“A kid can learn, without ever being told, that some things can/will never be.”
I wrote this down and neglected to attribute the quote to anyone, so I sincerely apologize in advance to whoever I stole these words from. I wrote this down because it was the perfect summary of a point I was trying to make in an email dicussion a year ago when a customer wrote to say she was put off by the focus on women-led businesses that we were doing because she didn’t think women needed “preferential treatment”. I politely debated her, even though many of her comments tied my stomach in knots of anger and frustration. I was trying to make the point that this statement does so eloquently. I tried to point out that it takes a very special person to become something they’ve rarely, if ever, seen. Ultimately, I agreed to disagree with her and secretly hoped that something I said shifted her perspective just slightly.
All that to say not only do I wholeheartedly believe in the importance of women-led businesses existing, but I also believe in shouting about the ones we know and love and taking the time to discover new ones to support.
Why do I think women-led businesses are important? The short answer is they’re great for local communities and society at large because, well, women run their businesses differently.
We are more likely to give back and support our local communities. We give back our time, our financial support, and our resources. Women-led businesses tend to be more collaborative and build long-lasting partnerships with other businesses and the community that build up all parties involved, including the customers that interact with them.
Running their own business is often the best, and sometimes only, choice for many women to overcome the obstacles of the workplace like access to childcare and a living wage. We also tend to hire more diversely, giving these same opportunities to others.
Why do we need to shine a light on women-led businesses? Because it is still so often assumed a business is run by a man, even one called the The Bitter Housewife. Because girls and women alike need to have role models that look like them. Because people in general need to see that there a many ways to achieve success and create a business. And because being a woman creating a business or even leading a business that you didn’t create is still a very lonely place. When we talk about and share the names and stories of businesses run by women it starts to feel a little less lonely.
While I go out of my way to support women-led businesses year-round, I will continue to spend every March talking about the importance of women in business at all levels, voicing the struggles, and shouting loudly about the amazing women entrepreneurs I am so lucky to know. Honestly, I’ll do it other times of year too, but I make sure I add to the conversation every March.
And on that note, here is a short list of women-led businesses, many of which I consider friends, in the beverage space that you should check out:
Simple Goodness Sisters
Timber City Ginger Beer
Le Grand Courtage
Square One Organic Spirits
Pomp & Whimsy