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EPISODE 9
Challenging the Status Quo with Marvelous Software

Marvelous empowers wellness creators to build and sell online courses, memberships, communities, and coaching programs. “We are changemakers, female founders, feminists, and future thinkers focused on helping creators make more money and transform more lives through online education.” Co-founder Jeni Barcelos (she/her) is an attorney, a parent, and an artist. Prior to entrepreneurship, she graduated from UC Berkeley and Yale, worked on multiple presidential campaigns, and served as a Gates Public Service Law Scholar. Co-founder Sandy Connery (she/her) had a 20-year-career in footwear and gait analysis before selling her million-dollar brick-and-mortar retail business and clinic.

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Discussed this episode:

  • The relationships Sandy and Jeni have with feminism
  • What made a pedorthist and a lawyer start a tech company
  • The origins of Sandy and Jeni’s partnership
  • Blatant sexism and traumatic behaviors in the tech space
  • Funding struggles and the audacity to say no to a half-million dollars to preserve values
  • How partnership helps this pair make stronger decisions
  • Dealing with explosive growth during the pandemic
  • The politics of the creator economy
  • Opting out of the chase for more and determining what’s enough
  • Why walking feminist values around money is well worth the price
  • The origins of And She Spoke podcast
  • Embracing the “and” of your multidimensional personality
  • Why “modern capitalism is cancer”
  • Entrepreneurship as a tool for self-actualization and liberation

Resources mentioned:

Learn more about accountability coaching with host Becky Mollenkamp at https://beckymollenkamp.com

Becky Mollenkamp:

Hello, thank you both for being a part of this podcast and talking with me today. I’m really excited to chat and learn more about your journey in the tech space, because I know that is a space that historically has been pretty male dominated. So it should be interesting. I think you guys will have lots of stories to share. But before we dig into that, I’m interested to hear from each of you, your relationship with the word feminist. What does it mean to you or how have you felt about that word?

 

Sandy Connery:

I can go because it’s super simple for me. I’m sure Jenny will have a more complex answer. But to me, like feminist, to be a feminist simply means that you believe men and women are equal. And I don’t understand the confusion around the word and why people would never – like I’ve seen recently someone that said they weren’t a feminist and I’m like, I just don’t understand. It just means that we’re equal. It is that simple to me.

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

And I’m gonna just interject because for people who aren’t watching but are listening, that was Sandy, so you can get used to their voices. And Jenny, you wanna share your answer?

 

Jennifer Barcelos:

Yeah, so I think I have a slightly different spin on it, but just mostly that women should have the same opportunities available to them and the same like resources and potential that men have. And my relationship to the word feminist is a little complicated because for a lot of years I was in denial that we didn’t and it wasn’t until I had had like a series of kind of life experiences in my career that really didn’t make sense logically that I realized how unfair and how unequal the world we live in truly is. So my kind of reckoning with feminism happened in my 30s.

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

I have a feeling some of those experiences may come up in what we talk about, we’ll see, or maybe you can share more about those in a little bit. I wanna talk about Hey Marvelous, which is a software company you guys started. And it’s interesting because I, in my research and stalking of you both, I noticed that Sandy, your background is in kinesiology and pedorthy?

 

Sandy Connery:

Pedorthics. Yep.

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

Feet, study of feet or working with feet. And Jenny, you’re political science, environmental science, law. In all of that, there’s not a lot of tech as far as training and background. Men are usually conditioned to believe that they can do anything even if they don’t have experience. We’ve probably all seen the studies about men applying for jobs when they meet something like 60% of the criteria. Yet women are often conditioned to think we can’t do it unless we meet all the criteria. We have that exact experience. So what gave you guys the audacity of mediocre white men to think that you could start a tech company?

 

Jennifer Barcelos:

With respect to Marvelous, which is the tech company that we co-founded together, for me, I was a lawyer and I was teaching at a university at a law school developing kind of a new field of law. I can finally say that out loud with a serious face. I was fundraising constantly. So it was climate justice work. And I was fundraising constantly from primarily men who had made a lot of money in tech. And I was beholden to their whims and desires. And it was astonishing to me as someone who was really an expert in my field that I had to kind of listen to the directives of people who were not attorneys or kind of environmental leaders in directing my own work because that’s where the money came from and at one point Right when I had a baby I was on maternity leave I thought well I should just go into tech and build my own tech company so that I don’t ever have to be told what to do in My work, so I’ll just make heaps of money and then be able to redirect those resources into My climate work and my legal work So that was extremely naive, but that was actually the reason why I wanted to start a tech company.

 

Sandy Connery:

The commonality is being naive here. So my story is I had a kinesiology degree in biomechanics. As you mentioned, I had a brick and mortar store and I had it for like, I think 13 years, was in that career for 13 years. And I just started as many of us do to become quite bored of the industry, watching people walk, seeing the same injuries over and over again. I had a retail footwear store so we had a lot of money tied up in inventory and I just couldn’t do it anymore. I just kind of tapped out like it was no longer challenging or fun. And so I started searching for what was the next step and I happened to hear heard a podcast which Jenny heard as well. We didn’t know each other and it was about how to build a software company. And so I really came at it from the lifestyle and the you know the in quotations passive income, work from home, like all of these sort of benefits. And it didn’t ever occur to me that women don’t build tech companies because I wasn’t writing code. I was like going to be the CEO and find this problem and solve it with software and have this beautiful little business of recurring income. And so that’s what both of us did, we ended up taking the program that was discussed on that podcast. We were in the same kind of cohort and that is how we learned not to code or write the software, but we learned how to research and find problems out there in the world and try to solve it by creating a software solution and then hire out the actual development of it.

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

If we have if we knew how difficult it was going to be, we wouldn’t have done it right. So the naivete is actually maybe what makes it possible to even start. I hear you both talking about wanting to like, make money off of it and maybe thinking it would be easy. And I feel like you say naive, but also I sort of think, why wouldn’t you think that? Because that’s so much of what’s shown to us about tech is that it’s just this easy way to get in there and make lots of money. So of course you sort of might have bought into that because it’s the narrative that we’re given. What was the beginning process like for you? Where did you start to learn maybe it was right away? Maybe it took a little while that maybe those, that that wasn’t going to be the case. Like what were your first warning signs that like, oh, this is gonna be harder than we thought.

 

Jennifer Barcelos:

I can say that for me, the beginning part was really not that hard because Sandy and are both like perfect students. And so we went through this program with like almost 600 people in our cohort and we were two of six that actually built tech companies out of that cohort in that first program. And because we were like straight A, you know, kind of overachiever types. And so of course we did it. We followed the system and we made it work. The problem was the course we took together was an immersive six-month experience that taught you how to build and launch a tech company to paying clients in six months, so we did that. And then the hard part for me was like, okay, then there was no course after that of how do you scale this and how do you systematize this and how do you, like you created this MVP and people are using it, but what if too many people start using it and you need to rebuild it because the technology isn’t sound? So like that was where things just like started to crumble is as our company started to grow, I was not trained or capable and didn’t have any life experience ever even really working for a private company, let alone a tech company. I had no idea. I was an academic and an activist. And so I had no idea what to do. And so I applied for an accelerator a little after a year in, because that’s what you do, right? You go to Y Combinator, you go to another accelerator, you learn how to scale your company. And part of the criteria for getting accepted into the accelerator was having co-founders because it’s really, really unlikely to be, you’re unlikely to be successful as a solo founder of a tech company. Certainly at scale, you can’t, you can only grow so big. So that’s where Sandy and I joined forces. I asked Sandy to come aboard to our company as my co-founder, and she graciously accepted. 

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

So you each started separate companies. Was yours the Connectable that you had started within that? Ah, okay, so you each founded something. Are you still involved in that?

 

Sandy Conery:

I just sold it.

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

Congratulations, that’s the tech dream, right? To sell and get out, or at least that’s what we’re shown. So once you started to realize the scaling was gonna be difficult, you guys teamed up and you were in an accelerator. What did you get out of that program?

 

Sandy Connery:

Back then the company was called Namastream in that version. And so I joined Jenny one night when she was like, I just got accepted, but the condition is that I have to have co-founders and will you be my co-founder? And I knew that the company that I had created from the course we took, Connectable, was a very small market and was never going to be millions and millions of dollars. Like there just wasn’t, you know, there’s only 500 people that it was serving. So I knew there was limits. So I figured I could do both. So I agreed to come on and I was going to run the company so that she could participate in the accelerator because it was in Seattle. So she had to physically go to an office downtown and I would just start taking over the inbox and handling clients and the money and all the things. And so my experience is that every day, well not every day, but pretty close, she would call crying. She would be so emotionally distraught, like over and over and over again. It was, we learned a lot, but it was not easy. And I will let Jenny like talk about why it was so emotionally, so much turmoil.

 

Jennifer Barcelos:

For people who haven’t been through the experience of starting and scaling a tech company, accelerators play this kind of pivotal role in the space where usually you come into an accelerator with an idea and a team and you get a little bit of money in exchange for giving up some percentage of equity of your idea, really, of your new company. And then you get four months or six months or whatever it is in order to kind of incubate the idea and figure out how to go from there, usually raising more money so you can actually like test out the idea. We were a little bit backwards because the system that Sandy and I had learned taught us to validate the idea and get paying customers and pre-sell the idea prior to creating it because we didn’t have any money. We both started our companies with no money. And so we came in having a customer base and a product that people were using every day. And so we didn’t quite fit the mold of a typical accelerator business. And there was one other company in our cohort that had revenue. And so the first odd thing that I learned in that accelerator was that it was actually a liability to have revenue. It’s much better to be pre-revenue and tell the story of how many you know, millions of dollars and billions of dollars you can make than to actually have any money coming in. Because the money that you have coming in as an-early stage company is not going to look appealing to venture capitalists. And so like, that was like a mindfuck for me. And, um, and I was so proud of what we had made and what we were doing and to be sort of constantly kind of penalized for having done that was very challenging. Because the idea is that you make your product free or very, very cheap in order to get market share, right? And then some day down the line, you figure out how to monetize what you’ve created. And then in the interim, you have this grandiose story of when you do monetize, you’ll be a unicorn worth a billion plus dollars. And so that was hard. And I will also just say being a female founder is hard. So when you’re in an accelerator, what you’re really learning to do is create a pitch deck and fundraise. So I was getting daily practice with angel investors and with some bigger VC firms, and those experiences to do that as a female are, like I would say, traumatic, and I would say would be a very rare instance that there was not kind of very real trauma associated with those daily experiences. So in one case, I pitched to a group of angel investors, I had business cards, and they were little tiny cute cards from Moo.com with our logo on one side and my picture on the other with my email address, my role in the company and our website, and like a man had scratched a big X out over my face and written the word hate on my business card and handed it back to me as I walked out of a room. So like in what other context do you have a person treating you like that? And my background, you know, I had come from academia previously to this, so I was used to feeling some level of respect. I mean, like I was used to people being respectful to me. And I think that’s just one example there. I have a lot of examples. But that just illustrates sort of the weird dynamic, that sort of unnatural dynamic that people who have money have in this world with, especially in the startup world. And yeah, I mean, they’re terrible to guys too, but there is like a different level of, I think, unease that women have in those spaces.

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

I worked for a year as a community manager inside of a startup accelerator in a much smaller market in Des Moines, Iowa, but it was all men. And I think there was one female founder and me in a very male space. And it was quite an experience. There were great things and also some things that were very difficult. And I wasn’t doing what you were doing. I was just managing community. But I know that it was, that there can be a bit of a I don’t know, a bro culture inside of some of those tech spaces. You talked a little bit about with the VC part of it abd the in the outward facing. But what about internally inside of the accelerator?

 

Jennifer Barcelos:

Let’s talk about diversity. Sandy, do you wanna tell our diversity story?

 

Sandy Connery:

I went down a few times to be with Jenny and was able to attend some of the sessions in person and the one time – this is actually the only thing I remember from actually being there, is that we were presenting something around marketing and Jenny had done a lot of marketing. So, we were presenting our sort of funnel and I don’t even think they knew what the word funnel was and we had the big clipboard and we were drawing and stuff and we were in a glass, an office with a glass wall glass wall where all the tables, where all the teams, you know, worked every day. And one of the co-founders of the accelerator said to us, you know, really impressed with you too, you know, so on and so on, but I really think if you are serious about fundraising, what you need to do is get a man on your team. You need to diversify your team. Like you guys need a CTO and it should probably be a guy if you’re serious about fundraising. And I just remember like my eyes from looking at him just drifting up and looking through the glass at all of the male teams, and not a single one had a female on it and I know that they were not being told the same information. And I do believe that the gentleman who said this, he said it with our best interest at heart. He was saying this as like truly good advice, you know, like if we want this goal, consider diversifying. And as ridiculous as it sounds, I do think he meant he had good intentions, but it was just like, I, what? I just remember glancing at Jenny like, what the hell is happening here? Does he not see all the men behind him without any diverse team at all? It was just bizarre.

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

Well, that brings us to funding, because he’s telling you you need that for funding. And I noticed on your website, and actually Kelly Dials, who’s gonna also be a guest on the show, who introduced us, mentioned that you had a heck of a ride with funding. And so I’m excited to talk a little bit about that. And I noticed on your website that you said that you had to turn down traditional funding sources in order to stick with your values and mission. And so I would love to hear a little bit about your journey into funding as a tech company and as women and what that experience was like and how it may have been different from what you’ve noticed with male founders.

 

Jennifer Barcelos:

I’m just gonna say, like, first of all, we have a lot of copycat companies that have been well-funded. So that’s part of our difficult relationship with funding is that, especially in the post-pandemic era, we have had just like, like countless copycat companies pop up, lots started by like young guys from either Stanford or Harvard in particular, athletes, who just kind of go and follow the path that’s like easy for them, right? And they’re literally just like looking at what we’re doing and taking our ideas and getting funding to try to go take them bigger. So that’s like a daily practice for me, like to just absorb that reality and just try to understand what are the circumstances in the world that kind of create that reality. Yeah, so we soft circled about half a million dollars as we came out of that accelerator from an entire group of women, not a single guy, was in our round. And basically almost every woman we talked to joined our round. So out of, I don’t know, 60 people, we talked to like six women, like five of them were wanting to join our round. So I can tell VC stories. Yeah, there’s plenty of VC stories, but yeah, those were angels. We walked away from that round partly because I, and I think we, had a really difficult relationship with a person who would have been our lead investor. And you know, it’s great that women want to fund women, but there’s also like this element of hazing that happens from some women to women like us. And so we just frankly weren’t interested in that. I think especially for women who like kind of rose to power and wealth through traditional systems, whether it was Wall Street or kind of some of the older tech companies, there was just an amount of like hazing is the only word that comes to mind that they went through that they were sort of like wanting to do to us in order to prepare us, like out of love. It was like out of love, I’m going to be very hard on you because it’s hard to be a woman in this space. And so I am going to kind of put you through the wringer so that you come out the other side capable of continuing on. And I think that that idea, like Sandy and I both like wrestled with that for many months as we were debating taking on funding or not, because again, we were making money without external funding. And so it wasn’t like, oh, we have to bring in money or the doors close tomorrow. We had other choices. So for us, I think ultimately some of the weird energy between the investors and us, like we didn’t wanna buy into, but also there was some outdated notions of how to build a business. Like we were, our lead investor really wanted us to open an office in downtown Seattle to have fax machines and office furniture. And we were building a, like Sandy is Canadian and I’m American. We were building a remote company, a remote team back in 2015, 2016. And so like pre-pandemic, like we had a vision for the kind of business we wanted to grow. And it did not involve bringing a bunch of people to one place and showing up at an office every day. So that was like a real deal breaker, I think in the end. Sandy, I don’t know if you want to jump in on any of that.

 

Sandy Connery:

The struggle was that there was a path in front of us that is traditional VC and this is how you grow a tech company and here are the rules and here’s how it’s going to go and we wanted that but it like clashed with what we had been doing, what we knew about ourselves. It felt like if we took venture capital, we were following the rules and we want to follow the rules because we’re socialized as women and like, let’s do the right thing. Let’s like do this, this is how you’re going to grow your company. You have to do these things. But oh my God, I don’t want to do those things. I don’t want to do anything she says. I don’t want to talk to her. It was like that. And again, like Jenny alluded to is months of decision. We had this sort of soft circle round and we had to decide like, are we going to take the money and go down that path do we do something differently? And it was one of the hardest decisions, I think, that we had to make together in the history of our business, because we were basically turning our back on money and following a different path. But we ended up making that decision to turn that money down because of how it felt. It felt awful, it felt abusive, it felt controlling, it felt off. Like, I don’t, what? Like, I could just, no, like I just didn’t want to do it. So we made the hard decision to do that. The other thing that became very apparent and now looking back, it was like very obvious, but Jenny and I had both really jumped into online business webinars and funnels and email marketing and all those fun things. And we had built or she had up until I came, she had done that. And as she said, had revenue in the company because of using, with using these online marketing strategies. And that world, that venture capital accelerator tech world knew nothing about it, right? And now that’s how we grew. That’s how, that’s like, as soon as we left the accelerator, we ran four webinars and raised the money that we needed to, to rebuild the platform, right? And everybody was like, you what? You did what? What did you do? And I was like, yeah, just watch us. We’re gonna go a different direction.

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

I know that feeling and I think so many people can relate to that feeling, and we are conditioned to be good girls as women and to follow those rules and to not question them. So I know you said it took months, but especially knowing that like Jenny, you were going into the saying, I wanna make money so that I can do good things with that money and here’s money being presented to you. How did you come to that place of making that decision? I know that it must have been very difficult. What gave you the confidence to say we can do this without that traditional money that’s the way we’re supposed to do this?

 

Jennifer Barcelos:

Sandy called me from summer holidays in a blueberry field and said, Jenny, let’s not do it. I’m like, okay. That’s what, like, we were both like, teetering on that fence for so long that it was really, I feel like your idea, Sandy, to just say like, I believe we can do it another way and I believed you. So I believed Sandy. And so like for me, that was it. So Sandy, where did your belief come from? Cause mine came from you.

 

Sandy Connery:

Well, I think that is the beauty of a partnership because if I was maybe in charge all by myself, maybe I would have just followed the rules and taken the money and trusted that that’s how it’s done and so this is how I’m going to do it. But I think that collectively, like together, we are so much stronger with our ideas and our brains and our personalities, and we’re I don’t really know. Like I just, I think maybe it was more like, I don’t want to do that, so let’s go try this. You know, like there’s more desire to not go down that money pathway with people dangling the half million in front of us. Because I just had come out of a career that I wasn’t, you know, like I ran, it was great, it ran its course and then I became very unhappy and I didn’t want to go into something else like it wasn’t fun. And it was really fun to work with Jenny, so let’s just see. And I think I remember saying, let’s just make up, this probably wasn’t the right exact words, but it was like, let’s just do this differently and make up a new way to do it. Like that was what in that blueprint field when I was talking to you, it’s like, let’s do this differently and see what we can do. Can we forge a new path that no one’s ever done before? And that felt so exciting to me. And I knew that Jenny and I as teachers and leaders and feminists and coaches could do it. Like I knew that, but nobody, we had not had any role models who were going to self-fund a tech company before, but why the hell not?

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

I love that, and I love that you mentioned like collective and support, and I think that’s so important in entrepreneurship, especially for women as a whole and entrepreneurship to not, that going-it-alone mentality, it’s so hard. Having someone else or a community of people you can go to in those hard moments to get that support. Because sometimes it is. Like we just need some permission. You know, we need someone else to validate how we’re feeling and say, that’s okay. And that like that is often enough to just say, okay, I’m not like every, the world out there is telling me I’m wrong, but I have this support system that’s telling me what I’m thinking here is okay. So I love that you had that for each other. Well, let’s finish the story before I talk a little bit more about just sort of tech on the whole of what you did next. So you self-funded, you talked about webinars and raised money. How has it been going since? Have you been getting traditional funding? Have you been continuing to go on your own? What does that look like?

 

Jennifer Barcelos:

So we just kept going and we kept growing and we learned a lot about internet marketing and we’ve grown a lot over word of mouth because we have a phenomenal technology product. So I think we built our business as if it were not a technology company, as if it were more of like a coaching business or something like that. We just treated it a little different than I think, like a lot closer than people would treat a tech company. And then when the pandemic hit, we had like, I think both of us were at that stage. We’ve arrived prior to the pandemic, we were quite happy with the number of customers we had and the revenue. It was a pretty decent, great business that didn’t have a tremendous amount of overhead. And then COVID hit and we exploded literally overnight. And we went from a team of two of us and then two halftime dev team members and one part-time assistant to a team of 22 full-time people within three weeks. And so, yeah, our biggest funding engine was actually our customer base during the pandemic. So we were. right place, right time. I like to say that we saw the future, and we created it. Like we had been educating the wellness industry because that’s our primary industry that we’ve worked in. We now serve all creators, but we had been educating the wellness industry since 2014, really about the need to take their teaching and practice online. And we had been working with the early adopters up until that point and then all of a sudden the world shut down and literally every single person needed to catch up to the early adopters and we had created the exact right platform. So we were like Zoom, like we exploded. And so that was a lot of our growth has happened there. We did have a small angel round post-pandemic because people were like literally throwing money at us. Like we could have raised any amount of money in like 2021. We did raise a small angel round to test some things, but we’ve raised very little compared to most of the actors in our space and we did not go down the VC route, although I don’t know how many VC firms we’ve talked to in the last few years, at least 50. And there’s reasons that those conversations didn’t turn into anything bigger. I think we’re very political. Sandy and I have a very specific way of thinking about technology, about thinking about the creator economy. And ultimately, our best funders are our audience. When we make something good, people buy it. And so it’s really hard to not just let that be what funds your company, because when you make something good, people buy it and you get to keep control.So my number one kind of paranoia about building a company is not having control. And we have seen it there. I’m not gonna speak for anyone else, but there was one other female founded team in our accelerator cohort out of nine or 11 companies. And one other one, and that founder was pushed out of her company. And you raise enough money, you dilute yourself in the equity, on the board, and it’s game over, especially as a woman. I mean, it happens to guys too, but you get pushed out. And so I’m not ever willing to be in that situation, ever, for one minute. So that’s the real answer.

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

That’s perfect because you went exactly where I wanted to go, which was around your, you have a very specific view around technology and the creator economy. And that’s a political view. And I know on your website, you say clearly that you’re feminists, which I love. And so I’m wondering, because you mentioned on the website that you ‘believe technology is a way to shape how we experience the world and it’s our mission to expand who has a seat at the table.’ So who’s missing from the table in the tech industry? And what’s your experience or what is it that you believe that women especially bring to the table that’s currently missing? Because I have a feeling this fits into your vision, right?

 

Jennifer Barcelos:

I just want to start with the creator economy. So women are the majority of the creators in the creator economy. Like that statistic is just a fact. The female population makes less money than the male population of creators, right? So this is just like mirroring everything else in society. So women are making the stuff, but not making like a fair amount of money from what they create. Like look at the content on Instagram when you’re scrolling, right? It’s like so much content being created by women and like how are women being compensated? So part of our vision with our platform, is that we don’t take the money, we don’t take a single cent from anyone. Like they pay transaction fees and then they pay a flat fee to use the platform, like paying rent, but we don’t take any of the money that people earn. And so many of the bigger creator companies don’t follow that model. They either charge a flat fee like we do and then also a percentage, or if you’re thinking about like the social media platforms, they’re obviously just making money off of the from advertisers off of the content on the backs of the creators. And I just, I think for me, this is such a new way of working in the economy. And thinking about investors and VCs, like this is one of those points of contention is how you monetize your people. And we will never, ever, ever take a percentage of the money that people make. And that is a sticky wicket for investors. And I just, it’s not gonna happen. That goes against our beliefs. So that’s one example of how our kind of feminist views show up in the way that we’ve crafted the platform. We also just, we don’t gamify what we’ve made. And there’s a lot of gamification built into most creator platforms. And I think like our role as like sort of the thing running in the background is to help a teacher or a coach or creator to bring value to their audience, not to like attention grab from those end users, which user is a problematic word, but we can just let that sit for a second. But like, that’s not the point. And there’s just so much like psychological manipulation that we could build into our tech that we actively have walked away from that maybe would have made the product more sticky for some people, or maybe would have made us more appealing as an option. And yet our values prevent us from doing that. Like I’m not interested in holding anyone’s attention hostage for any reason. I don’t care if that makes me money. Like, no, like we all have our line in the sand, right? Like I am not going to make money by putting poison out on the internet.

 

Sandy Connery:

We have been criticized for that and I think we probably could have made a lot more, I mean, not, we would have made a lot more money if we took a revenue share from our users, right? We would be a lot more attractive to a lot more people who would want to invest in us. And I think once we decided that the blueberry field decision, like we’re going to try to do it our own way, we’ve really stuck to that. And it just sort of snowballs the confidence like, no, we are willing to, the end goal is not to sell a platform for $100 million and be the next Uber-like unicorn. It’s to create something in the world that impacts the lives of women who, and specifically allow them to make more money, to earn more money in this world so that their lives improve and that they have more safety and more choice because they’re able to keep the money. And that doesn’t really fly with them, they don’t care about that, investors. They don’t care about that at all. So I think. I’m proud of it, but it’s not been easy. And there’s, you know, like Jenny mentioned the copycat, like that was really hard to see that, that they copied us, turn around and raise $2 million.

 

Jennifer Barcelos:

Or $7 million or $25 million. I mean, our biggest competitor has raised in the post-pandemic years, $550 million. Like these are sums of money that are like hard to even comprehend, right? And so like, we’re just not that brand. We’re not that company. We are not anti-money, obviously, we both are in this to make money. It is a business. But I also believe we’re forwarding this idea that you can make good money by doing good work. And that is a hard thing to do in our culture and in our economy. But yet we’re doing that. How much is enough, I guess, is the big question. Do we have to be a billion dollar company to be considered a good company? And we made that decision, Sandy and I both, that no, we don’t need that unicorn status in order for us to consider that what we’ve made is good enough.

 

Sandy Connery:

And I think what’s so interesting is the, our clients or potential clients or a woman who might be like thinking about taking her expertise online and, you know, creating a membership or coaching or whatever it may be. And they’re sort of looking out there in the landscape of the teaching platform options and they sometimes come at us and say, wow, you guys are expensive. And like, we have to just deep breath, calm because I wanna just yell and scream and because those competitors have $550 million that they can put into marketing, that they can charge a very low fee so that they can show the growth to the investors and they’re basically subsidized by the venture capital that’s sitting in their account. We don’t have that. And first of all, $125 a month is right now currently the price to work on Marvelous, which is not like you’re running entire freaking business for $125 a month so in my mind, there’s no world that that is expensive, but there are companies that do similar work to us that are backed by venture capital and can under-price and under-charge and lose money on every single client, and that is not the biz. No other business in this world can operate like that. That is not business. I don’t know what that is. That’s just messed up. So I just wish the public knew that. You think that we’re just being expensive and taking all the money? No. We’re actually, there’s hard costs. We’re running a lot of hard costs for every client that we bring on and we have to charge accordingly because the only money we have is what comes into our bank account like every other regular business out there in the world.

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

The model you talked about is this traditionally bro, ego-driven growth driven model of tech. Yeah, would you put on your website and I totally relate to that. And to me, it’s like a house of cards. It’s like it’s built on sort of one promise after another, but nothing real. And eventually.

 

Jennifer Barcelos:

Yeah, until it either collapses or they have to raise the prices because they ran out of their runway of funding, right? So like, oh, surprise, we’re going out of business, which harms you if you’re using the platform and you’ve built your business on it, which those people come to us in tiers and we try to migrate them over from our failed competitors. Or, they raise the prices unilaterally, which is also happening all the time, right? So you get used to, oh, I built my business and it’s $97 a month and I’m comfortable. Well, guess what? You don’t get to keep that price when their investors say, you need to return a higher return this quarter. You are just literally a little pawn in somebody else’s game. Like you are not the product. You’re not the point. 

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

All with the mission to get investors rich and to get that founder perhaps rich, right? And that’s all what you’re upon in the game of trying to make other people wealthy. Let’s talk about the upsides because I know walking your values can be very hard. It’s something that we all aspire to do. And then when push comes to shove, when money comes to play, sometimes it can be hard It’s very hard to say, no, I’m really gonna walk my values here. There are costs, real costs that you’ve talked about. What are the gains? What are the gains for you guys for doing that?

 

Sandy Connery:

We have a company that we control and that we love. And I think the contribution, you know, in whatever tiny way to women out there, to women entrepreneurs, the women who have these dreams and these goals, that’s the upside. Like we’ve created something that works, that is solid, that is beautiful, that is easy to use and they keep the profit. And so I think the upside are the clients and the businesses that they create. It’s beautiful to watch.

 

Jennifer Barcelos:

Yeah, and we’ve modeled something, right? We’ve modeled it in different ways possible. We have created curriculum around self-funding. This idea, there’s, you know, bootstrap is talked about a lot in the tech space. Very few people actually succeed at bootstrapping, but we don’t even talk about ourselves as having bootstrapped the company. We literally have created and sold auxiliary things, and our brand has created coaching programs and online courses and trainings and workshops and, like you name it. We have built and sold things that are also of service as a way of self-funding our own tech company. And I think that that’s a really powerful example to show to other women. I have founders, we’ve had founders reach out to us for years, like women who want to start tech companies, whether it’s in the beauty industry or the travel industry or what have you. We need women in all of these spaces. Like there’s still hardly any of us in tech. And I, whenever I hop on a call with a future founder or someone’s just getting started, I always talk about this self-funding idea because you don’t need venture capital money if you can self-fund and you don’t need to have a trust fund to self-fund. And Sandy and I found this other way, right? Where we could make, you know, that first webinar series we did, we brought in $60,000 in a week. And like, who can make $60,000 in a week? You can. You just have to understand how to make things that actually help people, and then put a price on them and how to use the internet. There’s skills, but you can do it. And we’ve gotten really good at that. So I should also say, we split into two companies last year. So Sandy now is day-to-day running one of our companies, and I’m running the other. And we’re both co-owners of both. We both work on both to some degree. Um, but what we created and what’s really been magical over the last eight years of working together is now we’re running two very successful businesses. Um, and we’re modeling how to do this. And I think we need to see more examples of women making money by doing good work.

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

Tell me a little bit more about the two companies because I don’t know that I’m fully aware about that and I’m interested to hear what that’s about and like what was the motivation for that?

 

Sandy Connery:

So we talk about self-funding, and what we did was we funded our software company by selling coaching programs. So we bundled up a year of coaching with us and a year of the software. And so we had all these packages and that is what we sold as our high ticket. And those large chunks of money went right back into the software to pay for marketing and developing and all the things. And then last year we just realized that it was getting a little bit muddy, and that if we ever wanted to, we wanted to clean it up. Like what exactly is the revenue from the coaching? What exactly is the revenue from the software? We wanted the software to finally be able to stand on its own two feet, like the revenue that comes in can pay all the expenses. So we went through the process of just legally creating a new entity for the coaching company, it’s called And She. So, And She is what I head up, and I run all the coaching programs through that. It’s clean. We’ve got a new Stripe account. So, all the coaching revenue comes in there and then all the Marvelous, the software company comes into different. So, it’s just clear. Like, we can see what we have. When it was just the two of us, it was fine. But now that we’ve got a bigger team and, you know, and eventually there will be an exit at some point, I would imagine. And we just don’t want that muddled. Plus we put, as Jenny just described, a lot of IP into these programs. We have a podcast and we have courses and we have coaching concepts. We just wanted that separate from the software company.

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

I’m curious about the name because I feel like there might be a story to that. What is Anne She about? What does that mean to you?

 

Jennifer Barcelos:

It started with the name of our podcast really. So our podcast together is called And She Spoke. And I think we both love, it’s like a poetic phrase. We love the images that evokes and the thoughts that that evokes. We’re both really multi-dimensional women. Like, we’re both moms. We both have advanced degrees in interests and fields of study and we’re just so much more than being one thing. And we wanted to have a place to talk about that. So I think so often in our careers, we get pigeonholed as like, for me, for a decade, I was the climate justice person whenever I would go out to dinner or see anybody or speak anywhere, like every single thing directed at me was like a question about climate change. And like that’s just a huge part of my expertise and who I am, but it is certainly not all. And then for a long time it was like, oh, you’re the person that runs that yoga software company. And it’s like, no, no, like that’s so such a limiting way of speaking about ourselves. Like it’s just not actually true. So we wanted to create a place, like our podcast, is where we can kind of show up as our full selves, and we can talk about leadership and we can talk about business and we can talk about money and we can talk about like women in tech and like all these kinds of things that are interesting to us, and that we think need to be talked about more is that space. So And She is like, and she spoke and she built a company and she’s a mom you know, and she made a hundred million dollars and she loves race car driving. Like we are both so, and she’s a beekeeper, like Sandy and I want to be fully embodied and so that’s the brand.

 

Sandy Connery:

I’m the beekeeper and the race car driver, wanna be, just fyi.

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

And I love that because I so many of my clients and just women I speak with have that feeling of like, especially in business, this idea that I’m supposed to be one thing we get this marketing message, you have to have one message, you have to do one thing, be one thing, talk about one thing. And it feels so limiting for so many people because we are whole complete people with whole complete lives and so many other things going on. This idea that we’re just one thing is really, it doesn’t feel good. It feels like so restrictive.

 

Sandy Connery:

We’ve also worked that whole concept, what you just said, Becky, into the way that we teach marketing because so many people want to show up online in a way that’s like, I am this thing and I teach this or I coach on this. And we have this method where we show you how to bring the ands in. Like when you go out and speak and stand up and be visible in your marketing. Bring those interests in. Talk about your beekeeping and your love of Formula One or whatever it may be, you know, and it makes you so much more interesting and distinct and you’re clearly telling potential clients out there that you are the teacher coach for them or not. And so we really have a, we talk a lot about the word and, like your ands, like what else are you and use it because it’s really a beautiful thing.

 

Jennifer Barcelos:

And it’s your magic sauce if you’re in business. 

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

I wanna go back really quickly though to one more thing about money and finance and economy and I know you talked about being feminist, you talked about your enough, like what’s enough, which is my favorite thing to ask. I love asking that question for people because capitalism never encourages us to ask about enough. Capitalism was all about more, more, more, now, now, now. There’s never that question about what’s enough. And so when you think about like, money, running a business enough, the way you show up, how do you define or think about a feminist economy? How does that look different from, or a feminist business model? How does it look different from the traditional vision of running a business or having an economy?

 

Jennifer Barcelos:

I think about this a lot. Yeah, I mean, I think that it’s just a much more sustainable and holistic way of seeing how your business fits into the rest of your life and into your values. So what we learn about in the neoliberal economy is that you maximize profit and you have this growth for growth’s sake, and that’s literally what’s rewarded. That’s legally what’s rewarded. That’s what a board demands of a publicly traded corporation. It’s why Amazon is constantly buying a pharmaceutical startup or any random thing. Because Amazon, the only way Amazon is successful is if it’s growing. Even though it’s one of the biggest, most powerful companies that’s ever lived, or not lived, that’s a terrible Freudian slip. But if it’s ever come into existence, it’s not enough. It’s literally never enough. Like modern capitalism is cancer. And so like, okay, so this is the world in which we live, so how do we decide what our boundaries are and what’s okay? So like, I think about like regenerative ideas a lot, like what can I create? And I’m a founder, I’m like a serial founder. I’m like an ideas person. So what can I make that’s actually gonna add kind of more back into the whole than what it’s taking. And I think that we’ve done that with both of our companies. Like to me, Marvelous is like net positive to the world, right, but it’s also not a charity. I come from a nonprofit background as well. And the last thing on the planet I wanna do is build another nonprofit. Like that model is so fundamentally flawed to me because it is just like the startup model is fed by the VC funding, the nonprofit model is fed by foundations, which are way more problematic than anything we’ve talked about today, where those foundations get their money. And so, I am all about making things that are net positive and creating more good than what they take. And that’s what these kinds of businesses can do. And I think if your listeners are small business owners, it’s really easy to have a regenerative small business. It’s not hard. Like you’re not the person that’s building a company to like grow, grow, grow, grow. grow indefinitely like the trade-offs that that requires for you personally and eventually for your client base or your customer base are probably bargains you don’t want to make so you’re already probably on the right track. That’s what I would say. That’s that’s why small business and entrepreneurship is like such a beautiful model.

 

Sandy Connery: 

And I think that just having worked with so many clients, I think sometimes as women, we will pull back on the money that we want to make, like some moral issue that it’s like bad to go to like lean into capitalism or bad or wrong to like want to make a half a million dollar or have a million dollar business. And I just like nothing’s going to change if we all stay under a hundred thousand and all the men have all the freaking money and all the power and all the decisions and decide what’s made or not. So I think a lot of our conversations in our communities and coaching programs are around like, it’s okay to wanna make half million or 10 million or whatever it is. Because the only, like right now we just have to face the fact that money gives you power, gives you choice. You can like turn around and invest. I think that’s ultimately our dream together is to have enough money that we can be the investors in other women’s businesses to help them get started because those things need to see the light of day. They can’t fizzle out because someone’s afraid to say out loud that they want a million dollar business or that they have a new idea or you know, it’s hard. We get it. We have been there. And so I just, I also don’t want this like fear of, I totally get the argument, but I don’t want to keep women small. Like capitalism is bad, and making money is bad. Money is just neutral and if we can buy into that, that’s the only way we’re going to change things.

 

Jennifer Barcelos:

One brand of capitalism is bad.

 

Sandy Connery:

One brand of capitalism, thank you.

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

What I’ve noticed with feminist founders is the big difference is the why behind the money, how they want to use the money. And that’s such a different like it’s one thing to say I just want to accumulate wealth because I want to accumulate as much wealth as I can because I want to hoard wealth. That’s that toxic, very toxic, very harmful form of capitalism, late-stage capitalism. I think what I’m hearing from you and what I’ve noticed again and again is when women and other folks who have marginalized identities are amassing wealth, it’s about how do I use that wealth in a way that is bettering the world, bettering other women, bettering my, you know, other folks change, trying to change the world. That to me is such a key difference. And I hear that’s what you all are wanting to do. And you also mentioned on your website, I clearly stalked you about entrepreneurship being a tool for liberation. And it says ‘not just financially, but also mentally and spiritually.’ And I know you’re giving people a tool to be able to make money, to be entrepreneurs, to get started, to sell things, to use their skills to build a company. Why do you feel so strongly about entrepreneurship as a tool for liberation? And what do you mean beyond just financially?

 

Jennifer Barcelos:

It’s your, it’s your, yeah, it’s your freedom, right? Like to do what you want with your time. But it’s also like there’s no more powerful tool I’ve encountered like for self-actualization. It’s not an easy path. Like it’s like going on a hero’s journey. It’s like, I’m going on this like spiritual journey that I’ve decided to go on. And I’m going to run into lots of tricky situations that I’m going to have to figure out how to navigate through. Sandy and I have made that decision to do that together in partnership, but lots of people choose to do it themselves. And it’s just like, it’s actually, you know, it’s so easy, I think in our society to go through life and just sort of numb out and just get through it and take the easy path that’s in front of you. Entrepreneurship is never that path. It is, you’re making something new in the world. You’re going to have to go battle this issue and then you’re gonna have to go conquer that and then you’re gonna have to dig a tunnel over there. And you are testing yourself at every stage of that process and like it takes a certain kind of person to want to do that. And I think women are naturally good at that stuff. So like take it on. And every time you like overcome something hard, you do something you didn’t think you could, like the feeling that comes from knowing you did that. Like Sandy and I went through the pandemic with this company. And I don’t, if I knew what was coming, there’s no way I would have taken it on. But entrepreneurship doesn’t, you don’t get a choice. Like you don’t know what’s coming, like what obstacles next in the video game. And because we both care so much about our company and each other and our community that we’ve created and our client base, like there was no saying no to it. And so I think it shows you what you’re made of. Like we need more of that. Like we need more of that in life. Like I think as humans, as homo sapiens up until the Industrial Revolution, that’s what life was, was like a series of like, not necessarily, like we’re not talking about life-or-death challenges, but it was like, that’s what it meant to be alive. And so like, I don’t know, to me it’s like saying, I wanna live my life in color and I wanna live in a way that challenges me and I grow as a human being. And that’s what entrepreneurship allows. So that’s why we say that.

 

Sandy Connery: 

Just want to add to that I think it’s so important that women stand up and show their thoughts and their thinking and their ideas. Because for centuries, women have been valued for what they look like or how they act and how quiet they are, and just like seen, not heard kind of concept. And entrepreneurship is the opportunity for women to step into their brain and their philosophies and their ideas and their opinions and build something that doesn’t exist in the world and really be valued for their thinking and their intelligence and their originality. That is not, I know it’s 2023, but it’s not always the case. Women still shy away from the spotlight and women still step aside for someone else to take the spotlight. And that is really a core teaching of what we do. And I think it’s a very interesting path to show up when you have a company, to show up even when you don’t want to or when you don’t feel motivated or you don’t feel creative, but you have to. It is a beautiful internal journey of really experiencing this for yourself and building something and benefiting from it. And then the other people, your clients, your customers having benefit from it. So it’s easy to be very passive in life, and it’s hard to be an entrepreneur, but it’s very, very fun. Ish. Sometimes.

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

Fun-ish. I love that. The last thing I wanna ask you about, you’ve already told me about how you’re sort of walking your values in the way that you’re delivering your services, the way that you are selling your product and making sure that it’s. You’re not getting into predatory marketing and you know, the way you’re doing your funding and all of those things. What about internally and the way you’re running the business for yourself, for your team, the way you get back to the community, those sorts of things. How are you walking your values as business managers?

 

Jennifer Barcelos:

I absolutely hate being a manager of anyone. So this is my like kryptonite here. I’m not comfortable with this role. I work so well in collaborative situations. I love partners. Like I love we’re doing something together. When there’s hierarchy, I personally find it revolting. And I am still, this many years into it, very challenged by being anyone’s manager. So I think I have a lot of growth there that I could do, but I also just, I just try to respect people. And I treat them, I feel like I treat our team more like collaborators than people who work for me, and that’s just my personal kind of style. And I’ve seen the problems that happen at times because of that. And I just, Sandy’s a little better at this than I am. So we just have our own kind of style, but I think it’s okay.

 

Sandy Connery:

Yeah, I mean, we just see our clients, our employees, and we don’t have many. We’ve kept it very, very small. They are important to us. We see them, we hear them, we listen to them, we give them freedom. We’re not super strict. We’re not assholes. I don’t think. Time off is important, space, you know, the power to make decisions themselves, all of that. And I do think I’m like maybe, maybe marginally better than Jenny with imagining, but like a hair’s breadth. Like it’s, it’s, it is the most challenging thing we do for sure each day. But we also can’t do this without them, and I think we know that. And we have been very fortunate to gather a really incredible team around us that are like, I value play. I just want to laugh and have fun. The people we have right now do that for me, so I’m happy.

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

I love play and you mentioned not working too hard, you know, rest and those sorts of things which I think are really important feminist values that honor the entirety of a person’s life. What are the ways that you are doing that or that you’re exploring? Because there’s also I love Jennifer that you mentioned your growth edges. We all have those growth edges, and things that we’re still learning and unlearning and working on in our own feminist journeys. So what are you doing now as far as giving rest or time off and those kinds of things? Or what are you wanting to explore?

 

Sandy Connery:

I think I honestly feel like we are just, um, like, like, um, from a business perspective, we are still kind of normalizing coming out of the pandemic because that was just an incredible, stressful busy time for like, it was hard. It was like the hardest thing we’ve done. So now it’s, I finally feel like we’re, we’re in a place that the team size is right. And it’s the first time, like maybe six months ago, it was the first time I was able to, like just speaking personally, I was able to say, okay, Sandy, what are you going to do to play and where are you going to find those moments of rest? Because it was all work, all the time. So I feel like I’m just relearning how to play. And so one of the things I did last summer was take a beekeeping course. And I feel like we had spent literally years in front of our screens every single day and I want to, desperately want to, reconnect with nature. And so I am going to be a beekeeper this summer. So I’m gonna be responsible for two hives, like tens of thousands of little flying insects. It’s completely like complicated and difficult and manual, like physically difficult. I’m so excited, but so terrified. So that really is going to be my like play is to take care of these bees. And then I am also really considering how I get back into being more active because I cannot tell you how stuck we were for the last, well not stuck, like just trapped by the remnants of COVID in our business. And so I feel like we’re just breaking out of that and sort of get to rethink like how do I want my life to look?

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

Jenny, I know that you also, I don’t know if you currently are, but you have had an RV, an Airstream, I believe, that you’ve been a more of a nomadic life. And that’s something that traditional employment often doesn’t allow for. So I’m guessing that maybe is a part of the way that you’re doing things differently, but I’m curious if there’s other things.

 

Jennifer Barcelos:

Well, so I was like falling apart and cracking at the seams and so one time in the summer of 2021, I told, I was like falling apart on a Zoom call and I, I was like, probably crying to you, Sandy. And I was, and I was, I was like, Oh, my husband had gotten a job offer in Connecticut. And we, our home is on a remote island in the Pacific Northwest. And I was like, like, and Sandy and I were coming off of like 18-hour work days, like seven days a week working for years, like working to the ground. I had long COVID, really bad. And I was like, should we take the, should we go to Connecticut? What do, like, it’s gonna take a week to drive across the country and I won’t be able to work. Like we just were, I was like spinning out. And, and I, and you asked me, Sandy, like, what do you wanna do? And I was like, I wanna go live in an Airstream with my family and I wanna work from Joshua Tree and I just wanna travel for a long time. And Sandy said, you should go do that. And so I literally went and bought an Airstream. Maybe not everyone listens to their business partner and best friend when they tell them that, but I literally went and bought an Airstream for my birthday. And so I, yeah, last year we traveled for three months, my family and I, and it was so healing. And it was such a gift to me, because Sandy and the rest of our team really kind of like, I made a lot of calls like from the road, but there’s a lot I couldn’t do. Like I’d be on a truck stop somewhere on the side of the road in Oklahoma, trying to like call into a meeting. And I just, I felt the gift of that. And so travel is really important to me. Currently not traveling, but I’ve taken up writing, like I’m in a writing course, just like essay course, and I’m getting back to that. Like my dream was always that we write a book together, Sandy and I, and then also like when we eventually one day sell our company, like I just wanna write. I have a lot of stories I wanna tell, and so I’m not gonna wait until then. And I don’t know, just working a lot less in general, exploring hobbies. I love a very cool, weird hobby called Bargello, which I don’t know if you know what that is, but it’s a weird 1970s Italian needle point. There’s an amazing woman named Brett who teaches Bargello on Instagram. Everyone should look it up. But I do weird, non-fine art. I’m not an artist in that sense. I’m a true crafter. So I make all kinds of weird stuff and I love crafting. So those are the things that make me happy.

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

Well, I love the goal, I think, of reimagining business in a people first kind of way where we prioritize humanity, our own humanity, the humanity of our clients, the humanity of our team, the humanity of the world around us and the way we give back. Like all of that to me is how do I work less and allow for this fullness of who I am? You talked about, you know, the fullness of who we are and how do you allow for that? And it sounds like you’re finding ways to do that. Those 17-, 18-hour work days, that’s, you know, that is still sort of in that toxic, the ways that we’ve imagined what business has to look like. And I love that you guys are finding your way into what I think is a more feminist view of what business should be. It should support your life and not be your life. So that’s that’s lovely. And I love that you guys are, you know, that’s still we all for anyone listening, like we all have growth edges. We still all have those spaces where we’re improving and learning and doing better. So I think it’s great that you guys are exploring that for yourself. All right. Let me finish up by asking you then an educator or a book or a resource. You just mentioned Brett. Maybe you can give me her like the full name of this educator, but it can be anything that has been really either transformative for you or just really helpful or just something that you want to share with the world. It can be related to tech, entrepreneurship, or it could be crafting. It can be anything. So I don’t know if either of you are have ready to share.

 

Sandy Connery:

I have a really dear friend named Sarah Fisk and she has a podcast called The Ex-Good Girl Podcast and it’s all about people pleasing, or not people pleasing. It’s really good and I think it’s, I don’t know woman that doesn’t have a little touch of that. So that’s a great resource.

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

Yeah, we are all very indoctrinated into that behavior pattern. So I love that. I’m gonna include just for anybody wondering in the show notes, you can go find these resources. And Jenny?

 

Jennifer Barcelos:

So I will just say Seth Godin. He’s a mentor of mine. And if you’re, you know, probably everyone knows who he is, but I just would encourage you to follow his work and his thinking. He’s just kind of, to me, like one of the major thought leaders of our era. And “The Icarus Deception” is my favorite business book, so I always like to recommend that. It’s something that I try to revisit and I think it also kind of plays into kind of feminism too, because it’s the whole moral is like, don’t be, like this, we’re all kind of like afraid of flying too close to the sun, like the myth of Icarus, right? But like there’s, that’s just like a false fear. Like really don’t be afraid of like playing big.

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

Nice, I’ll check that out and I will include it in the show notes. And then the last thing is to ask you about an organization that’s doing good work that you would like to support. As a thank you, I like to support an organization that’s important to both or either of you. And I will encourage the listeners to do the same. Now, Jenny, I know you mentioned some thoughts around nonprofits and that model. Doesn’t have to be a nonprofit necessarily, although it’d be a place making good money.

 

Jennifer Barcelos:

No, I’m okay supporting nonprofits. I just personally think the model is like very broken. We could have a whole giant conversation about that. 

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

And I know that you had a, you have an organization called Three Degrees Warmer, correct? Or is that is that still going on?

 

Jennifer Barcelos:

I co- founded that organization, yeah, back in 2009. And it’s a climate justice organization. So most of my extreme dislike for the nonprofit model does not come from my own nonprofit. I’ll just say that, but it comes rather from the funding models and then some of the work that goes in the bigger organization. So I’ve worked in the past for a number of nonprofits. My first job out of college was with the Sierra Club. I’m not going to say any more on a podcast about that. And I guess I would just say one nonprofit or one organization that we’ve worked with for many years and supported as a brand is Yoga Behind Bars. And it’s an organization that supports yoga classes being offered in prisons. And I think that there is a lot to say. I’m an attorney, and I’m a social justice lawyer. So there’s a lot we could talk about in terms of incarceration, but we need more resources like this in prison. And because our company has primarily worked in the wellness world, this was just the most beautiful kind of marriage of opportunities to see come together, where we could support kind of furthering that programming in prisons.

 

Sandy Connery:

That was my answer too.

 

Becky Mollenkamp:

I’m gonna look up Yoga Behind Bars. I will include information about it in the show notes. And if you got something out of this episode and you feel inspired or motivated, you love what they had to share, I encourage you to also make a donation to that organization. And thank you both for being here. I really appreciate your time and I’ve loved learning from you.

 

Sandy Connery:

Thanks, Becky.

 

Jennifer Barcelos:

Thank you, Becky.

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