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Should Women Brag More? Either Way, We're Bragging About These Women-Owned Businesses

45 small, women-owned businesses for you to support this holiday weekend

Just last week I talked about — or rather, complained about — how women are often told to do things more like men in order to succeed in a male-dominated world, while men are rarely told to act more like women (stereotypically speaking, of course).


And then this week, I stumbled across yet another article suggesting just that: "Women's Key to Business Success - Bragging More."

"Why?!" I wanted to scream internally — when it comes to self-promotion vs. humility, I'll always side with the latter. Surely, we could write a different article suggesting that men who are too confident in their business ideas for their own (or society's) good should brag less. Or perhaps more practically, we could suggest that other evaluation criteria be used in order to allow women's accomplishments to stand for themselves, rather than simply rewarding whomever is best at talking themselves up.

But alas, I know that's not how the world works (at least not yet), so I decided to actually read the article to better understand the author's point. Lisa Curtis is herself an entrepreneur and she thinks a fear of self-promotion is holding women back in business. The Self-Promotion Gap surveyed a nationally representative group of 1,000+ adults in the U.S. and found that:

  • A majority of women avoid talking about their strengths and accomplishments.
  • 69% of women would rather minimize their successes than tell people about them, even though 83% of women reported being inspired by hearing about other women's accomplishments.
  • Older women are 20% more likely to want to downplay their accomplishments than younger women.

Curtis contends that, "While humility is a trait with many virtues, it is not a helpful one in the field of entrepreneurship... Most investors, particularly at early-stages, are investing more in the founders than the idea or product. The more impressive the founder makes herself out to be, the more likely she'll be successful in raising the money she needs to scale."

She goes on to argue that this is likely one of the reasons women start companies at a rate 1.5 times higher than the national average, but male-owned businesses receive 23 times more VC funding. Woah. Serious food for thought.

There will always be a fine line between humility and self-deprecation; self-confidence and arrogance. But wherever you come down on the great bragging debate (and the self-confidence and self-promotion gaps), it's clear that we need to do more to support female founders.

If that means encouraging women to feel more comfortable talking (or "bragging") about their accomplishments, then great. But I think it should also mean supporting other women by lifting each other up. If you're talking with someone who seems to be uncomfortable sharing their accomplishments, try saying something like, "I'm really interested in hearing more about your career and successes. What's something you've done lately that you're really proud of?"

And, perhaps most importantly of all, brag about all the amazing and impressive women you know! After all, it's not really bragging if you do it for somebody else — it's called giving a compliment. And it's wonderful.

So in the spirit of women bragging on behalf of other women, we're sharing 45 small, women-owned businesses for you to support this holiday shopping weekend. Ditch the big box stores and give these small businesses a try on Cyber Monday! (And don't forget to share your favorite women and minority-owned businesses in the comments!)

45 Small, Women-Owned Businesses to Support This Holiday Season

For foodies, winos, and coffee/adult-beverage enthusiasts:

For personal, unique, and affordable holiday gifts:

For the kiddos:

For all your home decor needs:

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