I recently read a shocking statistic in Forbes magazine that only 17% of startups in the US have a female founder. And 3% of all venture capital is going to female-led companies. Honestly? WTF. This is why I couldn't be more excited to be collaborating with Uber and Girlboss in anticipation of the upcoming Girlboss Rally in New York, an empowering conference to help women pursue their careers, side hustles and businesses seriously. The Girlboss Rally is also doing something a little extra and exciting this year to break barriers and help reduce the ratio in funding between male and female-led businesses. Together with Girlboss, they've created Uber Pitch, a new program with opportunities to award funding and mentorship to budding entrepreneurs, to make their dreams and ambitions a reality. You can learn more about it here. I can't wait until November, when we find out who the finalists of this program are. In the meantime, I've reached out to a few of my favorite girlbosses to share their real stories and unfiltered experiences. As a self proclaimed girlboss, I know that starting a business is challenging, scary and met with so many hardships and obstacles that most people from the outside, looking in, don't see.
Sherri McMullen began her experience in retail as a buyer for Neiman Marcus in Dallas, thanks to her personal love of fashion and curiosity about the industry. She eventually moved to San Francisco to help build the Pottery Barn Kids brand by launching a string of retail stores throughout the country. Her impressive background gave her the necessary tools and experience to launch her own business.
There was a defining moment when Sherri first opened McMullen in 2007. She couldn't find mannequins of color. After an unsuccessful search, Sherri had her mannequins specially painted in shades from pale tan to deep brown. This was the first step in making women of all colors feel welcome in her own store. Since then, Sherri been promoting positivity and female empowerment with her meticulously curated collection of clothing and accessories from mostly female designers - of all colors.
McMullen just recently celebrated its 10 year anniversary, a milestone something Sherri is deservingly proud of, especially given the obstacles she's had to overcome in this day and age. The store also recently relocated to an impressively bigger and beautifully designed space, in Oakland's Uptown neighborhood. Big risks but even bigger rewards. A true trailblazer and girlboss indeed . . .
Alex was at the height of her burgeoning blogging career when she received a message from a 14 year old girl that changed the course of her path indefinitely. The young girl complimented Alex's "perfect legs" and expressed how she wished she could have Alex's life. The realization that her online persona was not a clear reflection of real life shook her. She immediately took a break from blogging to pursue a wellness journey during, what she calls, her "20 year old life crisis". Turning to women's circles to force her own vulnerability allowed her to feel empowered to share her story and opened her up to the real meaning of wellness, outside of its consumerism context. In her extensive readings and studies, Alex discovered that in certain ancient tribes, women would gather in a tent during their menstrual cycles, on a monthly new moon, to create a sacred space where they would tune into themselves and each other. Men were tasked to stand outside to protect these sacred spaces. Thus, On Our Moon, a digital tent, was born.
Since the launch of On Our Moon 3 years ago, several personal hardships, pains and tragedies have peppered her entrepreneurial journey. A punctuation? yes. A distraction? No. They've only made Alex stronger, more empowered to continue to inspire other women on their constantly-evolving internal journey. Life can be hard, messy and uncomfortable . . . and she wants to connect on it all by way of spirit, mind, emotion and body.
This is also why she recently launched the period candle. A conscious conversation starter - a reminder to check in and tune into a woman's cycle and overall health. It's a reminder to slow down and listen.
Alexandra Bigley & Danielle Moore
Alexandra and Danielle are the co-founders behind Bright Side Collective, a new women's group in that gathers to collaborate, create and celebrate community. By day, Alexandra is a seasoned content and brand strategist and Danielle, an uber talented art director.
Bright Side Collective was birthed out of a need for social connection and work prospects for women like themselves: creative, entrepreneurial and collaborative. So the two friends launched their big idea in February of 2018 with a small networking event without any expectations besides their own burning desire to cultivate a diverse, purposeful, and accessible group. More than 150 women showed up that night and immediately, they knew they were onto something.
In a time where women-only co-working and gathering spaces are becoming a hot trend, Alexandra and Danielle have been able to find their own niche - focusing on the needs of their local community and make inclusivity a top priority. Bright Side Collective events, that cover topics ranging from running small businesses to navigating the midterm elections to simply making new friends in the digital age, are anything but exclusive - tickets are affordable and sometimes even free.
This powerful girlboss duo is only 8 months into their new business venture but they're already making huge strides and I can only imagine what the future holds for them.
photography and video by Andrea Posadas. this post was created in partnership with Uber, all opinions are my own.