There’s a well-known saying that if you truly wish to support a cause you should “put your money where your mouth is” – meaning not only that talk means little without action to back it up, but that supporting a cause financially beats verbal praise alone.
So it is as well with women’s entrepreneurship: one of the best ways that women-owned firms can be supported is by purchasing their products and services.
This pursuit is becoming easier for women-owned purveyors of consumer products through a growing number of online marketplaces focused solely or predominantly on products made by women-owned firms. Perhaps the most well-known is etsy.com, geared toward smaller scale handmade goods, but there are others recently coming online:
- ananasa.com, an online marketplace based in the Middle East,
- farandwidecollective.com, a site that sources products from developing economies,
- pink51.com, which exhorts visitors to “shop with a purpose” – meaning that a portion of all sales are donated to women-focused causes,
- shop.plumalley.co, sister site of plumalley.co, which invests in women-owned and -led businesses and is based in New York City, and
- rosiemade.com, which offers goods made by women-owned firms in the USA, and which is meant to remind us of Rosie “We Can Do It” the Riveter.
The biggest potential impact may come through a new initiative spearheaded by Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, in partnership with WEConnect International and the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). In 2012 Walmart debuted an online marketplace for women-owned products under the “Empowering Women Together” moniker as a part of their Global Women’s Economic Empowerment Initiative launched in 2011. Now, they are expanding that effort to include a “woman-owned” label on products not only online but in stores. (See this recent Bloomberg Businessweek article for more information.) This could take the Power of the Purse to a whole new level.