This App Is Empowering Young Women to Start Businesses Straight from Their Phones
Will 2018 be the year you finally start your side hustle or quit your job to follow your passion as a solopreneur? Help make your resolution happen with Bossygrl, a life-changing platform that makes it easy to start a business — with just your phone. We chatted with founder and CEO Eileen Gittins to learn more about how this amazing new app enables aspiring entrepreneurs to create and grow busting e-commerce companies in a mere matter of minutes.
Brit + Co: We’ve been big fans of your work (both as a notable founder and leader), and we’re thrilled to dish the details on your brand-new company Bossygrl. Will you explain to us what it is and who uses it?
Eileen Gittins: Bossygrl is a starter kit to help coach and mentor women to learn how to become entrepreneurs by creating and growing a real e-commerce business on their phones. With Bossygrl, women can download the app, save their logo to their camera roll, make branded products such as tote bags, phone cases, mugs, t-shirts, and posters, and have an online store live within minutes.
Bossygrl isn’t just an e-commerce platform; it’s a vehicle for entrepreneurship while being mission-driven in terms of social responsibility and giving back. We are enabling girls to make products that they wear and use every day in order to get them interested in becoming entrepreneurs and help them to generate confidence.
B+C: What inspired you to start Bossygrl? Tell us about when you first saw the opportunity for a more modern, digital platform that could easily empower entrepreneurial young women with new mobile tools and resources.
EG: A year and a half ago, I was speaking at a conference in New York City when a group of young women approached me with questions about being a female CEO in Silicon Valley. Amid many great questions, the one that broke my heart was, “Do you think my chances of being funded will be harmed if I have a 100 percent female founding team?” Sadly my answer was, “Yes.” After that, I spent the entire night looking into the numbers — it was much worse than I’d thought. It turns out that in 2016, US-based venture capitalists invested $58.2 billion in companies with all-male founding teams while all-female founding teams received just $1.46 billion. Right then and there, I decided that my mission was to help change this imbalance by creating an enormous pipeline of confident, skilled, and qualified young women who will become the next wave of founders, CEOs, and visionaries.
I knew I could take a page out of the previous company I had founded, Blurb (the self-publishing platform), to help make this happen. By creating a space where girls can design, manufacture, and ship products, one at a time, with no up-front costs for supplies or inventory, they can learn real-life business skills that will prepare them for the workforce.
B+C: What an inspiring story and brilliant idea; it’s amazing to think about being able to set up shop without having to deal with inventory and up-front costs. Is any of your personal experience directly embedded into Bossygrl’s business skills section?
EG: This is the best part! I’ve had the opportunity to capture my 25 years of entrepreneurial experience in the app itself. For example, there are 13 coaching videos in the app, including, “Things to Consider When Naming Your Business,” “Target Markets,” “Designing Products,” and “Marketing Via Social Media” — I wrote every word for each video and shared advice in what we call “BossyTips.”
It’s a real privilege to be able to capture the heart (and soul) of all the things I’ve learned during my career, hopefully for the benefit of others.
B+C: Who do you expect will be most empowered by Bossygrl?
EG: We’re focused on Gen Z girls and young women in particular, because this group can have an outsized impact on gender equality as they enter the workforce with more skill, confidence, and actual experience than ever before. These women will be the next generation of CEOs.
Remarkably, we’ve already seen two secondary markets emerge for Bossygrl. The first is established business women who want a customized swag store but may not know how to go about it or just don’t have the bandwidth to prioritize it; the second is people who have built communities via their social channels and would like to monetize (or further monetize) their efforts — Bossygrl can help them create products that their audiences will love.
While the app was developed with Gen Z in mind, it’s really open to anyone who wants to be an entrepreneur. This is more than just preparing women for the workplace — it’s about catering to their needs when they get there too.
B+C: We love the passion that shines through when you talk about Bossygrl and the young women it will empower. What do you love most about what you and the team are building?
EG: For me, it’s that I get to engage with women; for decades, I’ve been living in a world where my peers, bosses, board directors, and investors have been mostly men. Now, it’s so energizing to meet and work with heaps of smart, savvy, and supportive females. When I tell women about Bossygrl, the universal response is, ”I wish I had that when I was 15,” followed by, “What can I do to help?” It’s very gratifying.
B+C: What piece of advice do you offer aspiring female entrepreneurs?
EG: Many years ago I read the book The Creative Habit by the great dancer and choreographer Twyla Tharp. She talked about how hard it was some days to get out of bed and head over to her studio. But she knew that if she took the first step — get dressed and get in a cab — that the rest of the day would take care of itself. That ritual is what we need to know and do as entrepreneurs. Starting a company is one of the most creative things we can do. It’s an emotional roller coaster, but you’ve got to develop your own version of “getting in the cab” and show up every day.
Are you interested in starting a side hustle or your own biz? Download Bossygrl and let us know what you think on Twitter @BritandCo!
(Photos via Bossygrl, featured photo via Getty)