Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Sterling Champion and Ilana Broad, founders of The SHE Mark, located in Port Washington, NY, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
The SHE Mark is a social enterprise start-up that highlights women-led businesses using a suite of certification marks known as The SHE Marks. The SHE Marks are the most inclusive set of gender certifications in the world, verifying at least 50% representation of women and/or gender diverse individuals in varying levels of the workplace - management (SHEruns), creative (SHEmakes), and/or ownership (SHEowns).
The SHE Mark is building a global community of women-led businesses across industries and giving them a tool (our certification marks) that they can use to showcase the fact that they're women-led proudly. The use of our marks allows consumers, employees, and business partners to easily and confidently know that they're supporting, working for, and working with women in business.
Tell us about yourself
The idea for The SHE Mark stemmed from a frustrating experience trying to buy food and wine from women-owned brands for a work happy hour that ended up involving extensive time and research. As belief-driven buyers, we knew there could be an easier way to find and support women-led businesses, and The SHE Marks were born.
We were introduced to each other when we worked in the music industry. We experienced the significant impact that gender inequality in the workplace can have. Those experiences motivate us to pursue this business with passion. While our core passion for this work is rooted in our personal experiences, we recognize that those experiences are unfortunately not unique to us.
What makes us uniquely qualified, then, to build this movement to recognize & celebrate women & gender-diverse people in business is the distinctive combination of our individual work experience & complementary skill sets, our Millennial approach to life & business, & our passion and skill for finding solutions to address present problems without deference to the “traditional” way of things. We are certification mark experts on a mission to make economic gender equality an everyone issue.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
We’re really proud of ourselves for building this company from the ground up while considering our impact on our stakeholders at every step and launching the company despite the global COVID pandemic.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
It will always take longer and cost more money than you expected.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Take your time ideating in the beginning - really map out your offering, your mission, and your operations in writing before making moves. It’s really helpful later down the line when you’re balancing a minimum-viable product with back-end operations if you’ve already thought it through.
- It doesn’t have to be perfect to release it.
- Make time to reflect on your accomplishments and progress - when you spend your time working out the next thing you’re releasing, it can feel like you’re always looking for the next thing to do. Make a “to-done” list and keep track of what you’ve already accomplished, and give yourself a minute to be proud of that!
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Applying for certification is easy and affordable! Our application takes ~20 minutes to complete, and our current fee to apply is $99 per mark. If you’re interested in applying, request an application here: https://www.theshemark.com/get-she-certified.
We always love talking to feminist entrepreneurs - if you want to connect or learn more about The SHE Mark, schedule a time to chat with us here: https://calendly.com/theshemark
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email email@example.com; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
Feel inspired to start, run or grow your own subscription business? Check out subkit.com and learn how you can turn "one day" into day one.