When founder Lyn Johnson created West Tenth, a digital marketplace for home-based businesses operated by women, who knew how prescient her plan would prove to be during the coronavirus pandemic?
“The world has significantly changed over the last few weeks and we are all adapting,” wrote Johnson in an email to clients. “What hasn’t changed is how women utilize their talents to support their communities during times of hardship and crisis. In the last few weeks, the West Tenth storefront owners have hosted free workshops, created goods no longer available in stores, and volunteered to help their neighbors. We’re proud of our community and excited to share their happenings on and off the W10 app.”
“Our home-based businesses are incredibly in-tune and responsive to the needs of their local communities, especially in times of hardship,” Johnson told the Buzz in an email this morning. “Our fashion designers pivoted to sewing cloth masks and cloth diapers, our home hairstylists started giving virtual, home-haircutting lessons, our landscape designers have begun helping people install veggie gardens. The list goes on and on. The wonderful thing about home-based businesses is that they are nimble – they see a need and they fill it without the encumbrances of overhead or bureaucracies to stop them. We expect that over the next 18-24 months, we’ll see many more women starting businesses from home to supplement incomes and to accommodate for lack of child care and normal school arrangements – we aim to support them as they get started,” wrote Johnson.
Johnson’s simple idea of making work more accessible to women who may otherwise face barriers to entry, launched in the Conejo Valley and Los Angeles area last year as a first-of-its-kind digital marketplace, with an iOS app that connects home-based businesses with customers who want unique products and services produced by local entrepreneurs.
The West Tenth digital marketplace features unique services and goods – from home bakers to party planners, organizers, florists, stylists and more – all provided by the women in your neighborhood.
The West Tenth app allows businesses to register in minutes. Shoppers can then scroll (rather than stroll) the app-based modern main street. This main street is uniquely curated with independently owned and operated consumer services that are local to each user.
The West Tenth digital storefronts is free to women who own and operate a business out of their homes. No upfront capital or monthly sales quotas are required in order to be a part of the West Tenth community.
“Running a household and managing family affairs is a job where years are invested honing a variety of skills and talents, and at West Tenth we want to elevate these valuable competencies,” explains Johnson. “Where some may see a cute hobby or just a knack for a particular task such as baking or calligraphy, we see an entrepreneur.”
Meanwhile, West Tenth customers have a convenient way to access and support the oft-overlooked home-based businesses in their communities. By purchasing from West Tenth digital storefronts, customers know that they are helping local entrepreneurship flourish by investing in women-led, independent businesses.
We met with Johnson, earlier this year, before the pandemic to learn more about West Tenth. At the time, Johnson said she was hoping to grow the community of home-based business owners on the app.
If you are a home-based business owner, you can download the app, sign up and register your business completely free. Johnson funds her side of the venture by taking a small percentage of business conducted through the app, ensuring they only make money when you make money.
If you’re looking for ways to support local women with home-based businesses, check out the app.