Dough On Pay Equity and Tips for Other Entrepreneurs

    March 22 2021

    Dough On Pay Equity and Tips for Other Entrepreneurs

    March 22 2021  |  Inspiration , Culture , Marketing

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    What started as a meet-up for coffee for Dough co-founder and CEO Vanessa Bruce soon developed into a movement to shop women-owned businesses. And so Dough launched in June of 2018 to promote and support products and services owned and run by women and to facilitate a community that empowers people to shop women-owned.

    Bruce is no stranger to the world of business. For years, she worked as a designer for startups, eventually moving to launch her startup agency to bring small brands to life. What should have been a new and exciting venture became a clear view of the disparity between women and men in business— especially in the world of startups. 

    “I saw a lot of the hurdles that women faced in business,” Bruce noticed, “From pay opportunity gaps to even investment dollars.”

    Today, female CEOs receive only 2.7 percent of all venture funding, with women of color receiving only 0.2%, a dismal number considering 78% of new women-owned businesses are owned by women of color. Add to that the cost of products for women cost on average 7% more than those for men, and the fact that women control 80% of consumer-driven purchases and the gaps in economic equity for women become clear as day. 

    So what can be done? How can consumers and companies work to establish equity for women-owned businesses? We sat down with Bruce to chat about the work being done at Dough to encourage shopping women-owned and how you as a consumer can do your part as well in celebration of Equal Pay Day on March 24th and beyond.

    Can you tell us a little bit more about your mission and what Dough does to ensure economic equity among women-owned businesses? 

    When I talked about trying to shatter that glass ceiling from the bottom up, that’s really about getting everyday consumers to purchase from women-owned businesses. If everyone in the US spent 20 dollars a month just at a women-owned shop, we could drive over five billion dollars a month to women-led companies. It’s wild to think about, but it just goes to show that these changes don’t need to be dramatic. We just need to ignite our purchasing behavior with small incremental changes. 

    In a perfect world, social media is the one place where entrepreneurs, creators, and influencers can find brand equity. However, it doesn’t always work like that. What are your tips for our users looking for more visibility or support for their women-owned business on Instagram? 

    To expand reach, always prioritize collaboration over competition. And I say that because when you partner with creators, businesses, or communities that are like-minded, they will have similar audiences that you can use to expand your audiences together. It doesn't need to be a winner take all on Instagram. That's what's beautiful about it, right? You can follow three amazing women-owned businesses. Don't be afraid to partner with a brand with similar values, as there's room for both of you. 

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    A lot of our users are busy entrepreneurs like yourselves. What advice do you have for people not necessarily social media experts but need to get their business’s Instagram up and running until they can hire someone to run it for them? 

    I always recommend using a tool like PLANOLY. It takes away a lot of the business owner’s stress because they can coordinate all their posts ahead of time. However, there’s all this pressure to be up on all the social media trends like posting two Reels or IG Stories daily, but you don't have to do that when you're getting started. I always tell our founders on Dough to post maybe three times a week and feel it out. Once you're able to hire and grow your team, then you can expand out. 

    How do you ensure your Instagram feed visually represents Dough’s diverse community of women-owned businesses?

    This is a huge topic at Dough. We want to make sure we’re building equitable representation on our social channels and on our market. So we actually have an Airtable where we mark every time a brand is featured. So that way, we know which brands we haven’t featured yet. We do that because we don't want to highlight twenty of our top businesses in our market. We look at who is selling, and we're like, OK, they're selling, let's bring someone up who hasn't maybe gotten a sale yet. And so that's all done by measuring. 

    You need to measure. You need to visualize. You need to see how everything's coming together. And again, I'm going to be a fanatic here, but PLANOLY really helps when you're visually planning out your grid. 

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    What’s the one piece of advice you wish you were given or listened to when starting your business? How can our rising entrepreneurs apply it to their future business ventures?

    Relationships with your team, your investors, and your customers are everything, honestly. I'm an introvert by nature, so going to a big networking event is a nightmare to me. Being in a room with thousands of people I don't know where I need to strike a conversation feels very transactional. But I quickly learned that it doesn't need to be the way to build relationships. You can grab a coffee with someone you don't know once a week. Right now, it might have to be virtual coffee, but just to expand your network one by one. Once you’ve made those connections, they will circle back and support you. It goes back to collaboration over competition idea. That's my biggest advice— prioritize relationships. 

    How can other brands or businesses prioritize economic equity?

    There are several ways, but I think to start asking yourself this thread of questions. Start internally with your team because you really have to start with your home. So for your team, do you have a transparent pay system? And if you don't ask yourself why? Closing any gaps on your team is one of the most significant ways to create economic equity. On that note, do you have a clear pathway to leadership roles? Do you measure everyone the same way? And lastly, are you involved with local community networks? So are you taking steps to create that and foster that culture internally? And then, on the flip side, who are you buying from as a business? What software are you using? One of the reasons we talked about PLANOLY was that a woman founded it, which is so important. What does your tech stack look like? Are you buying software from companies you believe in and that are doing good in the world?

     

    Support them online!
    Instagram: @joindough

     

    There are many ways to promote economic equity between women-owned businesses, starting with understanding the pay gap. After reading this and hearing from Vanessa Bruce, we hope you can begin to understand the power you have as a consumer and entrepreneur. Ignite your purchasing power today, and don’t give up once Equal Pay Day is over!

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    Evan

    Evan Welsh is the public relations coordinator at PLANOLY. Reach out to him with any media or influencer relations questions.

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