Oliva June Poole, founder and CEO, Hey! Vina.
Times sure have changed since the 1930s. That was a time when women, regardless of race, were barely working, let alone having thoughts of running their own businesses. Fast forward almost 90 years later, women start companies at 1.5 times the average rate in the United States, with just over 9 million women-owned businesses. If there is still any doubt about “girl power” in the field of entrepreneurship, these inspiring ladies and their stories will put it to rest.
Forget storefronts and walk-in locations, here are four entrepreneurs who have established businesses online and are crushing all that the Internet has to offer.
“Women have a lot of sass. It isn’t a bad thing.” – Sapphira Martin – Chief Curator, SassBoxx.com
Sapphira Martin noticed that while the subscription box movement was booming, it was lacking vital products that women of color need for everyday life. “No women leaves the house without things like lip-gloss, a comb or lotion,” she says. “There was a need for an all-around kit.” In January 2016, the Johnson C. Smith University grad started SassBoxx.com, a subscription box service that embodies the lifestyle of a black woman. At $25 per box, boxes are shipped out each month, comprising of numerous items from 60 different small businesses.
Martin chooses to run SassBoxx through the world wide web because she says it’s low maintenance. “You don’t have to worry about much up keep plus it’s less cumbersome,” Martin says. “A website gives you control.” On top of running the online portal, the former social media producer is turning SassBoxx into a nationwide brand with SassBoxx Brunch, a six-city brunch tour highlighting women who are shining stars in their industry.
“The user experience is very important to us.” – Kathryn Petralia – Co-Founder, Kabbage
Becoming an entrepreneur can be hard when all you have is a dollar and a dream. If getting capital is an issue, head over to Kabbage.com, where cofounder Kathryn Petralia has granted loans worth over $3 billion dollars to small businesses nationwide simply by applying online. “Our customers have had the same experience of being connected to capital within 10 minutes on the site if approved,” Petralia said. “Technology and automation and real-time data is sort of the core of what we do.”
Starting her first Internet based business in 1994, the 47-year-old she says running a business through the Internet helps you reach your audience more. “I can’t even image a business not on the Internet,” Petralia said. “This is the largest way to reach a number of people and the most cost-effective and provides the best customer experience when the customer wants it. While helping small businesses achieve entrepreneurial dreams, the Kabbage team volunteers throughout the community each month through a program called Kabbage Kares.
“There was no quality press for independent musicians.” – Robin Johnson – Founder & Managing Editor, TheTakeOvah.com
After spending countless hours in the studio working on a lyrical masterpiece, it can be frustrating when your music doesn’t get the attention it deserves. Robin Johnson, founder of TheTakeOvah.com, created a platform to give a voice to the unheard. “Musicians would pay for their spots on blogs and would get a three line write up,” Johnson said. “They still have to compete with mainstream artists. It would be like they never existed.” With a funky backdrop to match, TheTakeOvah.com has become a safe haven for independent artists, from hip hop to producers, to get the exposure they deserve.
Opting out of putting together showcases for her artists, the Brooklyn College grad chooses the Internet because there are no boundaries. “The Internet is a great place to run a business because you have limitless reach,” the 27-year-old said. “You can reach your audience but you also have the space to learn the language that you are trying to reach.” In five years, Johnson sees TheTakeOvah.com being the leading source of independent artistry on the world wide web.
“I realized that it was so hard to meet new women friends.” – Oliva June Poole – Founder & CEO, Hey! Vina
Have you ever joined an online dating website to make connections outside of your love life? That’s exactly what Olivia June Poole did when she moved to an unfamiliar area. “I looked at the women’s profile on the dating site and noticed that these women are really awesome,” Poole mentioned. “These are people I would love to be friends with.” After getting mixed feedback, she traded in online dating for online friendships by creating Hey! Vina, an app that helps women form lasting #girlsquads in 158 countries.
Headquartered in San Francisco, Calif, the 31-year-old wanted the app to create more than just friendships. “You’re truly able to impact the lives of people further away than you can possibly imagine,” said Poole. “It’s a fully enabling platform where you can express your creative energy.” The “tinder for (girl) friends” is the largest women-only social app, free of charge and has been highlighted in some major publications including Elle Magazine and The Huffington Post.