It's a stark fact made even more startling considering that we're currently celebrating National Women in Business Month.
It's also a fact that Vanessa Bruce and Anna Palmer couldn't get out of their minds and one that ultimately inspired them to found Dough.
Dough is a subscription service that lets you discover women-owned brands and gives you discounts on their products.
"If every person in the U.S. spent just $20 at a woman-owned business, it would drive more than $5 billion toward female-led companies each month," says Palmer. "Our mission is to make it fun and easy for shoppers to direct their wallet power to women."
Palmer and Bruce launched Dough just a few short months ago, in June of 2019 with 1,000 founding memberships and continue to grow at an inspired rate. With new features added every week there are always products to check out and businesses to become your new favorite. They've also already earned the support and participation of well-known brands such as This Bar Saves Lives by Kristen Bell and Blume by Taran and Bunny.
Vanessa and Anna are cultivating a Wallet Feminist movement anyone can get behind and we're honored to feature these two inspiring female founders in this month's Tenacity Tales.
Anna Palmer (left) and Vanessa Bruce (right): Wallet Feminists, entrepreneurs and Co-Founders of Dough.
What’s the obstacle that you’ve overcome that you’re most proud of?
Anna: When I launched my first company I didn’t have a background in tech, ecommerce or even corporate management. I would attend meetings and hear acronyms like CPA (cost per acquisition) and secretly be googling them under the table. Leading an organization when I had the least experience in the room was challenging and there were times when I was convinced that someone else should be in the CEO role. However, over time I learned that sometimes the outside perspective could be a strength. We found non-traditional ways to do things that were more efficient precisely because I didn’t know how things had always been done and so was approaching each challenge with a fresh lens.
Vanessa: I’m an emotional person and that's something I’ve been ashamed of for years. However, these past few years have taught me that my emotions can be an incredible strength when I choose to honor them instead of attempting to sweep them under the rug. For years, my clients have praised my empathetic designs but it wasn't until recently that I realized the same emotions I've been ashamed of are the ones allowing me to approach my work with empathy. Being an "emotional person" improves my ability to craft experiences and products that actually make people feel something and that's something I'm learning to celebrate.
A peek at some of the female-owned brands you can shop at a discount through Dough.
What do you know now that you wish you’d known then?
Anna: It’s okay to ask questions. For the first year, I pretended to know the answers even when I was lost because I had a misconception that being a leader meant always being the smartest person in the room. However, as I grew more comfortable in my role, any time I heard something that I wasn’t familiar with I would stop and ask for an explanation- everything from the structure of databases to the meaning of net promoter score. Dropping pretenses meant I learned faster and it allowed me to build deeper and more trusting relationships with the people on my team. It made it okay for everyone to use the words “I don’t know” or ask for help.
Vanessa: You don’t have to be an extrovert or go to large conferences to build your network! I’m very much an introvert and prefer one-on-one or small group settings. Instead of attending events that may drain my energy I make it a goal to get coffee one-on-one with someone inspiring every week to create an authentic connection. These coffee chats also usually lead to introductions to stellar humans.
What’s your best advice to other small business owners?
Anna: Each day think about the one thing that you can do to get you closer to your goal. Being a founder of a company means you have an infinite to-do list and it can seem overwhelming at times. By focusing on the most high-impact task each day, you’ll be constantly moving forward and not getting burnt out by all the other things you could be doing.
Vanessa: Be willing to get your hands dirty, surround yourself with people as passionate as your are, and most importantly, be kind and true to yourself.
Dough members are able to shop new and existing female-owned brands at a discount.New brands and products are added each week.
What’s a typical day like for you?
Anna: It’s entirely different. If it’s with the team, it’s typically in meetings. If it’s a work from home day, which we do twice a week to maximize productivity, I’m likely sending emails for company onboarding or major partnerships.
Vanessa: It’s different everyday! Anna and I often talk about each other’s superpowers, hers is partnerships and mine is definitively product + design. However, this doesn’t mean I’m wireframing and creating every hour, on the daily. In the past week I’ve worked on emailing over a hundred influencers, writing a blog post, onboarding a member of our team, event planning, and digging into financial models to name just a few. My favorite thing we do as a team is time block our days. Mondays/Wednesday’s are meeting heavy, while Tuesdays/Thursdays we work from home and create everything we discussed.
What’s next for you and Dough?
Anna: We’re going to be driving even more wallet power to women-owned businesses. If you have a product that you think we should feature, reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Vanessa: Coming up later this month we’re making it easier to support women with our wallets. We’re launching daily flash deals to shop from awe-inspiring women and the products they create. Stay tuned!
Want to learn more about Anna, Vanessa, and Dough?
Check out the Dough website