Updated: Jan 11, 2020
Also posted on Medium here.
**Warning: I am a solo parent, meaning I have 100% physical custody and 100% financial responsibility for my 6-year-old daughter, so I don’t get much adult or me time, therefore, I cuss a lot when I can and I know my kid can’t hear me.
Also, I’m the queen of run-on sentences and I am sprinting like mad with my solutions/business plan so I don’t really give a fuck on spelling errors and technical shit right now. As I write this, there are homeless people waiting for me, in the rain, to get this done. So if you wanna judge me on my horrible writing skills, save it.
You’ve seen this before right? Remember in Jerry McGuire where he is like up all night, doing fucking handstands and shit and then jamming down to Kinkos to print out his Mission Statement?? Well, THAT is what it looks like.
You know like in the movie Joy with Jennifer Lawrence coloring her mop designs with her kid's crayons and a bandaged hand just knowing in her bones there’s gotta be a better way? Damn, that bitch has grit! Mortgaging her house, getting mom-shamed for her hustle, “disrupting” the good ol’ boys club, plus a single mom with a passionate, questionably working Venezuelan ex-husband (I also married and divorced that too), and fucking tackling Texans for patents. That is some serious gangster shit! But she did it.
And she did a lot more than one thing and it apparently was in her bones since she was a kid, so the movie shows. I did divorce a fun Venezuelan singer and I also created business ideas as a kid. When I was 8, I sold frogs from my pool to the neighborhood kids during the summer as pets. And then, when their parents got mad because they were hopping around everywhere, I took the cardboard from my mom’s new coffee table and made “frog condos”.
No joke. I sold the frogs for $1 and the condos for another $1, lol. I was building a whole fucking frog brand!
Not to worry the frogs eventually made it back to the pool and I’m pretty sure my mom paid people their money back too but she let me keep my profits and ALWAYS told me I could do whatever I put my crazy mind to. And I believed her. Although she surprisingly passed away in her sleep when I was pregnant with my one and only child, so I can’t go to her to hear it anymore, I still do believe her.
There are a lot of folks out there, particularly women, with serious purchasing power, that aren’t looking to be a “unicorn” or “disrupt” the next “Uber for blah, blah, blah” they just are doers, makers, and natural problem solvers (more on that in another post).
But for me, my most recent, what I call, “Divine Download” came a few weeks ago over Thanksgiving week 2019 when I had already bought tickets to Legoland for my 6-year-old daughter and I to finally enjoy our first vacation together, but didn’t go.
Like many San Francisco parents, I was/am feeling the pressure to stay in this wonderful city that I love. My mom was a hippie (whose ashes in an eco-urn were spread in her happy place, the bay under the Golden Gate Bridge) and a nurse at Kaiser Oakland and my dad was, well kind of an entrepreneur, (just holla at my transgender sister @NyaAsiaSF for a few of the many different crazy businesses he launched).
I wasn’t born here so technically I am a transplant. My parents threw me in a bean bag, in the back of an avocado green Dodge, with a roadrunner sticker on the gas tank when I was two months old and rocked their gypsy souls and sailed right into the mystic Tenderloin. My mom told me she was crying in the car while breastfeeding me, freaking out by how dangerous the Loin was in the 70s (and still is despite Twitter HQ moving there) while my dad signed the lease upstairs. And I’ve been here ever since.
About 6 months ago my daughter Sofia and I discovered tiny homes and fell hard and fast down the tiny living rabbit hole. We watched all the shows on HGTV, YouTube, Instagram, anything we could get our eyeballs on, we were on it. Tiny living is not for everyone and it may not even be forever for some, but we were madly in love with the gorg designs by Mustard Seed and Liberation, the freedom-first, debt-free lifestyle, being able to travel, and having a home even without owning land! We couldn’t believe we hacked the affordable housing problem in the Bay Area and had pinned so many pics to Pinterest they blocked me, lol. I literally had to contact them and be like I need my tiny board back bitches!!!
I also had an Oakland Pinterest board with all the info on public schools, land to buy, land to rent, the student volunteer tiny home builders taking their teen youth homeless crisis on BY THEMSELVES, the perfect farmhouse tiny at a whopping $97K, the works. We. Were. Sold.
And then I found Alyssa Nolan. I honestly can’t even remember how I found her even though it was literally weeks ago, but it was right before #GivingTuesday. Alyssa is a fire victim up in Butte County, California and a single mom of 3 with a day job, but her side hustle is building tiny homes for homeless Camp Fire victims. The worst fire in California history. As of Thanksgiving, she still has a list of over 500 people, who were renters, and some still sleeping in tents and cars waiting for a free tiny house. This is just fucking unacceptable to me.
In fact, this is exactly why I can’t go to bed before midnight and wake up at 4/5 am. I have the know-how as a marketer and live in a town with a ton of cash. And the rain season is coming. In fact, it is raining right now as I write this. If you have ever been homeless, and many have they just don’t talk about it out of embarrassment, even to their families, then you know how bad it really is. I know, because despite having a degree and healthy 6-figure salaries, I have been homeless a few times. If you have seen The Pursuit of Happyness then you can imagine my life.
And what blows my mind as I watch that movie for inspiration A LOT, is that it took place in San Francisco in the 80s and the same fucking problems he faced still fucking exist today!?! Like how is there still no proper childcare, no transportation money, lines at shelters you have to hop in every damn day, hotels kicking you out with your stuff in garbage bags, and my that damn boot on your car getting towed away, still fucking happening nearly 40 fucking years later???
Seriously, watch the movie tonight. In the opening credits, right around 2 min 30 secs, you have finance folks stepping over passed out homeless people. Same today. Only it’s not finance people, they went down with Lehman Bros in 2009 along with my first brick-and-mortar business. But now it’s even worse! The numbers are in. SF homeless swells 30% since 2017?!?! And many today are working folks and families with jobs!?! It’s just not OK and it’s about time we get really fucking transparent about what is happening here in this adopted state of mine or California is going to be in a real shitter.
People worry about their property values going down because a house that is 100 sq ft or 700 sq ft is being built near them. Well, guess what bitches, your $1.9 Million property is going to plummet when no one fucking lives here anymore. 40% of fire victims, many of who are small business owners, teachers, first responders, etc. are leaving. Why? There’s nowhere for them to fucking live and it takes too long to rebuild.
So students in Oakland and community heroes like Alyssa have to fund their own housing with donated materials, volunteer labor, time away from their own kids, and Lord only knows what's in these donated materials because sometimes the materials are not new, because no one else is doing anything or people just don’t know how to fix it. But I do.
So if you are a VC, and I have reached out and met with a few of you, and you have the power to greenlight my business that can provide beautiful, affordable, sustainable homes in yes, here’s the real shocker, 4 weeks or less, then you best act fast because I will go around you if you don't. And I assure you, you will be kicking yourself later. Luckily the very few people I have spoken with have actually been amazing and I have never felt more proud of San Francisco than I do now.
It’s easy to hate on the tech mentality/community, especially with insane rent spikes and transplant douchebags coming to my fucking home, exhausting its resources, then posting online how disgusting all the shit (like literal human feces) is on Market Street, or needles all over the place, and don’t do a damn fucking thing about it.
But now, right fucking now is a magical time where a crazy bitch like me can build a business to save the housing crisis toot sweet. It is a fucking fantastic time to be a female entrepreneur and build businesses that may have never had the opportunity to be built before. I’ve been out of the loop for a while, as a mom that happens a lot with your career and young kids, but I just signed up on the Girlboss site and I couldn’t be more pumped or proud!!
This is the second biz baby birthed by Sophia Amoruso, (also founder of NastyGal, RIP, which I’m still trying to figure out who fucked that biz up and how it came crashing down after years of profit and no debt) a local Bay Area gal from Pleasant Hill, CA, where I also grew up. I literally balled my eyes out, and I’m actually not a cryer, my daughter Sofia has maybe seen me cry twice. You can’t be a cryer when you are constantly in fight or flight mode, but when I registered at Girlboss, the incredibly elegant and seamless sign-up experience gave me the conviction that I’m not a freak or a crazy-ass bitch and there are other WOMEN just like me. What a gift to girls!!
Oh and FYI Soph, I come from fashion, I co-owned Hush, a high-fashion e-tail and retail chain of boutiques with locations in Walnut Creek and San Francisco for nearly a decade before the recession killed it, and the real word on the street is that real fashionistas fucking LOVED YOUR NETFLIX SHOW. In fact, if I am feeling deflated, I STILL watch it to cheer me up. So thank you for making it.
And with Ayesha Curry funding female businesses that have no fucking clue what a “burn rate” or “exit strategy” is on her new #Fempire show on EllenTube, my heart just explodes because that’s how diverse, OG, businesses are built. In fact, they may not have an exit strategy because they may never WANT to do anything else. I would have done Hush forever if I could, but the 2009 recession forced me to close. And it was so fucking painful it’s taken me a decade to grow a vag, yes short for vagina, to get back up and throw my hat in the ring for another business.
But now there’s someone who actually cares!! And it’s so inspiring. If you check out Ayesha’s social sites, I think the first thing it says in her description of herself is “Believer”. I mean is there anything Ayesha Curry can’t do?? And how the hell does she do it as a wife, mom, entrepreneur to several businesses and a non-profit??? Steph and Ayesha are transplants, but now with their non-profit in Oakland, bless their souls for knowing that is where they would have the most impact, they are not just taking the resources from the Bay that built their wealth and careers, but they are using their powers for good too and paying it forward. As it should be. And I plan to give all my wealth to Bill and Melinda Gates anyhoo with the pledge once I’m done taking care of my own here in California in case you were wondering.
And yes, I am a Warriors fan but have never been to a game while Steph has played. In fact, I just turned down free tickets, again, because I couldn’t get a sitter with same-day notice or another mom to watch Sofia because it was a school night. My other single mom friend who was going to be my date, was literally dying that we couldn’t go and even asked the nice lady from the corner store to watch our kids because she has watched her littles before when she was all dressed up for a date but her sitter canceled. I’m creative but you just can’t make this shit up!!!
I’m sprinting with this divine download so fast it’s actually annoying for me to use the bathroom or eat, insanely unhealthy, and I will need to learn how to pace the distance before I burn and can’t help anyone. BUT, my point is, you couldn’t stop me if you tried. As a private person who has been disenchanted with tech for a long time and lives in fear of my deadbeat, narcissist, ex-husband taking me to court whenever he gets a wild hair up his ass (more on that later too), I have officially reached the tipping point where I just don’t fucking care anymore because I know a better way, and if I don’t die trying, then it will happen.
The climate is ripe for not only affordable housing, women in business, and what I am finding is bigger than hacking the housing crisis, is that I want each of my employees to have a $20K per kid, per employee, childcare flex spend account. I don’t know exactly how that works with “burn rate”, but why the fuck not. Google daycares have a 3-year waitlist and what if it works better for your family to have them watched at home?? It’s a personal choice working parents should have if we are going to ask so much of them to build our businesses.
Even some female-founded tech businesses are getting backlash because they demand SO MUCH of their employees like 80+ hours a week, and parents are literally just handing back the free company laptop like…peace out. I would too. Sofia comes first not only because I love her to pieces but because she literally has no one else BUT me to care for her when she is sick and such. We can have perks like company laptops, pet insurance, and gym memberships but we can’t cover childcare??? Get the fuck out of here. Pet insurance but no childcare?? I need a math savvy bitch to come help me rework the fucking numbers in my biz plan because this is just dumb business not thinking long-term realistically, like for reallzzzz.
Who is making these perks?? FYI, bitches, millennials are parents now too. And providing affordable housing is only part of the problem. Every job I have had after giving birth, tech and non-tech, I have lost because I didn’t have proper childcare for her illnesses, travel, etc. So chew on that before you fund my biz.
I know affordable housing and employee childcare are very new ideas and most people think I’m fucking nuts. But this isn’t my first rodeo. I’m used to that. But if ever there was a fucking city to figure it out, San Francisco would be the one. Part of why I have lived paycheck to paycheck with some rents (I’ve moved several times in 7 years) over $5K a month is because well, I tried moving to Walnut Creek, CA but my 18 months old kid at the time was in preschool from 7 am to 7 pm because I had to commute. So I’m either going to pay $2,500 in childcare a month or throw that money towards sky-high rents and be home for dinner. Which would you choose?
Watching Ayesha Curry’s new show #Fempire (well the trailer because I don’t have time for tv), and seeing this woman discuss her fucking amazing business and how she wants to give up because she doesn’t know if the hustle is worth it, breaks my heart because we need like 1000 more of her in the world!!
Just like Christina Stembal of Farmgirl Flowers, what this town likes to call and puts a LOT value in, the next “Unicorn with $1 Billion Evaluation” she almost gave up because she was so strapped and didn’t know how to raise funds. Why is it so fucking hard if you don’t speak the tech bubble language?? There are some pretty fucking amazing men in tech that pride themselves on being diverse, but when I went to reach out to them I couldn’t find a fucking email or contact form on their website. No doubt they get thousands of them, but I’m here to tell you to pay someone to manage that then.
There are some VCs I emailed with this crazy ass Jerry McGuire-esque mission statement that actually had a way for me to email them, that did fucking respond, and for very valid reasons I will not share until I have permission from them, they kindly passed and wished me luck. Because that bitches is called manners and a real open door policy to diversity. And that’s how it needs to be done. And that act of kindness in this town was all I needed to fuel up for the long haul and be brave.
So look the fuck out because I’ma comin’. And when you see a 12-year-old girl with a dream and a perfect product for the market, a non-profit mama side hustling, a teen girl, boy, however you identify that has a unique service/product, a woman, a mother, a bitch with crazy in her eyes like me, fucking fund her. Because I can’t stop this train even if I tried. And neither can they.
There is more than enough room for 1000 more women on the cover of Time Magazine like Emily Weiss and her dope ass biz Glossier, AND the amazing women who fund them before they even have a product (that shit is so crazy amazing I love it). We need A LOT more of this and we can all go up. Whether you are a founder, a funder, or an employee of these businesses, or even just a dreamer that needs to know women can do it and are doing it, it’s OK, we can ALL go up. There’s room. And it’s time.
I understand by biz may not be the right fit for many valid reasons, but if you can’t help me today, it is still raining and Alyssa needs to build 500 tiny homes so please FUND HER.
And if my biz is the right fit, or you know someone who can help in any way (knowledge, input, funds, gift money, government grants, interns) to get it up and running, please email me at email@example.com. Thank you for your time and consideration.