In 2019, Business.org ranked Austin the third best metro area in the U.S. for women to start a business. Here, nearly one-third of businesses are owned by women, contributing to a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem.
International Women’s Day was observed on March 8 and it is a great time to shine a light on women entrepreneurs especially in the Austin area and Four Points.
Card My Yard — which rents out personalized yard greetings — is one of those businesses. It was started by Jessica Stanley and Amy Arnold of Steiner Ranch.
“Along with our husbands, we co-founded our business, Card My Yard, in 2014,” they shared. “Our main goal with starting our company was simple, serve families and make a positive impact in our community as small business owners. We never could have imagined the huge impact we have had not only in our community but in communities across the country.”
Today, Card My Yard oversees around 500 franchises in the U.S, and the co-founders are proud that the majority of their franchise owners and employees are women.
Earlier this year, Stanley and Arnold said they were humbled and honored to be recognized as one of the top 500 franchises in Entrepreneur’s Franchise 500 and No. 1 in the category of Yard Sign Rental Franchises.
“But we’re not resting on our laurels. In 2022, we plan to expand Card My Yard to 120 more cities. This growth follows a 40% year-over-year increase in systemwide revenue,” they shared. Stanley is the chief marketing officer and Arnold is the chief brand officer.
Card My Yard is producing female entrepreneurs across the country and is cultivating female talent here in Austin.
“Perhaps more importantly, our eight years of work growing the business has served as an up-close example for our children, specifically our daughters, of what they’re capable of accomplishing,” Stanley and Arnold stated.
Successful female entrepreneurs can help encourage young girls to choose entrepreneurship as a career path and to move away from common stereotypes about women’s professions, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.
A global study released in 2021 found that nearly three-fourths of women in the U.S. believe it’s important for aspiring entrepreneurs to have a role model. Yet few of the women surveyed around the world could name a successful female entrepreneur as a role model.
“Mentorship is viewed as increasingly essential among women,” the study says. “Globally, women hold steady to their belief in mentors as essential to the success of female entrepreneurs.”
“An environment where female entrepreneurs are increasingly celebrated and championed promises to help girls like our daughters — and your daughters — attain success in the business world, even if they don’t become entrepreneurs,” Stanley and Arnold stated.
As the duo strives to generate more success at Card My Yard, they have reached a milestone that many other female entrepreneurs struggle to reach: securing outside funding.
In 2020, they received a strategic investment in their brand. They consider themselves fortunate to have backing from a private equity partner because the reality of the matter is that many other female entrepreneurs are not as fortunate.
“One of the key barriers that female entrepreneurs face when developing their businesses is a lack of access to venture capital or funding,” according to investment bank Credit Suisse.
Simply put, male entrepreneurs raise far more venture capital than female entrepreneurs do. Investment bank Credit Suisse attributes this in large part to gender inequality in the entrepreneurial sphere. Women should be on equal footing with men when it comes to access to capital.
Highlighting the success of female entrepreneurs — on International Women’s Day and every day of the year — helps bridge the financial divide and other gaps between female and male entrepreneurs. That, in turn, can add to the ranks of female entrepreneurs in Four Points, in Austin, in the U.S. and around the world.
“With more female entrepreneurs like ourselves demonstrating what we’re capable of accomplishing, both women and girls will have more role models and will enjoy a better shot at business success,” Stanley and Arnold shared.