Entrepreneur Krissy Mashinsky has launched usastrong.IO. Top Business Tech takes a closer look.
Working women have been particularly hit hard by the job losses and dislocation wrought by the COVID pandemic, and have lost close to six million jobs since the pandemic began, according to the Department of Labor. Fortunately, a new trend is emerging, women are starting their own businesses at an unprecedented rate.
At the height of the pandemic, Krissy Mashinsky, a former top executive at popular Urban Outfitters, launched usastrong.IO, the first online platform to curate, sell and verify products. Categories include women’s and men’s clothing, home decor, beauty, health & wellness, athleisure, accessories, food & pantry, and launching this summer wine & spirits, all made or grown in the USA. The site has grown swiftly with a staggering 70% of its sellers representing women-owned businesses.
Female founders are at the helm of many of the new businesses launched in recent years, according to research by American Express. Mashinsky herself is an example of this new phenomenon where women make up 40% of new business owners, according to a report in Forbes.
Mashinsky launched the site usastrong.IO in October 2020, initially as an e-commerce site and branded usastrong.io casual clothing line. As she surveyed the toll the pandemic was taking – ravaging families, job losses and collapsed supply chains – Mashinsky saw a need to support local business owners, bolster communities and create jobs.
There are now over 45,000 users nationwide and 1.5 million impressions. Mashinsky expects that number to grow exponentially as more women get bitten by the entrepreneurial bug, whether out of necessity or by choice.
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“Every purchase has a cause and a reason,” said Mashinsky. The emphasis on entrepreneurship and on both locally-bought and verified made-in-America products appeals to women’s current values. “Every purchase is directly helping someone you know, and has an impact on helping someone.” Reports by Forbes and Harvard Business have noted women entrepreneurs are motivated to start their own businesses to accommodate family and community, as well as flexibility, reflecting the high value they place on both. These two motivations align with Mashinsky when she founded usastrong.IO and what she has learned from the sellers and buyers on the site.