Jessica Bargenquast of Lady ChangeMakers on organic marketing strategies that work
Describe your business in a few words?
Lady ChangeMakers is an exclusive e-commerce platform for women-owned businesses to gain valuable exposure and sales.
Most of my life I’ve been encouraged to be seen and not heard. Growing up extremely introverted and shy I felt invisible. I wanted to create a platform so women-owned businesses could feel seen and heard and receive the support they deserved.
What was your background prior to starting your own business?
I have over 15 years experience in marketing and advertising, operations and project management. I was always job hopping to different positions for the challenge and learning opportunities. Being a CEO of my own company allows me to constantly be challenged and I’m always learning something new!
Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
Nope! I wanted to be a CEO by the time I was 30 but never saw it as owning my own business. I always wanted to be in advertising until I was actually in advertising. I have always found corporate positions to be extremely siloed and unfulfilling. I also have a fail attempt at being an entrepreneur and after that experience I didn’t think I was cut out for owning my own business. Going back into corporate I realized that I would never be satisfied working for someone else’s company. Owning my own business gives me the challenge, excitement and drive I have been looking for.
Take us back to when you first launched your business, what was your marketing strategy to get the word out and did it go as planned?
I grew Lady ChangeMakers completely organically. We went from 50 businesses at the beginning of 2020 to over 700 in 2021. When I first started I didn’t think that I would need to be the face of the company but quickly learned that I needed to grow a community and connect. I had to learn confidence in myself to show up on camera and talk about Lady ChangeMakers. That was one of the biggest lessons I learned in the beginning was to show up for my business.
What is the biggest challenge you have encountered along the way and what did you learn from it?
That Instagram isn’t the end all be all! My Instagram account was randomly deleted mid 2021 and I lost my entire following. I’ve seen this happen to a few people and was already growing my email list and on other platforms, but my biggest presence was on Instagram. I (re)learned something I already knew in the back of my head and from my background…social media is a great tool for brand awareness not always sales. I realized I was relying too much on Instagram to sell my platform and that’s not where most of my sales come from. This has taken a lot of the stress about posting on social for me.
What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?
That I’ve learned to sell…successfully! I was always terrified of selling. I didn’t want to look like a sleazy car salesmen. I’ve been able to learn how to sell in my own quirky, introverted, nerdy way and I am so proud of myself!
Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?
I believe in seasons. I believe we work as hard as we believe we need to work. Sometimes we are building something completely new in our business and that is going to require more work. Other times we can build rest into our schedule. I currently still have a full time job while building my empire and I know it’s going to be busy until my situation changes. Even though I’m busy, I still build in rest into my schedule and stop working (most of the time) at specific times. My calendar is everything right now and time blocking is how I can accomplish as much as I do.
What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?
Lady ChangeMakers is THE platform that consumers will be going to find and support women-owned businesses. We make it easy to shop women-owned in 3 clicks or less. Whether you’re looking for your next lipstick, outfit, accountant, life coach, or event you’ll find it all on Lady ChangeMakers.
What excites you about being an Entreprenista League member?
Networking and creating real relationships with other like-minded women. I LOVE supporting women-owned businesses, it is truly my passion to see us all succeed and rise to the top together.