Highlighting the creativity and resiliency of women small business owners
Today marks the end of Women’s History Month. As people around the world celebrated the vital role that women play, we’re proud to feature some women-owned small businesses and their stories that showcase their creative and entrepreneurial spirits. It’s been a tough run for small businesses – particularly women-owned businesses – over the past year with many being forced to change their operations completely or shut down entirely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a recent study by Facebook on the U.S. State of Small Business, the closure rates during the pandemic for women-owned businesses have been higher than for male-owned businesses, 28% vs. 22%, and women were also more likely to report that childcare and other domestic responsibilities had an impact on their work. At the same time, we’ve seen more businesses move their operations online. In fact, across Messenger and Instagram daily conversations between people and businesses increased by 40% as businesses owners and their customers attempted to stay connected during lockdown restrictions.
We’re proud to work with small businesses worldwide and have been focused on providing them with the tools they need to continue to grow in spite of the challenges of the past year. We’re also honored to feature the women bosses below and their stories as we close out Women’s History Month.
Rock Your Month: Detroit, Michigan
Owner: Jabett Glenn
Rock Your Month was founded by JaBett Glenn, an Active Duty service member. The importance of convenience and accessibility when it comes to feminine hygienic care is immeasurable. According to the American Medical Women’s Association, “period poverty refers to the inadequate access to menstrual hygiene tools and education.” With that in my mind, Rock Your Month wants to make feminine care accessible to all. As an online automated subscription source, R.Y.M. ships monthly pads and tampons to its members while using proceeds and resources to voice the importance of feminine care throughout inner city communities and underserved regions. JaBett uses automated Messenger features which helps her answer commonly asked questions from customers even when she’s not available.
The Country Dog Hotel: Bridgwater, UK
Owner: Rebecca Linnel
Rebecca has owned, fostered and rescued dogs of various shapes and sizes most of her life. Such was her love and passion for dogs that in May 2016 she decided to combine all this experience and love to create The Country Dog Hotel which offers bespoke boarding for all types of canines. During COVID-19, Rebecca and her team temporarily transformed the business into something that benefits the whole of the UK, initiating a nationwide COVID-19 response community through Facebook and Instagram to help foster dogs. Over 5,000 people have come forward to foster dogs in their local communities, helping vulnerable people and key workers with their pets. Rebecca uses Messenger to stay connected with more than half of her customers.
SWEET Delices: Montauban, France
Owner: Carole Bertrand
Carole Bertrand is particularly passionate about two things: pastry and design. She opened a shop that combined her passions in Montauban, France, in 2017 called SWEET Délices which offers pastry workshops, and cakes baked to order.
The COVID-19 pandemic forced Carole to completely rethink her business. She was unable to open her physical store, host workshops or even pursue her plans for franchising the business. Carole swiftly adapted. First, she created video-based workshops that she could offer online to audiences all over the country. She also updated her online store and Facebook Shop with new products that were better suited to life under lockdown, such as smaller cakes for families to enjoy, rather than cakes for large occasions. Facebook and Instagram provided the perfect platform to let people know about her store closure and new offers. The pivot to online has been positive for her business, with revenues for July and August 2020 doubling, compared to the same period in 2019. In addition, she is receiving so many orders for cakes, she has hired a new apprentice to help keep up with demand. Ultimately, the increased focus on online has brought her closer to her customers and enabled the business to connect with new audiences through Messenger every day, including fathers and baking fans all over the country.
Organicwa: Bangkok, Thailand
Owner: Waree Weawwanjit
Like most of the dining industry throughout the world, Organicwa Thailand’s restaurants were negatively impacted by the coronavirus. To save sales and continue building her brand and business while customers were socially distancing, Waree needed an effective way to scale up her restaurants online. She pivoted to online ordering using Messenger to take orders and in the first 30 days generated 11,000 orders. As her orders increased, Waree also donated a portion of the profits to charities buying medical supplies, hand sanitizer and surgical masks for those working on the front lines of the crisis.
Waree said, “Messenger plays a critical part in helping me successfully grow a sustainable business and achieve financial independence, which allows me to give back to my community. I’ve built a school in my local community and continue to create employment opportunities and support marginalized groups through donations.”