We tell our founding story all the time. “One rainy day, in our college apartment… we made our first batch of peanut butter.”
We love a good founding story, but a snapshot from one moment in time leaves a lot out – like many of the details leading up to that point and all of the moments that followed.
We often hear, “Luck is when preparation meets opportunity,” which we’ve often found to be true. It’s also worth recognizing there’s also a lot of advantages mixed in with luck that’s helped us grow. The way we see it, the sooner we recognize our privilege, the quicker we can do our part to help others by spreading our knowledge to those who need it.
This is why we are proud to spread our knowledge and some luck to others by supporting Girls Inc. of the Pacific Northwest as an official non-profit partner of Wild Friends with our Fuel Her Future campaign.
Girls Inc. of the Pacific Northwest’s powerful mission aligns perfectly with our own values. They are committed to advancing the rights and opportunities of girls and young women to reduce and eliminate the barriers girls face and reforming systems that impede on their success. They approach this work with an equity lens, focusing in particular on the needs of girls from low-income communities and girls of color, who face multiple, intersectional challenges.
Erika and I have been lucky to have incredible role models of all genders throughout our lives, whether they’ve been in our families, at school, in athletics, or elsewhere. Our mentors, teachers, and role models have helped us believe in our capabilities and our potential.
That’s why we are committed to supporting girl-centered advocacy movements informed by the lived experiences of girls. Girl-led advocacy elevates the voices of girls and empowers us to be the change agents in our communities and beyond.
Growing self-confidence has been a big privilege. Unfortunately, we know that’s an advantage lots of young women don’t get to experience when growing up. Erika and I did not set out to “start a business,” but when we realized we had a natural foods company on our hands, we felt confident to step out on a limb and try it out.
Girls Inc. knows how important it is for young girls to see themselves as mentors and role models – if you can see it, you can believe it. Girls Inc. programs bring mentors to schools through after-school groups, some of which Erika and I have led. They also provide mentorship opportunities beyond that setting by bringing girls on tours and placing them in internships with local businesses.
Self-confidence, of course, is just the beginning. Without financial access, funding an early-stage business is really hard, if not next to impossible. In 2018, only 2.2 percent of venture capital went to all female-founded companies in the U.S. and just 12 percent to teams with at least one woman. When women do receive VC funding, they typically receive smaller checks than their male counterparts. Funding a business is a challenging road for anyone, but it’s especially hard for women. Wild Friends started with a Kickstarter launch that included additional money from family and fundraising from angels that made expanding our business possible.
Girls Inc. helps provide a path to college, along with networking opportunities for girls, that gives them the financial acumen to reach new opportunities. Girls Inc. wants girls to envision themselves as leaders and use the power of their voice to advocate for themselves. Their organization always approaches their work with an equity lens, focusing in particular on the needs of girls from low-income communities and girls of color facing intersectional challenges.
There’s one more key element of Erika and my experience we can’t ignore, and that’s the power of friendship. Friendship is central to Wild Friends’ DNA. Not just our friendship, of course, but the friendships we’ve formed with our colleagues, partners, suppliers, and fellow brands continue to be incredibly special to us.
Girls Inc. supports positive female friendship by providing a girls-only environment to forge relationships, learn clear communication skills, and cheer each other on.
We are so pumped to be supporting Girls Inc of the Pacific Northwest in their mission to help girls grow up strong, smart and bold.
You can work with Girls Inc, too! If you’re a natural foods business interested in partnering with Wild Friends to support Girls Inc events and initiatives, email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’re an individual seeking to volunteer, check out the Girls Inc. website here. Erika and I have both been after-school Girls Guides and we can promise it’s just as transformative an experience for the guides as it is for the girls.