For me, Women’s History Month, which ends today, is a time to reflect on the achievements that women have made throughout the year. This year, it feels like some of our business achievements have been cancelled due to COVID.
A survey last month said that roughly 56% of women’s businesses in Colorado believe they won’t last for another one to three months. As a female small business owner who works to empower other women, this statistic came as a wake-up call to me.
That’s why we should make a concerted effort to support and celebrate women-owned businesses.
In 2012, I started Spinster Sisters Co. to provide clean, eco-friendly, and healthy skin care products. Today, I am proud to say we have a retail shop in Golden, and our products are in over 2,000 retailers nationwide. Our “Microsoapery” headquarters is also 100% wind and solar powered.
While we have found success, Spinster Sisters’ achievements did not happen overnight. When the company was formed, we were selling primarily at craft markets along the Front Range, then in 2014 we opened our first retail shop. It wasn’t until 2019 that I decided to focus on selling directly to specialty grocers and found success.
Like many business owners, when the pandemic hit and closures began, we were worried about the future of our company. It became challenging to meet with our customers face to face, which is essential to a growing business.
Thankfully, we were prepared to pivot to online sales using Facebook and Instagram Shops as our primary marketing channels. This resulted in substantial growth for our e-commerce business, selling directly to our customers.
We also began producing and selling more quality soap and hand sanitizer products to customers than ever before. For much of 2020, products of this category, not to mention quality, were inaccessible, so we are proud we were able to play a small role in keeping Coloradans safe.
Our partnerships with e-commerce firms and grocery stores led to our sales increasing by over 150% in 2020. Being a business that has been able to grow during the pandemic has been extremely gratifying and it is validating to know that people trust our products.
As a small business owner, I know what it takes to run a business and have made it a priority to help others along the way. Through partnering with nonprofits and hosting events at the Microsoapery, we have been able to support other local businesses, as well as amplify our message to bolster women-owned enterprises.
We also work with many women’s charities and mentor young women through Girls Inc.’s business school program, which teaches young girls various aspects of running a business. I have felt the love from this community and want to be sure to pay it forward for women who want to become entrepreneurs.
As of 2020, Colorado has nearly 140,000 female business owners, accounting for almost 40% of all business owners in the state. While these stats are encouraging, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce recently said that women-owned businesses are being disproportionately affected by the COVID downturn.
Let’s offer succor to our sisters! As business owners we can partner with each other for promotions and support each other in our own purchases. As consumers we can shop at women-owned businesses, write positive reviews online, and encourage each other on social media.
Vaccines being administered and restrictions starting to ease is encouraging to small businesses, but we are far from out of the woods. Let’s be there for each other and for our communities.
As finances allow, let’s be extra attentive during this time to uplift the local businesses, local restaurants, and the women-owned businesses in our community.
On a personal note, our customers and our community have given when they could not necessarily afford to give during this pandemic, and welcomed us into their homes through the use of our products and we could not be more thankful for that. Thank you, Colorado, for holding us up during this crazy time.
Kelly Perkins is owner and founder of Golden-based Spinster Sisters Co.
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