Intuit – the maker of TurboTax, QuickBooks, and Mint – is proud to be a sponsor of the inaugural “The 19th Represents,” a five day virtual summit that commemorates the centennial passage of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote. Although this is the centennial anniversary of the Amendment, its promise has not been fully realized for all American women, especially women of color and the underserved. This week diverse female voices spoke on gender and racial equality, electability, breaking the glass ceiling, and truly extending the right to vote to all women.
At Intuit, we believe you cannot have prosperity without equality and we are here to support female entrepreneurs, like Allison DeVane, and all women in the workplace.
Allison is a QuickBooks customer who founded a company called Teaspressa in Phoenix, AZ. She sells tea that’s brewed like coffee – it’s got foam, and you can get latte art on the surface. In the five years since Allison founded her business, she’s opened four stores and also sells all sorts of tea related products online. We spoke with Allison to her more about her story as a woman founder and small-business owner.
Tell us more about Teaspressa?
Allison: I founded Teaspressa five years ago and started with a cart in the streets of Phoenix, Arizona. We have a patent on making tea like espresso. It’s very similar to your favorite espresso drink except for a shot of tea that has just as much caffeine. Our process has the same consistency as coffee and some customers have told us they can’t tell the difference with the added bonus that it has health benefits of tea with no crash or jitters.
How would you describe a typical day running your own business?
Allison: I typically wake up at 6 am. I enjoy having some time for myself where I can think and get ready for the day. 7am to 9am is the most critical time for me to get the most important things done in the day. This may include coming up with new plans, new proposals and projects that require more attention and thought. After that, I open myself up to connecting with employees and doing my rounds in the stores. I rarely eat lunch sitting down and am often eating lunch in the car or between meetings. After lunch, I work on creative projects and in the late afternoon, I schedule any in-person meetings. My evenings involve meeting up with friends or spending time with my family. I used to work seven days a week but I’m trying to get better at consolidating work tasks Monday through Friday but it’s tough.
Is there someone who inspired you to start a small business?
Allison: My mother is one of them. From the very beginning she told me that I could do anything that I wanted and that I’d figure out a way to make all of my dreams come true. I didn’t understand or know how until I was introduced to entrepreneurship, where you can be the account manager, the marketing manager and accept money from people for products. All of my dreams have come true and I thank my mom. She inspired me to make something out of nothing.
Can you share your experience as a woman in running a small business?
Allison: Being a woman in business can be very intimidating. Women can often be more conservative in our finances and risk compared to our male counterparts. It was helpful to be aware of these things because this is your competition and this is what you’re doing out against in the market. I know a lot of women who are in male dominated industries. Trust may be more difficult to build and there are other barriers that women may encounter. I realized for me to get two seconds of eye contact or a handshake, I needed to be more confident in myself and in my accolades. The best way to get through it is to learn, be aware of the differences and be yourself. If you have to take an extra step to get that email or phone call, do it.
What does equality in small business mean to you?
Allison: Equality in small business means that you see women owned businesses and minority owned businesses receiving just as much funding. Funding is often a big issue and there’s a huge gap of the lack of funding for women and minority owned businesses such as myself. For a business to be successful, the playing field needs to be more equal. While it may be intimidating to be funded by an outside vendor, it can make you feel validated as a business owner. There’s trust in my business and trust in me.
Our participation this week is one small part of Intuit’s advocacy for reshaping history as we know it—as we work together to achieve equality for all. This work never stops. And neither does our fight for equality, inside and outside the walls of Intuit. Just like the 19th Amendment, we view pay equity and support for female entrepreneurship as unfinished work that can never stop. We are not done.
Together we can empower and lift each other up. We would love to hear from you. Share share on social the story of why you are #NotDone and tag @Intuit.