We are at the halfway point in our iFundWomen Campaign to raise funds for our beta-testing of custom-made womenswear. I am extremely grateful for all your support to get this far. We have raised just under 50% of our goal. Please take a moment to review the tips we have learned (just below this post) to most effectively spread the word on social media to help us get to the finish line. Your support means the world to me! Tomorrow we go to Pelzer, South Carolina to view the digital pattern adaptation work. Keep your eye out for the video in the next few days or view behind the scenes footage on Instagram.
For this week's letter I reflect on a number: 2%. With all the work with the fundraising, the testing, the social media campaigns, the event planning, it is all too easy to lose the forest through the trees. Will the $15,000 build a custom-made womenswear company? No. The point is to get the numbers to show that it works, and that there is a demand for it so we can raise the investment dollars we need to make this the awesome women’s apparel company women have diserved for a long time. Better materials, better fit, lasting quality, classic style that values our time and the environment made by a company who values the people who work for them.
And so in all the craziness, getting ready for the campaign, I came across the following statistic that I plunked down into my iFundWomen launch weekly letter a few weeks back:
In 2016, women got just 2.19% of venture capital funding—a smaller piece of the pie than in every year this past decade, with the exception of 2008 and 2012 (link to full Fortune article).
Though I had read it when I posted it, it wasn’t until last week that it really sunk in. I put 2 and 2 together: If women founders only got 2% of the venture capital pie last year, and I am a woman founder, then I can expect some amount of difficulty being a woman and getting a piece of that pie. (I know I am captain obvious here, but there are lots of things to keep track of in just one noodle at the moment.)
I further reflected on this point while giving my first press interview last week. The interviewer asks, “Wait a minute, so you’re saying it is just you doing all this?” And I answered, “Um, yeah.” Yes, I have videography and photography help, a kick-ass intern, and a fantastic set of production partners, but at the end of the day, I am the one person bringing it all together. As you might imagine, when you are bootstrapping and resources are scarce, one person (myself) wears a huge number of hats. And that kinda means that I am nuts. Yes, it is crazy to do all this. But the alternative is not doing it. Waiting around for something to happen. And that is not an option for me.
And because there are so few resources for female founders, A LOT of us are choosing to just do it, without waiting for the resources we need to be really well-supported while we take action to bring something great into the world. So I woke up the following morning last week pretty freakin angry. With so many amazing women, putting forth solutions to make the world better, when our world needs so much help, why isn’t there the funding for these women. How do we solve THIS problem?
So, as I charge forward, get my numbers, show that it works, and raise money to build the real deal for women, I am also embarking on a learning quest around raising investment dollars as a woman. I will get past the gate. And when I do so, I am going to start cutting it down with the wire cutters. Because 2% is unacceptable in 2017. Nope. Not OK. Who’s with me?
So when you buy something from your favorite female-founded company, remember how remarkable they are that they were able to build so much with so little, and imagine what our world would look like if women had a bit larger share of the investment dollar pie. Can you picture it?
Thanks again for all your support! I hope to see my local friends and supporters this Saturday, October 14th @ The Durham Hotel for our Launch Party. It's going to be great!