Let’s Honor International Women’s Day by Supporting Female Business Owners

Mark your calendars because International Women’s Day is coming up! 

Celebrated on March 8th, it’s a day meant to celebrate female achievement, emphasize a need for equality, protest and lobby for women’s rights, and fundraise for charities that are focused on serving women. 

What’s the history behind International Women’s Day? How does it tie into our Carmel community?

Let’s dive in.

The History Behind International Women’s Day 

In February of 1909, women still didn’t have the right to vote. National Women’s Day was founded in New York City to unite different causes: socialists, suffragettes, and labor reformers. In 1911, the concept of a Women’s Day caught on and was celebrated by more than one million people. 

There’s not a set manual for how to celebrate the day. In the past, it turned into a second Valentine’s Day. Men bought flowers and chocolates for the women in their lives. 

In other cases, such as in China, some men hiked a mountain in dresses and high heels. This was meant to show solidarity with the female experience. 

In the wake of movements that encourage girls to be leaders, highlight female inequality around the world, amplify women’s businesses, and social change, the day has continued to evolve. 

There are many reasons and ways to celebrate International Women’s Day today. This year, we’d like to shine a spotlight on the women-owned businesses right here at The Crossroads Carmel.

Female-Owned Businesses at The Crossroads Carmel

We are proud to host many women-owned businesses at The Crossroads Carmel. In honor of International Women’s Day, we interviewed three female owners and asked for their advice and experiences on managing a business here in Carmel.

We spoke to Patty E. Wilson, owner of SHE, Marcy Curry, owner of Carmel Pilates and Personal Training, and Jeni Rossi, co-owner of The UPS Store.

What is the story behind your business?

Patty: My husband and I [opened the business in 2000].

Marcy: I have been doing business as a fitness trainer on the Monterey Peninsula since 1990. I believe that I am the longest-standing woman running a fitness business. I have worked in many gyms and health clubs on the peninsula. In 1996 I bought Carmel Fitness Center in The Crossroads Carmel and operated and sold the membership in 2003. I then opened Carmel Pilates & Personal Training 6 months later and am still here in the Crossroads. I feel like the luckiest woman alive as I absolutely love my profession. I am certified in Dance Aerobics, Stott Pilates, NASM Personal Trainer, Post Rehab exercise, and Z-Health which I have been studying for over 12 years on neuroscience.

Jen: While Mailboxes Etc. (which was purchased by UPS and converted to The UPS Stores) was founded by men, there is a large number of women-owned stores in the network of over 5000 stores. It’s one of my greatest joys of working in this network of franchisees – working with the many highly capable, smart, and tremendously dedicated women.

My husband and I own all 3 of our UPS Stores 50/50. We are equal partners on paper and equal partners in real-life – running our businesses side by side. One of the highlights of being entrepreneurs is how we show each other respect and honor each of our respective skills and contributions. We are a great team!

Why do you believe it is important for businesses to self-identify as women-owned?

Patty: I believe it shows the world how strong and dedicated we are!

Marcy: I believe that most women have not had equal opportunities to run their own businesses, especially getting loans. I believe that everyone should have the same opportunities.

Jen: As a female entrepreneur, I feel a deep sense of pride and respect when I enter the doors of women-owned businesses. I KNOW how difficult running your own business is. And, I understand the risks associated with being your own boss. Additionally, I know what it means to be a woman (who may or may not have children but nonetheless is typically responsible and a caretaker for many others on top of her work). I think a large part of our community would appreciate knowing more about the owners of a store in general, let alone becoming aware of how many women-owned businesses there are and how important it is to support them. These women are leaders in their community and are role models for up-and-coming young female entrepreneurs.

What is it like being a women-owned/founded business in Carmel?

Patty: Fantastic!

Marcy: COVID-19 was the most challenging thing that I’ve ever encountered in my business, but I feel as though it has made me even stronger and more adaptable. I am never afraid of thinking outside the box and having to work harder.

Jen: Carmel is unique. It’s such a special community. We have our “locals” as well as our “visitors.” Each brings something special to our daily experience and to our economy. I have felt supported by our community since we took over our Crossroads UPS store in 2005. Our customers have felt like family and are truly rooting for our success. The fact that I’m a woman and own 50% of the business has rarely been an issue. As long as I am educated, articulate, fair, and firm as I work to care for our employees and customers, the respect is reciprocated.

What advice do you have for other women looking to start their own business?

Patty: Do it! And never look back.

Marcy: Don’t give up! Know your business and always keep learning. This is what has kept me so successful.

Jen: While my mom was vocal about the myriad of obstacles that stood in her way as she considered a career back in the 1960s, she raised me to believe there were no limits with regard to my life’s possibilities. The notion that I can do whatever I want has been burned into my soul. I think so much of what it takes to start and run your own business is an attitude. You have to believe in yourself. You have to work harder than you’ve ever imagined. You have to find a business that you LOVE and believe in. You have to constantly learn and ask questions and listen. You have to be okay with being wrong. You have to have the courage to make changes – some of which will work and some of which will not. You have to find motivation in fear and discomfort – you can’t let it paralyze you. Finally, you have to be aware of your strengths and weaknesses and supplement your team with those that make up for those. The greatest failures in business, from my experience, are those that don’t seek help, support, and advice. The greatest advice that I received (from the hundreds of business books that I’ve read) is from Michael Gerber’s book, “The E-Myth Revisited.” Mr. Gerber explains how critical it is to not get stuck working “in” your business – you must set up your structure to be able to work “on” your business. In going into business for yourself, you’re not trying to buy yourself a paycheck. You’re creating an organization that cares for many and in which you can become a leader and always be strategically looking ahead. If your head is buried in the direct helping of the customers every day, you’ll only go so far.

Thank you to Patty, Marcy, and Jen for sharing this incredible insight with us!

Celebrating International Women’s Day

Women own 36% of small businesses worldwide. Supporting female-owned businesses at The Crossroads Carmel in honor of International Women’s Day is a great way to celebrate and uplift female entrepreneurs and members of the local Carmel community.