An Interview With ‘The Startup Squad’ Girl Entrepreneur

The StartUp Squad cover art
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The Startup Squad

The Startup Squad is both a book and a movement. The middle-grade book by Brian Weisfeld and Nicole C. Kear is a cute story about a young girl, Resa, who desperately wants to win the lemonade stand competition in her class, but she is assigned a group that includes girls who aren’t as business minded. Can they work together to win? The Startup Squad has a wonderfully diverse cast and 62% female speaking characters.

The movement was started by co-author Brian Weisfeld, founder of many businesses, including some billion-dollar companies. But after he had daughters, he noticed that women were not encouraged to be part of the business world and wanted to change that. Along with the book, The Startup Squad, the website features young girl entrepreneurs to give them a platform, provide resources, and give encouragement.

Before the book was published, there was a competition for young girl entrepreneurs to enter and win a chance to be featured at the end of the book. The winner is Sara Robinson, who runs Sara Sews. Sara took the time to answer some questions about herself and her business:

GeekMom Rebecca Angel:
Tell me a little about your business, Sara Sews.

Sara:
Sara Sews started one summer when I wanted to make a birthday gift for my friend. My mom taught me how to make a pillowcase dress for a doll and after some people saw a picture of it on Facebook they wanted one too. That was almost 5 years ago! Since then, we’ve added new products and sell on Etsy and Amazon.

GM:
How did you hear about the Startup Squad contest?

Sara:
I think that mom got an email from Brian, the author of the book, to invite me to enter. We get lots of weird emails and messages from sketchy people, so she deleted it. But someone we know sent a message telling us that it was a legit contest and then I was interested.

GM:
Did you read about the other girls who entered the contest? What do you think made your business stand out?

Sara:
I watched all of the videos that the girls made and they were really good! It was pretty amazing to see all of the different businesses and products. We had lots of people sharing the contest on Facebook and voting, even my teachers at school, and I think it helped that so many people knew about the contest.

GM:
How do you balance school, family, friendships, and a growing business?

Sara:
Sometimes it is hard! I have lots of activities at school so it helps to have a schedule. We have help with the business because it is more work than mom and I can do by ourselves.

GM:
My own daughter ran three different businesses from ages 11 – 17, with varying degrees of success. For her final business, selling tea-related body care products online, she found that the photographs were the most important part of getting sales, and she fine-tuned her photography skills. Do you agree? I looked at your Etsy shop and the photos are adorable. Who takes them? What have you found to be important skills to develop for your business besides the basics of making the product?

Sara:
Product photos are really important when you are selling online! Customers can’t touch our products when they are shopping, so they have to buy with their eyes. Photography is hard and we have improved by learning more about what makes a good photo and also having modeled pictures taken by a professional photographer. We also had to learn what the rules for photos were for Etsy and Amazon. For example, you can use a modeled photo for the first picture on Etsy, but Amazon wants the first picture to be just the item on a plain background. Either way, the picture has to be good enough that someone will click on it to see more.

It’s also important to be able to talk to people about your business and your products. Sometimes it is hard but it gets easier every time that I do it.

GM:
What advice would you give other young girls who want to start their own business?

Sara:
Ask for help! Lots of people have helped me along the way and all I had to do was ask. Also, don’t be afraid to try new things. Running a business means that you have to make decisions and try different things to be successful. If one thing doesn’t work well, try something different. The Startup Squad website has some ideas and information that can help!

GM:
Thanks, Sara! Good luck with Sara Sews.

I recommend The Startup Squad for all the creative girls in your life!

GeekMom received a copy for review purposes.

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