Here at Lunapads, we're passionate about supporting feminist entrepreneurship. That's why we're psyched to introduce you to Angie Coates, a friend of Lunapads and a new entrepreneur, and her lifestyle brand, five15. Five15 is all about encouraging positivity, animal love and feminism - check it out!
Tell us more about five15, and what inspired you to start it.
My passion has always been creative work and entrepreneurship. I already had a business offering creative services, but I was craving making tangible products. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to make, I just knew it had to be meaningful to me.
I watched a few women I met through Instagram start their businesses from scratch and when I went to Los Angeles last year, I had the opportunity to meet two of them. I was so inspired and finally decided to go for it. Five15 was launched soon after that , which is a lifestyle brand for feminists, animal lovers and positive people. That’s really how it started.
What are some of the unique challenges you’ve experienced in your journey?
Being an entrepreneur means working with a lot of unknowns. That was new for me, and although I knew it was part of the deal, it can still be challenging at times. I’ve also struggled with finding work/life balance. When you’re working for yourself it’s hard to switch off and rest. I am learning new ways to be productive while still maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
What advice would you give aspiring entrepreneurs?
First, get really, really clear on what you want to do and why you’re doing it. It will help a lot when things get tough. Also, get a supportive network to help you. Find communities of other fellow entrepreneurs, either in person or online and be an active participant. This is great for asking questions when you’re stuck and learning from others, but it’s also a great way to get connected with other women and give back. Even if you’re just starting out, you could have valuable insight to offer someone else who’s only a few steps behind you. If you can, invest in a coach. I have found a great one and I definitely wouldn’t be where I am if it wasn’t for her. Finally, don’t listen to those who say you can’t do it or you’ll fail. Believe in yourself. Really, there is nothing you can’t do.
What’s your favourite story from your first year of entrepreneurship?
One of the highlights of my first year happened right after the Women’s March. I wanted to go to Washington, D.C., but it didn’t work out, so we drove to Seattle instead.
I was a little worried about bringing a sign across the border, so I decided to make stickers instead. I handed them out for free at the march - they said “Full-Time Feminist”.
When I came back, I listed them in my Etsy shop and I started getting an unusually large amount of orders. They weren’t just from big coastal cities, as per usual, either. Most of the orders were coming from smaller, more conservative cities. I was really overwhelmed. I began including a handwritten note with each sticker, thanking each and everyone of them for being feminist and telling them we’re in this together. It’s been the most rewarding feeling.
Any last thoughts?I believe in abundance and in supporting female-owned businesses. We need to remember we’re not each other’s competition. There’s space for all of us to succeed, and when we support one another, we all benefit.
The good news is, more and more women are becoming entrepreneurs. In fact, women have been starting businesses at a faster rate than men since 2007. So if you’ve always wanted to start your own gig, GO FOR IT! There’s a community of feminists here for you ready to support you and cheer you on!