A creative, unique venture has the power to expose folks to places, people and experiences that were previously foreign to them. From geeky gifts and soy candles to a feminist sex shop and a mobile vegan hair salon, these five women business owners are doing just that, by making products and offering services that transport their clients — literally and figuratively — to previously under-explored “worlds.”
Check out these five crowdfunding campaigns from women-led businesses below:
The Business: When tasked with accurately describing and discussing the culture of Northern Ireland, many would be at a loss. That’s where Piece, a proposed online magazine, would come into play. The brainchild of Pulitzer Prize-winning former New York Times journalist Jenny Holland (as well as cofounders David Laxer and Brian Donnelly), Piece would “tell the stories of the makers, growers, chefs, and hosts who make [Northern Ireland] such a great place to visit, live and shop in.”
The Money: The team has set a fundraising goal of $11,146, which they are aiming to meet or exceed by May 2. The money would be used to build the site and forge relationships with local vendors; rewards include “a hand dug piece of turf” from County Tyrone in Ireland.
The Business: Vegan-friendly mobile hair salon VaVaVroom is hoping to bring natural style and a throwback experience to customers throughout the Bay Area. But before it can, the base of operations — a vintage Airstream Overlander — is in desperate need of repair after a contractor’s work left the classic in even worse condition. Owner Tina Lasker has since hired a second — far pricier — contractor to fix her baby up.
The Money: In all, Lasker needs $5,000, and has just over a month to raise the money. The funds will be used to foot the bill of the new contractor in charge of getting her vintage vehicle up and running. As she has selected the Flexible Funding option, she will receive a portion of whatever proceeds are raised, even if she falls short of the $5,000 mark.
The Business: What began as a last-ditch effort on the part of Robin Wykoff and her sister to save the family home has since turned into a successful online venture. Initially, the pair sold dolls, pillows, jewelry and more online and at local craft shows. But now, they’re looking to bring Crafty Geek Girls, which is run in Corona, Calif., from its Etsy home to topical conventions throughout the state.
The Money: By April 25, the duo hopes to raise $5,747 — all of which would go toward both bringing their wares to the “geeky” convention circuit, and keeping the store active while the sisters hit the road. Costs include vendor table fees, gas costs and product supplies.
The Business: Entrepreneur Sarah Michelson is bringing feminism and sex positivity to all — particularly those of marginalized communities — through her St. Louis sex toy store, Box. “We focus specifically on folks who are often invisible or fetishized in conversations around sex, to make sure that everyone’s needs around intimacy and sexual health can be met,” the campaign explains.
The Money: Box is setting up a brick-and-mortar location, and needs assistance with rent and utilities — Michelson is hoping to raise $10,000 to that aim in the next 43 days (though she, too, will receive some of whatever is earned through the campaign, thanks to the Flexible Funding option).
The Business: In Shreveport, La., Zombee Candle — run by Kate Rhea Hesson — has been selling handmade soy candles since 2010. Now, she and the business are ready to take things to the next level by opening up a physical location. But for Hesson, her storefront is about more than just her business; it’s also about strengthening her community. “The movement to support local businesses is slowly picking up momentum [in the Shreveport area]; people are realizing that putting money back into the community is good for us all,” the campaign says.
The Money: In the next 53 days, Hesson needs to raise $2,500, which will be used to renovate and paint the interior of the store. She has also opted for Flexible Funding, which will give her access to some of whatever is raised before the campaign concludes.
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