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From passion to purpose: West Tenth is empowering a new generation of home-based entrepreneurs

  1. The Economy

From passion to purpose: West Tenth is empowering a new generation of home-based entrepreneurs

The West Tenth app and platform is helping home-based businesses thrive.

Woman standing in front of a blue door

Women run 66% of small home-based businesses. But just 4% of all consumer spending goes to women-owned businesses. That puzzling gap inspired Lyn Johnson and Sara Sparhawk to start West Tenth, an online marketplace they created to connect home-based entrepreneurs with new customers.

One of those entrepreneurs was Priscila Wilson. Wilson moved to the U.S. from Argentina to study English when she was 18. She fell in love and got married, had five children, and worked for 17 years to raise them before getting devastating news in 2018: Her son Matteo was diagnosed with Stage 4 neuroblastoma. Caring for him became a full-time job. But she also needed a job to support her family.

She found a path forward when, during Matteo's sickness, she created banners to cheer his milestones, and thought she could use her skill to sell banners so that other people could mark important milestones in their own lives. It was a way for her to contribute financially while also spending time with her son, but she needed a larger platform. 

She found it in West Tenth, which offers a user-friendly platform for entrepreneurs to sell personalized goods and services to people in their community, as well as ship them globally. West Tenth also offers a variety of business education programs for budding creatives with little business knowledge.

"You don't need to have a formal background or specific degree or prior work experience," Sparhawk says. "You can develop amazing talents and turn that into a very successful business."

West Tenth provides opportunities in a shifting workforce

As of 2019, 30 million women were already outside of the formal labor force. This creates a market for home-based business and a hunger for those who are busy balancing career and family responsibilities.

"We're really good as a society at supporting women on the way out of the workforce to care for their kids, but really terrible at supporting them on the way back in," Johnson says. 

One of those ways back in has always been home-based business, which are especially appealing in their flexibility. Unlike established marketplaces that focus on easily replicable products, West Tenth empowers entrepreneurs who don't have big advertising budgets to focus locally in their communities, creating one-of-a-kind products that they're passionate about. 

Woman standing in front of a blue door
Small business owner and West Tenth user Priscila Wilson

West Tenth helps women home-based businesses thrive

The career flexibility that the platform offers allows people like Wilson to both care for her family while also turning her passions into a career. She takes pride in helping others cherish important moments in their lives. West Tenth works for entrepreneurs like Wilson, who don't necessarily fit into the traditional workforce.

"Women were the most likely to leave because they realize that this one-size-fits-all labor market doesn't fit them anymore," Johnson says. "As an alternative they're seeking business ownership."

Wilson found the tools she needed to launch her business at West Tenth. She's able to care for her family while also supporting them monetarily.

"It feels really good to know that I can provide for my family," she says. "That gives me the confidence to keep going and believe in myself."

West Tenth helps women entrepreneurs find their niche

Christina Nielson's story is similar to Wilson's. She has been using West Tenth for four years for her interior design business. She now earns $25,000 a year restyling homes around her community in Lehi, Utah.

The Foundry is West Tenth's educational platform, which offers access to bi-monthly events and classes on maximizing their reach, marketing, pricing, social media, and more. These classes were the catalyst for Nielson's success.

"In one of the West Tenth Foundry workshops they talk to us about the gifts and talents that we have are actually of worth to other people," Nielson explains. "For me, it was realizing that yes, I have something to offer, something worth paying for." 

Woman smiling holding brochures
HIVE Interior Design founder Christina Nielson

West Tenth is the future of women home-based businesses

With 33.2 million small businesses in America — accounting for over 46% of the nation's private workforce — West Tenth has created a platform that helps thousands of women entrepreneurs realize their potential by following their dreams.

And it's working. West Tenth's top cohort of business owners experience a revenue increase of 35% annually. The platform is growing rapidly, with over a dozen new cities being added in 2023. 

West Tenth allows people like Wilson and Nielson — and other self-starters — to operate on their own terms and timeline, which the founders believe should be decided by each individual business owner.

"West Tenth is supporting that business ownership, helping women turn passions into profits, helping them turn talents into businesses, and helping them build that foundation of well-being," says Johnson.

Woman working in a home office
Christina Nielson works from her home office in Lehi, Utah

Ultimately, Sparhawk foresees West Tenth as a weigh station in the career of these business owners.

"We want these businesses to outgrow our platform," she says. "We're giving them access to the capital that they need and they can take it to the next level."

West Tenth is supported by Stand Together Ventures Lab, which invests in and supports founders and their early-stage start-ups that are challenging the status quo.

Learn more about Stand Together's economic progress efforts.

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