Sep 21, 2018 | By Isabelle Coates
May 22, 2017
By WGSN Insider
On the top of the Ace Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles (complete with a sunny backdrop of the city) Chelsea Sonksen, founder of Bossladies magazine is sitting with a group of 30 women.
The conversation flips between how to successfully run a crowdfunding campaign and how to generate press for one woman’s new fashion line. This is a Bossladies Work Sesh and was started by Chelsea in November 2016. This is the events arm of the community of female entrepreneurs that she cultivated, which circles around a magazine that she publishes twice a year in May and November.
While some might argue that print is dead, Chelsea’s magazine, events and huge community of subscribers would beg to differ.
Chelsea herself was smart; she realized that while print as a whole was suffering, there are still two key places that women read magazines – at the airport and on the beach. And there’s a severe lack of women’s magazines that focus on business rather than the kiosk of magazines that focus on beauty and sex.
And so she launched a Kickstarter campaign to gauge interest, and the result was outstanding. She raised just over 11k for the project, and it proved that there was a demand for this type of publication.
Each issue of the magazine focuses on one city – covering everything from the boss lady stars of fashion, tech and philanthropy. The current issue was shot in New York, and next year Chelsea’s team is headed to London and San Fran. The issues feature in-depth profiles with female founders and tips and resources for starting your own business. It’s about creating informative articles and presenting them with artistry. “This is not a content machine, I hate the concept of ‘content’,” says Chelsea, “For me it’s about offering real value and creating a publication that feels like a piece of art.”
With 11.3 million women-owned businesses in the U.S., employing nearly 9 million people and generating over $1.6 trillion in revenues, we asked Chelsea to talk more about why this is the best time to be a boss lady.
1. So many women are willingly to mentor
It’s a great time to harness the knowledge and support of other women. I’ve noticed that many women who have been in their careers for 10-15 years are generous with their time and knowledge and keen to give back. They are stable in their career now, settled, and dedicated to sharing what they have learnt with the younger generation of women coming up. I’m constantly inspired by the level of support offered, how vulnerable we can be, willing to share everything from our personal journeys to our contacts.
2. The access to entry regarding starting your own business has changed
Thanks to crowdfunding, you can bypass applying for a bank loan and make your dream a reality in 30 days. Plus crowdfunding lets you see the demand for your product. Then, thanks to social media, you can spread the message about your brand/product throughout the globe.
3. The global community of bossladies is growing like wildfire
In addition to our community in LA, and across North America, we have a huge community in Australia and Canada, plus a growing community in South America. We even had a lady from the Philippines attend a group and then return home and set up a similar group space there. That coupled with our growing social media following (57K and counting) shows just how global this is.
4. It’s fun to see yourself stretch and grow as a leader
It’s been exciting to watch the company evolve. Honestly it’s the moments where things have gone wrong that really tested my ability to lead, and the women I speak to say the same thing. It’s exciting to come up against a challenge, like your whole print run of magazines coming back spoiled from the printers 10 days before your launch party, to see how you handle it. Can you remain calm, solve the issue, and just fix things? The answer is often yes.
photo credit Grey & Elle (www.greyandelle.com)
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