Celebrating Female Founders Day with the Sisters Behind Pappy & Company
While it is certainly an honor and very exciting to be celebrating Female Founder’s Day during Women’s History Month, it wasn’t something we ever sought out to do or even factored into thought as we were building our business, literally, in our basement. We had an idea and a passion and we've been fortunate to be surrounded by a support system from day one.
Now, as we near our 10th Anniversary, we can not only reflect on what it actually means to be a female founded company, but to celebrate it! We know we didn’t get here alone and we know we don’t stand here alone. We have an incredible team, that just so happens to be majority female, and we are led daily by examples, both professionally and personally on what it means to be a female leader.
On Role Models:
When posed with the question of who are our role models are, both professionally and personally, it is not a surprise that we automatically and unanimously answered, our mom. She has an incredible gift for making people feel welcome and comfortable in her presence. She is genuinely interested in others and that comes across so naturally when you are with her. She makes whoever she is talking to feel like the only person in the room! She never forgoes an opportunity to do something thoughtful for someone, regardless of how well she may or may not know them, and she is incredibly supportive of everyone in her life.
On Challenges and Benefits of Being Female Founders:
It has certainly been interesting to be female founders during the time when that has become an actual topic of conversation. Overall, the awareness, appreciation and emphasis on women's contributions to a variety of industries is obviously long overdue, and we are proud to be building a business during a time that this spotlight is finally shining. More women are emerging as executives, opportunities are growing, and of course we have our first female Vice President! While we feel fortunate that we have not personally encountered massive hurdles in life or business as women, we recognize that is not always the case for everyone and we can only hope that by being a part of the conversation that opportunities will continue to grow for us all.
On what it means to be a Female Led, Female Founded and Female Run company:
Again, while we never actively thought about being female founders, taking this moment to actually stop and think about it is very cool and empowering. Being the first women in our family to be actively involved in this industry means we have a chance to bring innovation and a new perspective to the table. We love being able to show our children through example what it means to not just work hard, but to enjoy working hard and what we can accomplish with team work and passion. While overall we sort of cringe at the word boss (and certainly don’t use it to describe ourselves or our business structure), it is interesting to see how this concept resonates with our children who are fascinated by the concept of being "the boss." So sharing this example of leadership to the next generation has been really meaningful and impactful, especially for our daughters who are growing up only knowing a world with strong female representation. We also love that we are continuing our family legacy in a way that truly honors it while allowing us to do it in our own way.
On what perspective female founders bring:
In our experience women tend to be natural leaders, effective communicators and good listeners who approach situations with empathy. Also, from a practical standpoint, women are the most powerful consumers as we do the majority of the buying. Bringing that understanding to the table during product development and thinking through each stage of the process through the lens of what kinds of products we personally need and how we would use them is an asset. Also, as most of us would certainly agree, women tend to excel at multi-tasking! We see this in action as we set up our team dynamic and implement and encourage active communication and collaboration. Being a primarily female run team in a heavily male dominated industry provides the opportunity to take advantage of these benefits and keeps us accountable to the goals we put into place on day one.
On being role models to young female entrepreneurs:We could probably give this advice to ourselves just as easily: Try not to be hard on yourself, especially when you encounter challenges. Take a step back and look at your accomplishments. You don’t have to be perfect and you don’t have to master everything to be successful. Fortunately, something else women tend to excel it is asking for help! Figure out what you do well and build a team full of people who bring their own talents and specialties to the table. We learn something new everyday and hope we never stop wanting to! Maintain the goals you set out to accomplish and believe in your right to have the seat at the table, and if there isn't one...pull up a chair yourself! We have found so much guidance and inspiration from other women as we have built our company and have been so amazed by their willingness to share what they have learned that we can only hope to be able to serve in this way to anyone at any stage of their career or life.
Thank you for your support along the way,
Louise, Chenault & Carrie