“Please stop calling my business cute.”
According to survey amongst female Weebly customers, 43% of respondents said when they started their business people thought their business was just “cute” and people didn’t take them seriously.
In honor of National Women’s History Month, we’re taking a stance for all the tenacious lady entrepreneurs out there. We acknowledge the hurdles female Weebly small business owners have overcome -- and more importantly, everything they’ve achieved.
The biggest challenge cited by Weebly women starting a business in our survey? More than half said ‘doing it on their own and fully believing in themselves and their idea.’ Conversely, the majority of respondents said the most satisfying part of being a small business owner is figuring out how to turn those same challenges into opportunities.
Here’s five of our Weebly Women talking candidly about their challenges, overcoming skeptics and their advice for paving your own path as a woman entrepreneur.
Mel Rice, Mel Rice Cermanica
Unfortunately my biggest challenge has been people taking advantage of me. As a female, a Latina and a petite. My biggest challenge has been people underestimating me on every level. Even my family, not knowing my capability.
My advice would be that you really have to believe in yourself in such a way that it hurts. When you are confronted with people who doubt you - and they will all doubt you - you have to know and you have to believe in yourself so deeply. You have to be ready to stand up for yourself. You have to go into it knowing that I believe in myself. I am going to be open and adaptable and when needed I am going to stand my ground.
Trinia & Jolene, Hinterland Empire
Deciding to stick to being an authentic brand. Everytime someone says $30 dollars is a lot for a t-shirt. It happens everyday. But $30 dollars for a shirt made in the US from sustainable, natural fabrics, hand printed by a woman entrepreneur. $30 comes from somewhere. We have to defend that value all the time. Shopper could go to the mall and buy a $30 t-shirt, but they don’t know where that came from. It’s hard to sell that to people that don’t care.
Don’t cut corners. Stand by your brand and your vision. It will eventually pay off. Not every person is your target customer and that’s ok.
Hannah, Wax & Wane Candles
The main disadvantage, especially in a craft oriented business like making candles, is being taken seriously. Most people think "oh cute, Hannah makes candles" instead of believing that Wax & Wane is a legitimate business. I even have friends who seem to believe Wax & Wane is a cute hobby I spend 2 hours a week doing.
On the other side of the coin, one of my businesses main advantages is that over 90% of my customers are women. Especially now more than ever, women are more likely to support women run businesses. My candles are all handmade in small batches. We aren't competing with the candles you see in the check out line, so I think our consumer is more likely to think about where their products are coming from and who is making them. Women love seeing other women succeed, especially other "makers". I've been able to collaborate with illustrators and other women ran brands and I'm not sure those opportunities have presented themselves if I were male.
My best advice for anyone looking at getting their business off the ground is to do it! Plan and test your products but don't overthink them. Once your products are in market you'll see what's working and adapt. Everyone is so afraid to put themselves out there and be judged, and you will be judged, but it's really not that bad! People want to see you succeed! My first customers were friends, family and coworkers and their feedback and support was invaluable.
Marin Camille and Julia Zolinsky, Blackbird Underpinnings
When my partner and I started our business, we were sure that the competition would be cut-throat and we'd have to navigate an opaque industry completely on our own.
Instead, we found other women entrepreneurs at all levels to be so generous-spirited and community-oriented. Setting up informational interviews was profoundly encouraging - it was magical to find that there really is room for everyone's unique voice and the true value of sharing knowledge and lifting each other up. This kind of generosity has a butterfly effect. I've been excited to share what I've learned along the way with others who are just now starting out.
We fought to start MochiSu with a simple idea of providing artisans with dignified job opportunities and access to the global market by collaborating and designing products that women would love. MochiSu continuous to honor our Indigenous cultures, motivates local entrepreneurial spirits, & empowers women and their communities.
Our advice for women who are hesitant to start something is to take action and execute. Ideas are nothing without execution. Now is the greatest time to start a business. With the power of the internet, you have access to so much knowledge and tools to get your business out there. And, of course do it using Weebly!
Join us on Instagram all month long as we continue to dish out real talk from the Weebly Women community. If you’re in the New York area we’ll also be showcasing some amazing products created by Weebly Women at the Square pop up shop in Soho and celebrating them with networking, coffee and doughnut meet ups throughout the month of March. Learn more on our Weebly Facebook Events.