Link To Guest Website:

Title: “A Marketplace & Network For Woman Owned Businesses”
Guest: Vanessa Bruce of Dough
Interviewer: Jonathan Freedman – MAGE LLC

Click here to read the transcript

Jonathan (0s):
Welcome back to Radio Entrepreneurs, I’m Jonathan Freedman, and our next guest up is Vanessa Bruce co-founder and CEO of Dough pleasure to have you on Radio Entrepreneurs. Welcome to the show.

Vanessa (11s):
Thank you for having me excited to be here. Excellent.

Jonathan (14s):
So Vanessa, tell our listeners a little bit about your company and what it is that you do.

Vanessa (18s):
Totally so I’m the co-founder CEO at Dough how can go visit us that and our entire mission is to get more dollars into the hands of women and specifically women entrepreneurs. So at Dough you can shop from hundreds of women owned businesses and thousands of products. And the idea is that every day changes in what you buy from your face wash or to deodorant, it can help kick in the glass ceiling from the bottom up.

Jonathan (43s):
Wow. Really neat concept. So all of the products that are available on your website are sourced from exclusively from women owned enterprises.

Vanessa (52s):
Yes. Everything is from when to owned brands and to cross 15 consumer categories write, say it like your apparel jewelry, you have your beauty products would in beverage, even pet products on there.

Jonathan (1m 3s):
So are you the only platform that is currently offering products from women owned businesses only

Vanessa (1m 10s):
Right now, there are definitely there’s other markets out there, but we are the largest market and we actually span across product categories. So other e-commerce sites out there with specifically focus on like apparel or fashion and beauty, but we are really trying to focus on across, across product categories. So whatever you need, you can come to DOH in SWAT for our woman on the product. Right.

Jonathan (1m 31s):
So I understand that one of the precursors or one of the decisions that you made two to launch though, was the fact that women owned businesses receive a very small share of capital that’s raised in the marketplace. And you want to change that. And I think you alluded to it and your first answer from the bottom up. So tell us a little bit about that vision and you know, like how, how you’re changing that reality.

Vanessa (1m 56s):
Totally great. So I’m, the stats are pretty staggering, right? So women to receive 2.7% of venture capital or investment dollars and, and in COVID that actually decreased to 1% and then you have other staggering facts beyond investment dollars is actually two thirds on the woman owned business is aren’t going to go on for venture Capitol, but lets say small business loans, women have a faster payback areas and higher interest rates are in their male counterparts. And so there are these barriers to access for when, to not only launch businesses, but to grow their businesses. And so at Dough our whole mission is to broaden that access to entrepreneurship for women and to be a resource for them. So at the end of the day, our vision of Dough is to actually support women entrepreneurs from starting out their businesses to being thriving powerhouses.

Jonathan (2m 42s):
That’s really a staggering, I mean, this is this, you can say that your quote are amazing. If, if I’m not mistaken, women represent more than 50% of the population and this country. And I don’t know what the statistics are for women owned businesses, but it’s got to be, you know, greater than to 2%. And I’m guessing it’s probably somewhere in 40 or 50, you know, maybe even 50% of all businesses are owned by women today.

Vanessa (3m 4s):
It’s really a women’s start. Businesses are starting businesses that, you know, multiple the race of men and, and actually there’s a new study that released reforms yesterday, actually that sad that women and underrepresented founders actually now taking the majority how the majority of the businesses in the United States. So, you know, it’s about 46 years now at 40% white male, this, it says in the 60% woman owned or underrepresented founders to like the black owned, like exome it API owned.

Jonathan (3m 32s):
So how old were you? And you know, it’s quite a leap between what you guys are doing, which is basically giving women who is a entrepreneurs platform to, to, to sell their products. And you know, that obviously assist them in growing their businesses. But how will we changing the tide in terms of, you know, getting investment dollars towards women or is it that, is it to cumulative voice and to tell us what division there is in how to make that happen?

Vanessa (4m 2s):
Totally. So the idea is that when you go and raise venture capital, right, with your products, especially the contract to consumer product is all about your sales and you know, how and how you’re marketing and you’re you’re access to grow that rapidly. And the idea is, is that on dough, if you can have to have a, when our business thrive on Dell and be getting the number of sales, they need to raise the capital to really have their business flourish, that’s powerful. They can bring that stat into their, into their investment deck, into those conversations. And so that’s the resource way of bringing along with that. Like we do have plans to expand our knowledge there. And I, I do, I want to know that even though the investment dollars is, is how we started in, there are two thirds of women owned businesses that won’t raise venture capital.

Vanessa (4m 44s):
So what about the resources for them? Right. And so on. So actually we started a grant program where starting more, just not sharing Sharon, how to build your business and even things like access to partnerships, right? Like access to talking to someone from target to talking to someone from a local boutique. Like those, those relationships actually like brought in opportunities for when entrepreneurs and that’s what we are bringing, bringing along with us. One major thing I like to point to is that yes, you sell on Dough, but when you are, when you’re a brand on dough, we actually, our sourcing UPR opportunities, like when we win DOH is features like right now today, we usually call out or bring another founder from our community along to broaden that opportunity for our network.

Jonathan (5m 28s):
So is it really interesting? I think you’d just really, you, you expressed it in such a way that it makes so much sense to me that, that what you’re saying is we’re not only providing the platform to sell product, but through a, the network is through the platform we’re, we’re growing, we’re helping grow in women’s businesses, but we’re also exposing them to other opportunities in other resources. And so it’s the whole social play of, of what you guys are providing at Dough that is really helping those businesses to flourish it, to grow

Vanessa (5m 58s):
It. Exactly. Yeah. I need to do more stats out there. They were kind of important to know to, is that M four to five businesses on DOH or one or to women’s shops. And two thirds are, are not to hear it, sorry, half our site printers, which means, you know, they are working a full-time job and running their businesses on the side. And I think that’s important to know when talking about resources and accessing entrepreneurship, right. Is to realizing, you know, the community that you’re serving

Jonathan (6m 26s):
Absolutely what our there, or are there any restrictions or qualifications for being a business that is selling on dough?

Vanessa (6m 33s):
No. So are, so our main qualifiers, our obviously women owned in that means, you know, you’re a founder or you are in a leadership position such as the CEO role. So you are making major decisions in that major equity in the company. The second part of that is that you need to be at direct to consumer products. So you need to ship nationally across the U S and then our third requirement is just making sure your product photography, uhm, is up-to-date in that we can do, you know, to share that on Dell and it’s representative of the product you’re selling.

Jonathan (7m 4s):
Okay. And w w w the so pretty straight forward to criteria, and it sounds like the bar is not to high. What is the typical from first engagement that our company has with you until they are actively selling product on, on, on, on the platforms? What is, what Doughs that timeframe look like? And to

Vanessa (7m 21s):
It, it varies, right? It depends on the type of products category you have, because I’m, as, as any e-commerce market, like dove, it goes through seasons of like what people are looking for. Right. But like some go to categories that will receive sales typically within the first week or so our definitely like food and beverage gift things. For instance, we have a bubble tea kit on that, which has been the top seller or a more, if you’re like, oh, the home and office that we’re kind of cozy economy, like candle’s for instance, our, our, our sellers. So those are the three categories, our go-to, but, you know, you definitely see peaks and valleys for like apparel and accessories are jewelry depending on, depending on the season.

Jonathan (8m 2s):
Hm. So we, are it really fascinating now? Or do you envision expanding the product categories as time goes on or,

Vanessa (8m 8s):
Yeah, so, I mean, we’re at right now, we are fully accessible to any direct to consumer product category. Like I said, we of pet products on there, like we have catnip, how do we have everything from catnip to CBD honey to weighted blankets? So we actually have quite the variety on our currently, but we do have plan’s eventually we wanna serve all in, on businesses as much as we can and sit down the line, you know, going to local, going more services like you, you know, we wanna actually be that full eco-system for you to support women owned business from maybe choosing your accountant to buying, you know, you’re T

Jonathan (8m 41s):
Mm, wow. It really, so really in a grand mission that, that, that you’re sending you out a revision for the company. Tell us about transparent pay. I know that’s a, a hot topic for you in something that a, that you’re passionate about.

Vanessa (8m 54s):
Well, I mean, when you’re talking about to investment dollars, or you’re talking about it is entrepreneurship and broadening opportunity, it really, all, lot of this moves back to other other, other struggles that women are facing and the workforce. And one of those is, you know, the opportunity in the pay gap. And so at Dough we don’t only want to, like, we want to live our values, right? We’re not, we’re not, we don’t want to be the performative. And so for us, we actually have transparent, Hey, at Dough it, you can actually go see it on our website. We encourage our partners and anyone, we work with us to implement the transparent, Hey, if they can, we’re here to be a resource for them. ’cause that is another M knowledge to share and transparency that, that can close the gaps that exist for, for women in the workforce.

Jonathan (9m 40s):
Wow. It really doing some, some wonderful things here at, and it, it sounds like very progressive, not only very progressive, but really ahead of the curve. The guys have been around for three years now, congratulations, you’ve gotten over one of the key hurdles in the business and probably in the midst of a pandemic, even that much more congratulatory and nature and wish you continued success with Dell. So if, if entrepreneurs’, if a women owned businesses, if people want to get in touch with you, learn more about Dough or, or a how to, how to participate and to be represented on the platform, what’s the best way for them to reach out it.

Vanessa (10m 15s):
Yeah. The best way to reach out to us is And that is so D E O U G H. And you can find that on Instagram, Twitter at joining Dell, and I love to close with one fun stat that we think is, is optimistic and empowering. Cause we talked about a lot of the bad sets. So one of our favorite favorite things is that actually, if everyone in the U S spent $20 a month, like we’re not, we’re not talking to, he is purchases $20 a month at a woman owned business. We could drive $5 billion for women owned business is monthly. And I just want us to think about how powerful our collective wallet power is there

Jonathan (10m 50s):
Really small steps. I have another question. I don’t know if you know the answer to this. So, so I, I hate to bring it out of left field, but that is an amazing stat. What percentage of the purchases that are made through Dough are made by women?

Vanessa (11m 2s):
We don’t have those sites. We don’t collect customer data in the sense of, you know, gender, but I would say currently on the majority, but we do have men purchasing and go to like, we have CBD beard oil and we have men’s SOCs. And we also have M you know, men coming through our platform to, to gift umm, to them. Right.

Jonathan (11m 24s):
So I guess my, my, my question is more phrased and there is no reason that men shouldn’t be coming to do to, to purchase as well.

Vanessa (11m 29s):
Yes, everybody should. That’s why I love that of it’s everywhere in every adult in the U S and not just woman, right? Like if we’re going to change those, we need to change that together.

Jonathan (11m 38s):
Absolutely. Great story. It is great that learning about dough, I wish you continued success. Then love to hear more about it, and perhaps even feature some of your, some of your businesses, dough businesses on Radio Entrepreneurs. Our guest has been Vanessa, Bruce co-founder and CEO of dough. It’s been a pleasure having you on Radio Entrepreneurs, and it we’ll be right back with another segment on Radio Entrepreneurs.

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