A few months ago, entrepreneurs Anna Palmer and Vanessa Bruce read that it will take 108 years for women and men to have equal representation in the boardroom. Rather than waiting a century for change to happen, the two created the online subscription service Dough, which highlights women and minority-owned businesses.
"We don’t have time to wait for change to happen from the top down. We created Dough to be a movement of wallet power fighting for equity from the bottom up by doing something really simple — choosing to buy women-led products," Palmer, Dough's Co-Founder, shares with Bustle.
By signing up for the annual membership, members receive a database of women-owned businesses, exclusive discount codes to try brands, surprise goodies mailed throughout the year thanks to a concierge feature, and an initial starter kit filled with women-owned products to welcome you to the club.
"If everyone in the US spent $20 a month at a woman owned business we’d drive nearly five billion dollars towards female led companies monthly. That’s what we call wallet power," Dough's site reads.
Directing your purchase power towards women-led businesses is important, because women receive half the investment money as men. They already start with a disadvantage. The capital gap widens for women of color. Of all venture capital raised in the past decade, Latinx women-led startups raised 0.32% and black women raised 0.0006%.
Now take into account that women control 80% of consumer spending, but represent only five percent of Fortune 500 CEOs. Women have the power to turn their money into economic equity, and the Dough subscription service makes that task easy.
"Our goal is to direct as many dollars to these women led brands as we can to help them grow and scale. Spending on advertising is expensive, and so with Dough our goal is to provide a place where established and emerging brands can connect with members," Bruce, Dough's Co-Founder, tells Bustle. It’s free for brands to be a part of Dough. "Beyond that goal, we have a strong commitment to being a platform for all, and strive to always have 50% or more of our featured companies led by diverse founders."
Right now, Dough has 1,000 founding memberships available, and they cost $89 annually on a first-come, first-served basis. That's less than $7.50 a month. While Dough is planning to expand membership soon, the brand kept the launch small for a specific reason.
"We’re purposefully keeping it small for the founding member batch because we connect each of our members to a personal concierge to help them discover new women-owned products they’ll love. She’s a real human, her name is Mollie," Palmer explains. "We also want to ensure we don’t overwhelm some of our smaller brand partners where it may be only one or two women behind the brand."
The Dough subscription service is essentially a site that introduces you to women-owned brands, and gives you discounts on their products to encourage you to try them. By signing up, you get access to hundreds of women-owned businesses, along with special coupon codes to try their products.
In addition to this, you will get surprise items mailed to you every quarter. Dough's goal is to introduce members to products that once they experience, they'll fall in love. So the concierge will get to know what members like to buy, and then send surprises at least once every quarter.
The idea is that by using the Dough platform and getting introduced to these companies, you will begin to support female-led brands by swapping in products made by women to your daily routine. With every purchase you make, you make a statement about what you value.
Dough will also direct a percent of membership dues to some of these women-owned businesses.
"The Dough community chooses one company to be our 'On The Rise' brand per membership batch, which is a brand with amazing products that is on its way to being something big, but is also one that a number of our members probably haven’t discovered yet," Bruce explains. After trying their product, you can then follow the brand's journey with behind-the-scenes features, Instagram takeovers, and more.
Dough also encourages members to amplify their wallet power by sharing products with friends and social media followers. Dough uses the tongue-in-cheek tag #giveherdough to help you spotlight your favorite products and brands.
If you're interested in signing up, new subscribers will be introduced to the subscription service with a one-time starter kit curated by former Lucky Magazine Editor-in-Chief, Brandon Holley. The box is valued at more than $120, and is filled with women-owned products from brands like Dagne Dover by Deepa, Jessy and Melissa, and GOLDE by Trinity.
Within that goodie box, you also get a fun pamphlet filled with features that introduce you to the CEOs whose brands are highlighted in the kit. This makes you connect with the women behind the businesses on a more personal level.
Or, if you're not ready for an annual service but want to be introduced to women-owned companies, you can sign up to Dough's newsletter. Each week you will discover a half dozen women-owned businesses, delivered straight to your inbox. You can also hop over to Dough's website to check out the hundreds of female-owned businesses already signed up with the platform. You can filter by price, category, diversity, and impact. You won't, however, have access to the exclusive pricing without the subscription. Help women succeed with your purchase power, and those gender gaps might start closing in.