Two female entrepreneurs who claim to have faced sexism when launching their Los Angeles-based startup say that inventing an imaginary male co-founder made the condescension all go away. Their claim has landed them an avalanche of free publicity.
The duo, Penelope Gazin and Kate Dwyer, were shopping around for investors to bank in their startup — a marketplace for weird art called Witchsy, but claim they faced doubts about the viability of their project from men who would’ve otherwise worked with them or invested in their website.
“When we were getting started, we were immediately faced with ‘Are you sure? Does this sound like a good idea?’” Dwyer said in an interview with Fast Company. “I think because we’re young women, a lot of people looked at what we were doing like, ‘What a cute hobby!’ or ‘That’s a cute idea.’”
The site, which is now celebrating its one-year anniversary, was designed as an alternative to Etsy by offering manual curation for tacky, “ironic” hipster art. The project gained traction from like-minded independent artists, for whom they managed to sell at least $200,000 worth of merchandise for within one year. It even received an investment from Rick and Morty’s Justin Roiland, with whom they are collaborating on merchandise.
While the project may be a success, its origins are mired with anecdotes about the sexism the duo faced early on. Gazin told Fast Company that an unnamed web developer they hired to work with them early on attempted to stealthily delete the website…Read More