This week, we are featuring female fundraisers whose entrepreneurial passions were ignited by needs they saw firsthand in the world around them. Find out how they turned ardor into inventive enterprises — a children’s yoga business, hip clothing for Muslim women, philanthropic travel shoes, a new space for quilters, and an inclusive film project — and where they’re taking them next.
Check out these 5 women-led crowdfunding campaigns:
The Business: Serial entrepreneur and yoga instructor Robyn Parets launched Pretzel Kids, based in Boston, so that children could benefit from the athletic practice. Since 2005, the studio has offered classes, in-school workshops, birthday parties and more for youngsters. In 2016, Pretzel Kids expanded to offer training courses for parents, educators and other adults who want to teach yoga themselves. Now, they want to improve access to that knowledge.
The Money: Parets has 18 days remaining in her campaign, and has already exceeded her $5,000 goal. The money she raises will fund the launch of a pilot program to teach her curriculum to Boston school teachers free of charge.
The Business: Through Seek Refuge, San Francisco female founder Shazia Ijaz aims to lift up women in her community. “Our clothes are meant to empower Muslim women who practice all levels of modesty to rep their culture and religion in a fashion-forward way,” the campaign says. Beyond offering modest-yet-edgy outfits, Ijaz says Seek Refuge is committed to ethical clothing manufacturing, and will donate revenue to two Jordanian schools for Syrian refugees.
The Money: Ijaz aims to raise $20,000 through crowdfunding, and has one week left to meet or exceed that amount. The money will fund a first run of her clothing line.
The Business: Through her Arlington Heights, Ill., shoe brand, Bella Ha, Keely Solimene aims to do more than sell Italian footwear — she wants to inspire customers to see the world. Her passion for exploration was sparked while traveling to multiple international destinations to find her adopted daughter’s identical twin, from whom she had been separated at birth. Upon finding the girl in a remote village without any infrastructure, she decided to launch her globally inspired shoe line to raise customers’ awareness of the wider world. Solimene takes this commitment one step further by donating to international organizations that promote maternal and infant health.
The Money: Solimene is raising money for Bella Ha’s new Zanzibar Collection, which she aims to debut this spring. She has 23 days to reach her goal of $200,000.
The Business: Quilter’s Square has been a family-run business for generations. It was first owned by Allen and Mary Charles, and is now co-run by their daughter Chana, and their granddaughter, Kayla Weathers. The Lexington, Ky., store is also a local institution, and a frequent gathering place for area quilters. However, Weathers and her co-owners have a problem: “We are outgrowing our space and parking lot!” Now, the Quilter’s Square team needs help getting into a larger home.
The Money: Weathers is raising money for moving and remodeling expenses, store furniture and more. She has one week left to raise the $140,000 she hopes to generate.
The Business: The all-woman team behind One Million Wild Hearts is shining a light on women using creative works — and sparking conversations about a wide range of gender issues. The Oakland, Calif., group is currently working on a documentary, “There’s Room For All of Us Here,” that explores how women’s “many identities, mental health and environment affect the creation of art in the present day,” according to the campaign. “We talk to artists about relationships, politics, money and navigating the world as a creative.”
The Money: There are 23 days remaining for the team at One Million Wild Hearts to raise the $10,000 they seek. The money will be used to complete post-production and to distribute the documentary.
Want to be featured in The Story Exchange’s Crowdfunding column? Drop us a line and tell us about your campaign at firstname.lastname@example.org.