Digital Mark Honors Innovative Women for Women’s Small Business Month
October is Women’s Small Business Month. While Digital Mark works to recognize smart and creative womxn throughout the year, we also welcome any opportunity to highlight women-led endeavors. Today, we share stories of women who innovated and implemented over the last 18 months during a global pandemic.
First, a little background information.
Statistics About Entrepreneurship During the Pandemic
More than 22 million people lost their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. (source: Reuters). Women and People of Color were disproportionately impacted by the pandemic and its economic effects. COVID-19 hospitalized and killed Native Americans, African-Americans and Latinx people at higher rates (source: CDC) than white and Asian populations, and women left the workforce at higher rates than men because they primarily managed childcare when schools and daycares closed.
Historically speaking, new small business applications increase during a recession. An astounding 4.4 million people started their venture or small business in 2020 (24% more than in 2019 according to the Census Bureau). Nearly half of those applications in were submitted by minority women (source: Economic Innovation Group).
Research by Gusto found that “40% of female entrepreneurs launched their businesses as a direct result of the pandemic” and that women are 1.7 times more likely to start a business that simultaneously serves as a social venture.
Barriers to entry are low for putting your entrepreneurial dream into action because tools for starting and managing a business are more accessible than ever. However, building a business requires resilience, hard work, and consistent follow-through.
Succeeding during an economic downturn often means understanding the current and unique needs of customers, leveraging specific business models (such as direct-to-consumer when shops are closed and payment plans for cash-strapped shoppers), and iterating often.
Pandemic-Born, Women-Led Companies We Love
The following women are great examples of all of these qualities. Learn more about each of them below!
RaeShawn and LaShone Middleton, R&L Crab Co
Sisters (twins, actually) RaeShawn and LaShone Middleton lost their jobs as servers in 2020. That’s when they decided to pursue both their love of Maryland blue crab and their culinary passion by offering delicious crab (and sides) right to your door.
Michelle Youngblood, Brooklynn & Blake
From a young age, Michelle Youngblood has loved drawing, designing and making clothing. She worked professionally behind the scenes, but when she lost her job during the pandemic, she took her severance and launched a modern children’s clothing label. Knowing customers may be cash-strapped, Brooklynn & Blake even offers interest-free payment options at checkout.
Dez Marie Patterson, Dez Beauty
Dez Marie Patterson launched her 100% organic beauty brand Dez Beauty in May 2020 after losing her day job. Starting with 10 products, Dez Beauty offers vegan, sulfate-free and cruelty-free products. At 21 years old, Dez has a bright future ahead of her.
Laura Kaiser, Simply Impeccable Fudge
Laura Kaiser’s chocolate-making skills gave her much-needed breaks from the computer screen during the pandemic. After some encouragement from friends and family, Laura made her hobby a side hustle by selling her fudge online and to customers locally.
Raven Silas, Breathe Enlight Co
After she lost her job, Raven Silas turned to candle-making to tap into her creative side and cope with anxiety, depression and healing from past trauma. With her calming and inspirational Breathe Enlight candle scents, Raven aims to help other women realize their worth and embrace their light.