Grant Recipient

March 19, 2024

February 2024 Amber Grant Awarded to Womads

Womads

Woman Entrepreneur:
Lisa Oberst

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We’re excited to announce the January $10,000 Amber Amber Grant recipient. Congratulations to Lisa Oberst, Founder of Womads . She is the third qualifier for the 2024 year-end Amber Grant ($25,000).

Recently, WomensNet Advisory Board member Marcia Layton Turner sat down with Lisa for an exclusive interview. You can listen to their conversation and view the transcript below.

Video Transcript

WomensNet: Hello everyone, and welcome to our conversation with our grant winners for February, 2024.

Today we have the pleasure of chatting with Lisa Oberst of Womads, who’s our Amber Grant winner.

For anyone who may not have heard, at the end of 2023, WomensNet decided to increase the number of $10,000 grants that we give. And our Amber Grant is open to all women business owners in the US and Canada.

I’m Marcia Layton Turner. I’m one of several WomensNet Advisory Board members, and I have the great pleasure of speaking with these fabulous women business owners. So thank you so much for making time to chat with me today.

Let’s start at the beginning and have you tell everybody a little bit about your company and how you came up with the idea.

Lisa: Yes, of course. So I launched Womads about a year ago, and it stands for Nomad, but for women. So Womads together. And Womads is really a brand for active women out there that want practical and comfortable accessories, but that also wanna look fashionable at the same time.

Just to give you a bit of the context — I’m a bit of a nomad. I’m French, American, grew up in Belgium, lived in Brazil, lived all over in the U.S. And so I love being on the move. And when I’m on the move, I also like to go out dancing, ride my bike, skateboard, go out, all these things. But with all this movement, I can’t have15 different pairs of shoes and all that. So I really value accessories that don’t get in my way, but that support the life that I want to live.

When I moved back to the U.S. in 2019 from Brazil, I ran across this problem. I just couldn’t find the accessories I wanted. And I started asking friends, like, ‘Hey, what do you wear? What do you use?’ And I noticed that a lot of women had that same concern with their shoes. Is that, terrible quality, not comfortable, not very versatile. And so that’s what led to the idea behind Womads because we launched, as I said, a year ago, with the first HERO product, which I actually I can show you, which is this comfortable and, stylish type of shoe that’s very light and very flexible.

So, women have been really loving these shoes because they can fit their lifestyle and they can wear it from morning to night and just really serves them well. And so that’s our first year in business.

WomensNet: Terrific. Those are so cool. Thank you for showing. I love the show and tell.

So many business owners hear about the importance of writing a business plan when you’re thinking through, you know, what is my company? Who am I gonna market to? How am I gonna market to them? But some people think that you only need them when you go for financing. So I know not all business owners create them. Did any or all of you put together a business plan? Lisa, let’s start with you.

Lisa: Yes, a version of a business plan. So what was most important for me was really understanding who I was targeting. I wanted to understand the woman that I’m speaking to, and then that would really help with the marketing that would go around it.

But I would say that I don’t have an official business plan. What I have is a very dynamic list of options. I’m constantly learning. I’m constantly listening to podcasts and reading up on marketing in general. Also, my full-time job is marketing. And so I love it, but I just know there are so many things that I could be working on. And the most important version of a business plan, I would say, is making sure that I don’t succumb to “shiny object syndrome.” You know, jumping from one thing to another too much and just not accomplishing anything.

So the best thing I’ve done, and that I think that I would recommend is I made a list of everything that I could put possibly do. And then my plan for this year was to organize them in order of priority. Then I decided, okay, in January I will only think about these possible initiatives I can work on. In February, I will think of those. And in Q2 I will think of those. And so my business plan is constantly evolving and growing as I learn more. But just having this process, this organization has really dramatically helped me not get overwhelmed.

WomensNet: I know what you’re talking about [with “shiny object syndrome”].

So let’s talk about how you’re spreading the word about your company. So now you have it up and running to various degrees based on how long you’ve been in business. What are some of the most effective strategies you’ve found to let other people know about your business?

Lisa: Yeah, so Womads is entirely an online brand. We sell online, so everything’s digital. I started out with paid marketing, a little bit of Instagram, just organic, trying to post some videos and some photos. But that’s very time consuming.

Paid ads is a pay to play field. So it’s not cheap and you have to do it right, so you’re not just throwing money out the window. But for me, that’s been the best place at the moment to get first sales. And since my goal with Womads is really to build a community of women who come back and who love the brand… I pay to get that first order, and then I have a lot of systems in the background — email marketing systems, for example — to get them to really build that loyalty with the brand, get to know me as the face of the brand, get to feel that friendly connection with me, and then come back. And I have customers who’ve come back to buy 5, 6, 7 pairs of shoes. ‘Cause we have them in 14 different colors. So all of these systems work together to build that long-term relationship with our audience.

WomensNet: Wonderful. Well, I’m sure that you could think of a number of things that you’ve learned along the way, but if you had to pick one, what would be one lesson that you’ve learned that you think other women business owners might find useful?

Lisa: Reaching out to others, I think, is a little bit difficult, especially for women sometimes to reach out and ask for help. But I have just been so touched by how much help I’ve gotten from strangers, friends of friends who are in the field that I need to learn about or things like that. So reaching out is definitely something to do.

And then in terms of lessons learned, this is very specific to e-commerce, but I over-ordered the last time I placed an order of the shoes… And there are a lot of consequences to that that I did not fully anticipate or calculate in terms of storage payments and things like that. So I would say, maybe spend a little bit more time than I did, just calculating all the possible costs and making sure you make the right decision. But Nike did the exact same thing I hear and have over-ordered millions of dollars. So I’m fine, but…

WomensNet: You’re in good company. [laughter]

So, as we’re sharing this with the WomensNet community, which consists of other women business owners, what’s one thing that members of our community can do to support you? Lisa, let’s start with you. What can they do? Come to your website, sign up for a newsletter, what would be useful?

Lisa: Yeah, well definitely come check out the new website I launched. It’s Womads.co. And if you wanna sign up for the newsletter or sign up for Instagram and you know, if you like the shoes, feel free to get a pair.

WomensNet: Well, thank you so much for giving me your time today and talking about your business. It’s been so fascinating and always fun to hear about our winners. And congratulations again for being our February Amber Grant winner.

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What people are saying about WomensNet

Forbes

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Nerd Wallet

“Every month, WomensNet awards three $10,000 Amber Grants to women-owned businesses. At the end of each year, monthly grant winners are eligible to receive one of three $25,000 annual grants.”

Score

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CNN

“The Amber Grant offers three $10,000 grants to women-owned businesses each month. Then, at the end of each year, WomensNet gives an additional $25,000 to three grant winners from that year.”

Essence Magazine

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