I’ve met a lot of inspirational women in this space of business for social good and working for the planet. I don’t think it’s a coincidence. It makes sense that this is where we would show up and spend our energy and time. So when I found the F Project, I immediately applied. Many of the best ideas out there are created by women-owned businesses and all of them deserve more attention. My co-founder (and sister) and I have been the beneficiary of amazing women mentors and co-workers who’ve made a difference in our lives. It’s important to us to continue learning from other women and to give back as we grow. Lifting each other up is work that is fun and important to do.
What is the F Project?
We are honored and proud to have Plaine Products accepted into the 2019 class of the F Project. It’s a social impact initiative with a big hypothesis: If we can leverage the collective power of female founder networks incredible things can happen. The F project is committed to building a database of consumers who support female founders; to growing every member business regardless of size; to raising the profiles and influence of women leaders; and so much more.
Not that it’s surprising, but it is different to be running a company with female founders instead of males ones. Men are taken more seriously in business, while it’s often assumed women are “just working a side hustle.” Male founded companies receive funding after their first round nearly 35% of the time. For female founders, it’s only 2% of the time. I think it has something to do with who is in the room making decisions as to how products are valued.
We’ve been told a few times that a vegan personal care company that pays to have its bottles come back for reuse isn’t innovative enough, mostly by men. Despite this feedback, we have grown every month for two years straight. We’ve been profitable for over a year and have diverted over 50,000 plastic bottles from the waste stream. We think that makes us serious and innovative.
Why Do Women Owned Businesses Matter?
Much of the world is designed by men, for themselves. For instance, this article points out that crash test dummies are designed based on the size of the average man, so the data they yield doesn’t help to make your average women safer. Not only that, women moving their seat closer to the steering wheel means they are out of “normal driving position” and thus are more likely to encounter serious injury in a collision.
People design products for their own lives. We’re a perfect example. I wanted to use less plastic in my life and wanted to make it easy for others to do the same. My sister wanted to make sure the products were safe, toxin-free and effective. Those were the priorities that mattered to us and the basis for Plaine Products.
People are often curious how and why we started Plaine Products when nothing else like it existed. As far as we know we were the first to take responsibility for our packaging, paying to have customers send back their empty bottles so we could wash and reuse them. But to us, taking responsibility for the entirety of a product, and designing it with reuse in mind, is the way to do business. Designing the website and the return process so it would work for people who are busy, but still want to leave a light foot on the planet, also made sense. That’s the sort of life we live, lots of balls in the air. It didn’t feel revolutionary, but I think that’s part of having a company founded by women.
Join Us in Supporting Women Owned Businesses
The F Project asks us to take a pledge:
- Proactively Seek Out, Buy, and Gift female-founded brands. Following the F Project on social media is a great way to find them!
- Mentor & Support founders building their women-owned businesses. I was lucky that my first job was working for an amazing woman. It had a profound effect on my life and career trajectory. I’ve always believed I could do anything if I worked hard and told the story. It’s important to both of us that other women get that opportunity and support.
- Share and Promote female founders and their brands on social networks to expand their reach, revenue, and influence. We invite you to join us in this pledge, and in the F Project movement.
Let’s support and celebrate the powerful work of women. While finding small, new companies is harder than buying the same products you’ve always purchased it can make a difference. Seek them out. If you find a great company tell your friends. Tell us too. We’ll be sharing them on our channels. Let’s work together to share the work women-owned businesses are doing to make the world a better place.