The Economic Engine for Women – Masami
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The Economic Engine for Women

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MASAMI is proudly part of TheWMarketplace, the economic engine for women. It's so important to support other female founded and owned brands. We talked to Susan Gates, co-founder of TheWMarketplace about what motivates her and her co-founder, Kate Isler.

What make you decide to launch TheWMarketplace?

In the spring of 2020, we kept hearing the impact that the pandemic was having on women, and knew we had to do something to put money in women’s bank accounts.  Everyone was shopping online for everything, so starting an online marketplace for women-owned brands seemed like the perfect way to support women. Beyond the pandemic, we see TheWMarketplace as a place for women-owned businesses and service providers to grow their sales and as a “one stop shop” for consumers looking to shop their values and support women-owned businesses.

You are "older" founders (like us). Is this what you envisioned doing at this age?

I never pictured myself being laid off due to a global pandemic at the age of 53! But it is one of those “silver lining” stories as I believe TheWMarketplace is what I was meant to do with this stage of my career. Both Kate and I have deep experience in business and it seems exactly right to be using that experience to create a business that supports other women in their careers and helps put money in their pockets. Being an “older” founder means we don’t need to make those mistakes we may have made with less experience!

Why is it still so hard for female founders to get traction?

I think that a lot of the challenges are around entrenched networks and access. Established networks of investors need to be looking outside of their usual communities and seeking out women-owned businesses. Research has shown over and over that businesses with women in leadership outperform those without. It just makes business sense to be investing in these companies.

Kate Isler and Susan Gate, Founders of TheWMarketplace

What is your goal for TheWMarketplace in 2 years (5 years is too long!)?

I see TheWMarketplace becoming recognized as a truly modern and new way to shop for professional services. Today there really isn’t a good way to find legal, financial, coaching or other services, other than asking your community or doing an internet search. We are building a beautiful platform for service providers to market their expertise and for shoppers to easily find someone who meets their needs. I am really excited about this!

What are some ways women can support each other?

First and foremost, we need to have an abundance mindset, which I think is something women are particularly good at. Kate and I talk all of the time about wanting to “grow the pie” rather than just having a piece. With this mindset, we can always find room to support each other and grow each other’s businesses. I can celebrate your success and know that it contributes to the overall success of women. And I agree with Kate – ASK! Ask each other “what do you need right now? What would help your business grow?” You never know how you may be able to help.

What is the biggest thing that holds women back?

Well, I could start down the loooonnnggg list of systemic and cultural obstacles, including lack of affordable childcare, traditional family roles that have women still managing most of the household, lack of role models at the highest levels of business and government, lack of access to capital, lack of paid family leave, the threats to making decisions about our most basic healthcare… But what I do know is that when women really support one another and come together, there is nothing that can stop us. And when we an increase our economic power, we can increase our political power – and start addressing all of those systemic issues. We want to be part of creating an economy that works for EVERYONE.

What are some of your favorite female owned brands?
Every single brand on TheWMarketplace! We love the passion, ingenuity, creativity, brilliance, and just plain hard work that is behind every business that is selling there today. From custom-made formal wear to gorgeous hair care (shout out to Masami!) to coaches, designers and attorneys, these women are in the trenches every day making the hard decisions about where to spend money to grow their business, when to launch a new product, how to increase sales, how to cut costs and all of the thousands of decisions that business owners have to make.  We have profound respect for every single one and are incredibly honored that they chose TheWMarketplace as one of their strategic business partners.

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