Starting BOXFOX in 2014 was a risky undertaking for many reasons; the three of us were all working (demanding!) full-time jobs, we were under the age of 25, and we started an inventory-heavy business from a less-than-spacious apartment in Venice, CA. Something that never felt like a “risk” in those early days though? Our position as “female founders.”
This might come as a surprise because of the troubling stats about the number of venture-backed women-owned startups (spoiler alert: around 3%). However, for us, being female always felt like a gift (pun intended). Due to our personal and professional experiences as women, we got close enough to this hole in the marketplace to identify it. We then created a comprehensive service based on a core belief we all held—that gifting should be accessible, elevated, and beautiful.
We have so many women to thank for inspiring us to start this business because they paved the way for us to be able to do so. On International Women’s Day, we’d like to recognize the work of women before us. Their selfless resiliency, hard work, and sacrifice have elevated our world to a place where three women like us had the opportunity to even start BOXFOX.
To Amelia Earhart, Gloria Steinem, Katherine Johnson, Frida Khalo, Marie Curie, everyone who’s ever been a mom, anyone who's ever challenged something that was unfair, everyone who’s spoken up and kept speaking up even when it got harder, every suffragette, every woman who's ever run for office, and any one who has stood up for themselves, we thank you.
Our goal in writing this memo today, on International Women’s Day, is to inspire any woman reading this to feel the same way we continue to feel about our “female founder” status—proud, energized, and empowered. To that end, we’d each love to share one piece of advice that has helped keep us grounded and moving forward, day in and day out.
1. "Remember why you started.” — Sabena
Business, like life, is unpredictable. It’s also full of challenges that at times, feel insurmountable. When those moments arise, the key is to remember your vision. We’re making the world a kinder, more thoughtful, more generous place. That’s a pretty great motivator for me to get through any roadblock.
2. "Get in the trenches.” - Jenni
When you believe in your idea to your core, no job is too small. In launching this business, we did it all ourselves: planning, packing, lifting, chasing, negotiating…you name it. Four years later, this is still our philosophy. We come to work ready to do whatever it takes, even when that means rolling up our sleeves and doing it ourselves.
3. "Don’t take no for an answer.” - Chelsea
We always say that if we had taken no for an answer when we started BOXFOX, it would have been over before it saw the light of day. People that are too afraid to do what you have worked up the courage to do will give you a million reasons why it can’t, shouldn’t, hasn’t been done. Do it anyway.
We’re so proud to be building the kind of company that exists because of our women’s intuition. Kindness, tolerance, understanding, learning about each other - women are doing it and making small practical steps towards the world being a better place.
In conclusion, why are we writing this?
Because we’re in such wild and crazy awe that while women have worked so long and hard just to survive, they’ve simultaneously given so much of themselves so the women beside them could thrive.
Chelsea, Jenni, and Sabena
PS: Have a great day everyone! Except that one ex-boss who told us 90% of startups fail and that our business would probably be one of them.