HerHeadquarters enriches women-owned businesses through powerful brand partnerships

Carina Glover owned and operated a successful event planning business. She built her company from the ground up, working for free in the early stages of development, because she wanted to build a reputable name for her company. And she did. In her second year of business, she landed event planning contracts with the Grammy…

Carina Glover, HerHeadquarters

Carina Glover owned and operated a successful event planning business. She built her company from the ground up, working for free in the early stages of development, because she wanted to build a reputable name for her company. And she did. In her second year of business, she landed event planning contracts with the Grammy Awards and NFL Honors. 

Take a moment to imagine that overwhelming joy of success. Now imagine trading that success for an even riskier, more meaningful pursuit. How much would you give to turn your calling into a career? 

Glover did just that in 2017. She founded HerHeadquarters, an application that connects women in beauty, entertainment, fashion, public relations, and event planning industries to local/national brand partnerships and other women entrepreneurs. 

One might object: But she was making money! Isn’t that why we’re here? Why did she change?

“I was doing well for myself, but I wasn’t doing what I was supposed to be doing,” she said. 

In her years of event planning, she’d met stylists, entertainment entrepreneurs, designers, and other planners. She noticed a common problem: these small-business owners struggled to secure brand partnerships, which she considers vital to reaching new audiences and increasing brand awareness.

“There was one night I couldn’t sleep. I kept thinking about these women and this issue of brand partnerships, and it just came to me,” Glover said. 

What if there was an app that could solve their problems, she thought. In a country where 40% of new entrepreneurs are women, HerHeadquarters offered a solution to national demand. 

Between 2017 and 2018, women founded an average 1,821 new businesses per day in the United States. It should come as no surprise. Self-employment allows greater administrative control, a more flexible work schedule, and it allows entrepreneurs to charge what they deserve for their products or services. 

While the U. S. has seen progress in narrowing the wage gap between men and women since the 1980s, wage inequality still poisons the economy and weakens the workforce. According to a Pew Research Center analysis, women earned 85 percent of what men earned in 2018. Obviously, that’s bad. But when adjusting for race and ethnicity, the wage gap gets even worse. Compared to white men, Black and Latinx women earned only 65 percent and 62 percent, respectively. The inequity staggers the mind.

Growing up in North Omaha, Glover attended both public and private schools and noticed a major difference in the language used in respective classrooms. 

“In public school, a lot of teachers would say ‘if you graduate…’. In private school, teachers would say ‘when you graduate…when you own a business’. That really stuck with me,” she said. 

After graduating Marian High School, Carina received a full-ride scholarship to the University of Nebraska at Omaha, where she studied Communications, PR, and Advertising. She worked as a bank teller, a retail worker, and a server. She had no coding or app design experience. 

“When I started HerHeadquarters, I basically did everything wrong for the first four months,” Glover said. “It was like going from the top of my game all the way back to the drawing board. But it was more important to me.”

Then, in February 2018, Carina connected with the Startup Collaborative at the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce. The Startup Collaborative is a pre-seed investment fund that works to help entrepreneurs build high-growth tech companies in the Midwest. Members of the collaborative advised Carina to validate the need for HerHeadquarters through extensive data, research, and outreach. This would help her acquire investors. So she did.

Over four months, Carina organized focus groups, surveys, and one-on-one interviews with women entrepreneurs centered on brand partnerships and their challenges. She discovered 85% of participants believed they needed brand partnerships but struggled to procure them. With this data, she was able to find a woman to design the HerHeadquarters app and a team to develop it. HerHeadquarters officially launched in June 2019. 

Since entrepreneurship is a means of creating meaningful work and ensuring equal wages, starting her own business made sense to Glover, both personally and socially.

“I decided to stop waiting for an employer to tell me I’m good enough,” she said. 

The decision paid off.

“We’re in six cities now: Omaha, Los Angeles, New York, Houston, Miami, and San Francisco. By the end of the year, we plan to be in nine more,” she said.

By 2021, Glover plans for HerHeadquarters to be available nationwide. Her ultimate goal is to change the perception of women in the workplace, specifically women in executive positions. Eventually, she wants to start her own cable or network television production company. 

With her determination and drive, it’s only a matter of time.

HerHeadquarters is available in both Apple and Google Play stores.

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