Interview with Carina Glover, Founder of HerHeadquarters
I have the pleasure of working with Carina and the HerHeadquarters team on an activation for summer 2019! Of all the experiential marketing & pop-ups I’ve done, this one is so aligned with my values. Please see my interview with Carina below.
1. I know we've talked about this before, but can you tell me a bit about yourself and your background?
I'm the oldest of three kids and a native of Omaha, Nebraska. Growing up I was always very ambitious, my biggest challenge was figuring out which of the many careers I was attracted to I wanted to pursue. After attending a private all girls high school, I headed to the University of Nebraska - Omaha on a full ride scholarship and studied Communications & Advertising. In my final semester of college in 2014, I launched my first business, an event planning firm. The business provided services to brands and clientele within the entertainment industry. My first two years of being a business owner was full of struggles, setbacks, and learning opportunities from failure. As a midwest based entrepreneur, I was proud when I eventually found myself working major industry events like the Grammy’s and NFL Honors Awards. Although I reached my high with my business, suddenly and unexpectedly, it seemed like I hated event planning. Deep down I wanted to work with women and have a greater impact beyond just planning events. Throughout my journey I had been connected to women entrepreneurs across the country, which only added fuel to my fire and desire to work with & serve women building empires. The idea of HerHeadquarters came to me in 2017, a few weeks later I committed to the vision of building the platform and was accepted into an accelerator program for entrepreneurs in tech shortly after. I've spent the past 20 months learning my audience, working with our design & development team, and establishing a strong foundation for the brand and platform.
2. What made you decide on the path to entrepreneurship?
I enjoy every sense of the word freedom. Entrepreneurship allows you ultimate freedom: who you hire, what services/products you provide, how you use your platform and influence, how much you want to make, etc. I enjoy knowing that there's no cap on how far I can go and how much I grow this company, working as an employee, you're only grated as much freedom as your position and your superiors allow. Rather I want to make run a company that earns $300,000 a year or one that brings in millions, I can make that happen. While entrepreneurship comes with many sacrifices, I enjoy the freedom of being able to create the lifestyle I want.
3. How did HerHeadquarters get started, and what was the driving force behind it?
My toughest lesson as an entrepreneur came on the first day. I experienced devastation when not one single person showed up to my business’ launch party in 2014 for my then event planning business. I made the mistake of thinking that I would be viewed as more ‘successful’ if I did everything alone. While my event planning business eventually saw success, that lesson stuck with me as my passion for catering to women began to skyrocket. The more I worked with female founders and business owners over the years, the more I noticed that women were open to partnering with one another, but that process often came with various struggles. I reached a point where I wanted to do something bigger and more impactful, one random night everything came to me so clearly and suddenly. I wanted to change the image of women who build businesses through collaborations, to show them as bold and powerful, while also making the process of securing quality local and national collaborations easier and more rewarding.
4. Do you think that it's natural for women to want to collaborate?
I don't think it's natural for everyone. Every woman has had a series of their own unique experiences and environments that molded them into who they are, unfortunately some of those experiences and environments portrayed collaboration in a negative way. However, I do think that compared to men in general, women are more likely to be willing to work together.
5. What are the industries that you focus on and why?
The platform is available to women entrepreneurs who own businesses within the Fashion, Beauty, Entertainment, Events, and PR industries. I wanted to focus on these industries because they're naturally more collaborative compared to others, making the brand owners of companies within these arenas more likely to join a platform like HerHeadquarter.
6.. You just completed an accelerator program with HerHeadquarters. Tell us about that and what it was like!
Early 2018 I was accepted into The Startup Collaborative, an accelerator program for entrepreneurs creating and building tech products. My transition from the event planning world to the unknown territory of tech and with no knowledge or skillsets of design & development was intimidating. I knew what I wanted the final product to be, who the app was for, and how people would use it, but I didn't know where to start. The program was exactly what I needed, it provided structure, but most importantly they stressed the importance of validating the need for the product first. My first step was interviewing, surveying, and conducting focus groups with women entrepreneurs across the country to truly understand their struggles of collaborating. The 15 level program provides a deep drive session into various topic from validation, brand messaging, marketing, sales strategies, role coverage, & more. Each level and session is matched with founder action plans, so you really have to do the work. The program sets you up for success if you're committed to building a company with a strong foundation.
7. Now, it's time to take your mission on the road. What do you have planned for launch?
We're really focused on growing the platform and ensuring that the women who would love HerHeadquarters are aware of it. You'll see this throughout the summer and fall as we release new features, expand to additional cities, and host some major events.
8. Five years from now....where do you see yourself and HerHeadquarters?
I want to make HerHeadquarters the most used collaborating app for women entrepreneurs. My plan has always been to make it so successful that I can use profits from the company to launch another company that also caters to women entrepreneurs.
9. Would you provide a few words of advice to other women considering entrepreneurship?
I would say that passion is not enough, it's very important to be passionate about what you're going to be doing, but that's just one important ingredient to the many that make of the recipe to success. Perseverance, sacrifice, self- awareness, and commitment are equally just as important, among other unmentioned ingredients. Anyone can be successful, but no one is promised an easy journey. If you step into the role of an entrepreneur, it's so exciting with many rewards, but being or becoming mentally strong is a requirement that I didn't expect until a series of hard moments continually hit.
10. How can women get in touch with you if they want to collaborate?
They can download HerHeadquarters directly from Apple and Android app stores, they can also sign up via our website, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.