Some of you may know that I started Shoulder Bare – Barelastics at the end of January 2018. This is my first business and I knew nothing of all that is entailed in the development, manufacturing, marketing, and selling of widgets. I took accelerated business courses, networked, read books and joined as many organizations as I could (afford) relevant to what I was trying to do. Whew! I’ve come a long way and have even further to go.
So, in doing all of this I met amazing people who offered information and support. In March, I was invited to a Women Tech Founders (WTF) conference by a woman who is the director of the Chicago BWISE (Black Women In Science and Engineering) chapter. I was amazed and a little intimidated by the awesomeness of the women who presented on panels and who I met in passing at the event. It was there I learned about the Shark Tank auditions. You don’t know what you don’t know. I go there and I think I have a great idea that will benefit women and change the world with the promotion of beauty and confidence and the celebration of women in leadership with Bare Shoulders, but I was in a room with women who were developing artificial intelligence technology, virtual reality games, judging, funding and giving advice to women who were starting businesses in architecture using virtual reality and more. There were women entrepreneurs from other countries who had these major tech companies and another who used technology to insert children readers into the books they were reading! (At least I think that was what it did.)
I wasn’t there with my head down or anything. I was wearing an off the shoulder shear black top with black slacks and strappy burgundy/red 4 inch heels (looking good always helps my confidence) but looks were not going to make up for the fact that I didn’t know what went into or how to build a website (I do now) and could not for the life of me figure out why my Instagram pictures were not automatically showing up on my Facebook page.
I felt way out of my league, and although I was so proud and exhilarated (literally almost moved to tears) to see the existence of these Super women, I wondered what was there for me and my business in such an illustriously tech environment. A woman asked me about my wearable technology and I cringed a little inside. But this conference was filled with confident, competent, and enterprising women. They were supportive and encouraging and down to earth. When I made some dismissive comment about how I was not really “technically” tech and that I was just starting a business trying to sell my wares the woman looked at me “with intention” and weight in her eyes and said “ALL BUSINESS IS TECH" It rang true right when she said it and sank in more as time went on. Entrepreneurship is no joke and there is a lot to learn (I’m getting into 3-D design and printing now) but this journey has been amazing.
I give all of that background because:
Women Tech Founders Award nominees were just released, and guess who made the list! I Symone Lewis, am proud to be among these spark-starting women and hope you'll take the time to vote for me under the Lifestyle Award (7th down) here!