EP 133: Building A Business In The Feminine Economy With Sister Founder & Director Jennifer Armbrust

May 15, 2018 | Branding, Business Models, Podcast

Tara McMullin is a writer, podcaster, and producer who explores what it takes to navigate the 21st-century economy with your humanity intact. Click here to support this work.

The Nitty Gritty

  • How Jennifer’s creative entrepreneurial journey influenced the creation of Sister and Feminine Business School
  • What led Jennifer to transition from solopreneurship to a brand that’s bigger than her — and how collaboration sets the foundation for Sister
  • The practical and foundational values of creating and formulating a feminist business
  • Why you should see your business as a partnership and some of the tools Jennifer uses to connect students with their business’ “spirit”

Do you think there’s a better way to approach your work than just hustling hard? Jennifer Armbrust, founder of Sister and Feminist Business School, would argue there’s a more feminine way to build and grow your business.

In this episode of What Works, Jennifer walks us through what a feminine economy looks like, how to use those values to guide your business decisions, and tools for working on your business in a holistic, healthy way for work/life balance.

Jennifer also discusses her experience with growing from a solopreneur mindset to a leadership one… and the struggles she faced on that journey.

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What is a feminine economy?

“If capitalism is an economy that values masculine traits, what could another economy look like? That’s where we get the feminine economy. It’s almost a backward question. Instead of saying what economy would we need for feminine values, I’m saying: what if we start valuing feminine principles? Will that shift the economy?” — Jennifer Armbrust

Capitalism currently operates according to masculine traits of the ego, Jennifer says. For example, worker value comes from productivity, poverty is vilified, nature is dominated, and systemic racism and sexism are commonplace.

You can find the graphics mentioned in the podcast here.

So what would the world look like if we included resourcefulness, mindfulness and gratitude, integrity, and honesty in the very foundation of every business and system? Things would radically change — for the better.

Infusing feminine ideals into daily life

“It’s a creative act every day going to my business, taking these ideas and ideals, and asking: what are the choices and the ways I’m setting up my business that’s going to evoke them?” — Jennifer Armbrust

One of Jennifer’s most recent experiences putting her values into her business was with her new office. “I want it to be honoring my body,” Jennifer shares, “which is the first principle of the 12 principles for prototyping a feminist business. Our bodies are things that we use in our day-to-day workspace so how do I configure my workspace to support my body?”

With that as a guiding principle, she got both a sitting desk and a standing desk. She also added a meditation pillow. “I’m not trying to make the choice that other people made before me,” she says. “Instead, it’s: what is my office? What is Jennifer Armbrust’s office for Sister? What is this space going to be and how do I work in it?”

What are some feminine values that you already infuse into your business? What are some that you’d like to explore more in your everyday work life? Check out the 12 Principles of the Feminine Economy from Sister for more insight and ideas!

Scaling from one to many, with intention

“I can see the vision and the value of creating a framework for feminist entrepreneurship. It doesn’t exist right now. I had to get to this crossroad where I looked at the two paths and said: Jennifer, are you going to do it by yourself or are you going to create the structure that allows you to co-author that framework with other people?”

For Jennifer, scaling up from one to many was a no brainer. “The very principles of feminine and feminist ideas say together,” she says. “It doesn’t say you’re the hero that creates the genius idea. It says we do this together because we know that together is more important and more powerful than what one person can do alone.”

It was an identity crisis for her, she says. At 40-years-old, Jennifer’s been in business for 17 years. Most of the time, she worked alone as a solopreneur. But with a big vision, Jennifer realized that she couldn’t tackle her vision for the feminine economy on her own… and decided that it was time to hire a team.

Part of that decision tied back to work/life balance. To achieve her goals alone, she realized she had to work 80 hours a week. Surfing and enjoying nature is a commitment she’s made for her life… and working long hours every day meant she wouldn’t be living in alignment with her own values.

Are you at a crossroads, like Jennifer, where it’s time to scale up and hire so you can bring your vision to life?

Hear more from Jennifer Armbrust on the Feminine Economy, being in partnership with your business, and how to deal with growing from solopreneur to leading a brand that’s bigger than you.

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