local communities travel, meet, interact and forge new experiences. It is one of the world’s top startups serving the rapidly growing Digital Nomad Community. Marcela is the Employer Brand Ambassador of Selina.

What is your background?

After studying at three different universities, I realized that the conventional way of learning was not for me. My approach to learning was different, more alternative and less conventional. I decided to drop out and apply to different learning communities. I got introduced to Selina three years ago, and I have been with the company since then. 

How does Selina select locations for its properties? 

Beach and coastal destinations are a strong pillar of Selina, however, there are now ski, desert and mountain locations. Each location has a unique identity. Guests will notice and feel it in the colors, style and decoration. 

Selina has recently opened locations in the United States. What are challenges you have faced when entering the U.S. market? 

It has been really challenging for a startup like us. Everything has to be perfect. The U.S. has very high standards, so we have had to make sure everything was up to par before securing any deals. We first decided to ‘practice’ in Europe and we did this to convince U.S. investors that we are an experienced brand. Having our headquarters in NYC definitely has allowed for increased trust from our investors. 

Selina is focused on fostering authentic connections between locals and visitors. How do you encourage locals to come to your Chelsea location? 

We started with free yoga classes, which are very rare in New York City. We also offer spaces for local groups to use free of charge. We are really focused on raising awareness and encouraging locals to visit with their friends. We also are becoming a place for artists to display their art, and for local DJ’s to perform. 

Who would you say are Selina’s competitors? 

Co-living spaces would probably be our main competitors because they are targeting the same group of people that Selina caters to most, digital nomads. Most co-living spaces are fairly small so I think rather than competitors, we see them as allies, since we both want to disrupt the current status of what work means. Many hotels are adding co-living components now. We see this as a positive thing. 

Where do you see Selina going in the future? 

Selina is interested in growing exponentially, however we’re not desperate to grow for the sake of growing. We really strive to have a unique identity in each of our locations. Currently, we are expanding in Morocco, Spain and Southeast Asia.


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