I can’t count the number of times a day I see #girlboss on social media. Part of that is due to some of the inspirational accounts I follow on Instagram, though in general I think there is a huge movement right now for female-owned businesses, brands, and side hustles. The business world needs this change, and I’m totally here for it! At the same time, as femalepreneurs, we have a responsibility to change the narrative; not to overcorrect the past, but to bring balance into the future.
Through an article written by Victoria Repa, founder and CEO of BetterMe, I recently discovered that most health apps are created by men. As a female majority owner of the Bodypeace app, I immediately felt just the teeniest bit proud to contend that statistic. She pointed out that many times, men create apps or services for female audiences that don’t seem to actually correspond with the needs of women. She called attention to something that I feel business owners (male and female) need more of: REPRESENTATION. While women are shattering glass ceilings and breaking up so-called “boys clubs”, we need to make sure that in turn we’re bringing inclusivity to the teams we grow and the brands we create. At first that might seem counterintuitive to overcoming years of inequality, and certain businesses won’t be targeting everyone. However, a little representation goes a long way, and it’s about time we all become just a little bit more inclusive. That’s why I wanted to write this blog, to offer up some suggestions on how we can embody the inclusivity that the business world needs and deserves.
Include all ages
I love that in her article, Repa reminded us that consumers do not “only consist of people under 30 years old.” YES!!!! One of my previous clients and the DeLacy Wellness testimonial I’m most proud of is a 75 year old woman, Kathy. She’s honestly my hero. There is nothing she can’t do, and I hope to be as incredible as she is one day. Unfortunately, so many fitness apps, wellness sites, and products seem to be focused only on people in their teens and twenties. Where is the representation for my mature ladies and gents at? They’re still working out, they’re still wanting to eat healthy, they’re still active consumers…and yet it feels they get left out because society points to the maintenance of youth and physical attractiveness as the main focus of the health and wellness industry. When creating a product or service, remember that the baby boomers are still very active consumers. In the Bodypeace app, I wanted the majority of movements to be accessible to all levels, so we could include, rather than intimidate, all generations. If you’re a business owner or manager and you’re building a team, remember that an older employee’s experience can be an incredible asset.
Including women doesn’t mean excluding men
This is a tricky. Ladies, I get it, we run the world and are goddesses. I do think that in an effort to have our voices heard, in certain instances we’ve overcorrected and inadvertently exhibit the same exclusionary behavior our mothers and grandmothers experienced. If your product or service is strictly for females, that’s fine! We can’t always include all genders in business, even if we wanted to. If you’re disagreeing with me in your head right now, think menstrual cycle apps or testosterone supplements. For the most part though, we can include everyone! In fact if you’re looking for a greater market share, it makes sense to include everyone! I’m surprised by how many female-only workout programs I see nowadays. This is not to call anyone out or make them feel bad; this is just to call to attention that including men and women in your brand can potentially mean more impact. Yes, women tend to use fitness and wellness apps more than men, so it makes sense to target women when you’re marketing. But that doesn’t mean the colors have to be candy pink with swirly font and flowers. Male or female, personally I’m not attracted to that aesthetic. If the palette is more neutral you don’t run the risk of making your female audience feel stereotyped, plus you’re less likely to scare away potential male users. Win-win! While my male business partner created the name Bodypeace, I was the one who came up with the dark blue and blood orange color scheme. I wanted something different that could appeal to any age or gender, and I think it’s a choice that will serve our platform well.
Find more people who aren’t exactly like you
I’m not sure if this has ever been admitted by anyone other than myself, but I actually enjoy being wrong. It means I’m learning. If everyone in your sphere is exactly like you, how much learning and growing do you think you’ll be doing? I don’t think there is value to bringing diversity to a brand just for the sake of appearances, but I would encourage business owners to carefully consider who they partner with, who they hire, and who they choose to represent their brand. You’d be surprised how much knowledge you can obtain from someone of a different race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, age, ability, size, sexual orientation, religion, etc etc etc than you. Just like genetic diversity produces a stronger offspring, diversifying your teams and your audience produces a stronger business. I love that there are more women supporting other women, but lets not forget about our women of color, our trans women, and any others that society overshadows with the “young, white” femalepreneur. As business owners, lets work to break that narrative and include everyone.
While these recommendations are just that, I think if we don the title “girl boss”, we should work to have everyone represented in our health and wellness brands. I have put in a lot of work into the Bodypeace app, from ideating the UX/UI, to creating the website content, to filming hundreds of sessions and community videos…but I would be nowhere without my 57 year old male business partner helping me make this dream come true. It’s time we embrace our feminine power while including everyone on our way to the top.