We just announced a partnership with Pepperlane, a Cambridge, MA-based online platform that helps mothers transform their skills into micro-businesses that fit into their busy lives. We interviewed their co-founder & CEO Sharon Kan so you can learn a bit more about this new partner and how we plan to work together.
What is Pepperlane?
Pepperlane empowers all mothers to turn their skills, passions, and ideas into micro-businesses that allow them to work flexibly. Our online platform offers features a simple website that can be completed with no coding or design work, and is immediately visible in our marketplace. Pepperlane members can also connect with like-minded mother business owners in our online community and through offline events.
When was it founded?
The Pepperlane team got together in summer 2016 and launched the official version of our platform in spring 2017.
Why did you create Pepperlane?
Mothers have so many valuable skills, and I believe owning your own business in this best way to be for mothers control of their destiny and work on their own terms. But starting can feel intimidating and existing tools for doing it are expensive and don’t bring an audience with them. Pepperlane is here to solve that and get women from idea to launch quickly. Our online platform offers a simple starter website that can be completed with no tech or design skills and is immediately visible in our online marketplace. We also provide other digital tools to run a small, service-based business, like a simple online payments platform and messaging system, and market our businesses through social media and other Pepperlane-sponsored promotions.
What is your hope for the future?
I hope more mothers realize that owning their own micro-business is a viable employment option for exercising their passions and talents and still having time for their families, and that we see vibrant communities of mother-owned businesses all over the country and world
How they think it will impact the community?
Mother-owned business provides a valuable employment path to many mothers, but the services they offer also enrich their communities by helping people get valuable time back in their busy schedules.
What’s an example of a cool business in Pepperlane?
Mothers have offered more than 55 different skills on Pepperlane, so there is quite the range.
Here are a few that come to mind. Jana make custom memory quilts, out of people’s t-shirts and other memorabilia. These are often gifts for loved ones at momentous occasions or an opportunity to remember someone who has passed away.
Meal prep is a very popular category on Pepperlane, and a service that many of us on the Pepperlane staff use: there is Sonia who prepares healthy meals for busy families, and Zainab who specifically focuses on Middle Eastern cuisine and teaching others how to cook it.
Stefanie is a mother on Pepperlane who owns a business that teaches women to shop their closets and create outfits out of what they already own instead of going out and buying more stuff. She helps people give away things that don’t work and lets clients pick pieces from that inventory.
Angela, owner of Embrace Your Lashes, and her husband, Brandon, moved to Oregon in 2012. “We fell in love with Oregon after a three-day mini vacation in 2011. We took the leap of faith and it was the biggest, yet best, risk we've ever taken,” she explains.
Originally from San Diego, she’s an only child, and has been a vegetarian since she was five.
She married her husband, Brandon in 2008. They have three children, live in SW Portland, and a dog, Khaleesi (yes, named after the character on Game of Thrones).
.Angela has a big heart and generous spirit. “I've been a gestational surrogate twice, carrying twins twice December 2014 and November 2016. My family and I love the connection we've made with both families and love seeing the babies grow!”
She also works part time at All Families Surrogacy in Beaverton as a Surrogate Coordinator.
Angela says her mother inspired her to start her business. “She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in November 2013. After many rounds of chemo, a full hysterectomy, and more chemo she took a break to give her body and mind a rest. Unfortunately, it came back with a vengeance. It wasn’t ovarian cancer but peritoneal cancer which is very rare. She passed away in March 2016. It was definitely one of the hardest events I've ever been through in my life.”
Angela’s mom was her biggest fan and supporter. She helped Angela pay for esthetics school – Angela attended school full time at night while working full time during the day while also pregnant with her second daughter.
Angela says her mom was her enthusiastic model so she could practice doing facials and other treatments. “She was always proud of me and really inspired me,” she says.
After her mother passed, Angela renewed her esthetics license because she knew her mom would want her to finally make use of it. “I took an eyelash extension training in Lincoln City in March 2017 then hit the ground running! Helping others feel good about themselves is rewarding and has really helped me through the grieving process. I love reading positive reviews and seeing how my clients have that extra boost of confidence because lashes really do make a difference!”
Angela will be attending a training in November 2017 called Oncology Esthetics to learn about how to take care of clients that are going through their cancer journey or have been through it.
She hopes to volunteer some time each month to helping them feel good about themselves. “I'll be reaching out to local hospitals and clinics to see if they would give me space each month to do this. In 2018, I'm hoping to expand my services and start offering facials again because I always loved doing them,” she says.
Angela says her mentor is Tricia Boggess of Diva Lash Studio & Spa in Lincoln City. “She's the one I took my first eyelash extension training with. She is always available when I have a question or need help, even long after my training. I also admire Kimber Jaynes who is the Founder of Borboleta Beauty in Utah. I'm constantly amazed by these ladies and our lash community,” she says.
She says her biggest struggle is finding balance. “I feel like I'm constantly trying to find balance in everything with my business, family life and personal life. I always think I can handle more than I should,” she explains.
She advises new business owners to trust their instincts and to not compare your business to someone else’s. “We're all doing the best we can and if we have each other to lean on, it can make owning a business so much easier!”
Angela can work with anyone aged 18 to 100+ “People who want to enhance their beautiful lashes to gain a boost of confidence and save time on their makeup regimen,” she says. She also enjoys working with people preparing for special events like wedding parties.
“I would also love to specialize in helping cancer patients after my training in November
Angela says being a part of the MOB is like having a backbone to her business. “I know that I have a whole team of ladies who would be there for me if needed. I love how the MOB is expanding nationwide. It has been a huge blessing to my business and has connected me to so many amazing people,” she explains.
Angela loves working for herself and being able to be there for her kids. She also enjoys the freedom of being able to take her time with her clients and not feel rushed. “I space out my appointments so that I have the extra time and can give each client my undivided attention,” she says.
She offers MOB Alliance Members $10 off eyelash extensions and lash lifting & lash tinting.
You can find Angela online at: