"After over 15 years of creating women's communities across business and self-development, I am excited to bring it all together under The Stack - The ultimate destination for meaningful connections with mission-driven women."
- Sharmadean Reid, CEO
The Stack World works to move the needle on gender equality by increasing the global GDP of the women’s economy.
Our path to doing that is by creating a platform for the Women's creator economy to buy and sell from each other. Whether it’s through coaching, workshops, entertainment or advice, our goal is to give our members the tools to earn more.
Why is this important to me? At every juncture in my life, work, business and money have been the vehicles by which I’ve found my purpose and my autonomy. Let me share some of those lessons with you…
Growing up as the eldest daughter in a single-parent family meant that times were often hard and because of this scarcity, I equated “not working” with our hand to mouth existence. I didn’t want to continue my life in this way, so as soon as I could, I worked. I had my first job aged 14 as a Sunday lunch waitress in a wonderful family-run hotel (best job ever!) Folding a crisp £20 note in my Hello Kitty purse meant that I could buy books and stationery for school as well as sub-sidising my free school meal with more snacks for my sports sessions.
The feeling of choice was momentous for me and for better or worse, the seed was planted early: work is fun, you meet people from all walks of life, you get paid and then you can do and buy what you want. This was my first lesson at work and I loved it. I worked my way through school and college and had big plans to go to London to study at Central St Martin’s.
In my hometown of Wolverhampton, I lived a happy and loving childhood. And it was only when I moved to London that I became acutely aware of my race and gender. At school, I played football and basketball without prejudice. I grew up with a big Jamaican family of 8 aunties, all strong, funny and intelligent women. Up to this point, I had never ever felt that I was “less than”.
But while it was all amazing for the customers, behind the scenes, all it did was further exasperate my feeling of gender inequality. The business world was harsh and did not care for “women’s work” or “beauty”. (This was 2009, pre Beauty startup trends) I made bad deals with men who appeared so supportive and just took my money and talent. No one at the top levels took my business seriously. And even other women tried to sabotage me as the patriarchy made them feel as though they could be the only successful ones in the industry. I even sabotaged myself, not believing I was good enough.
While business was empowering for me, it also shone a light on the gulf between the opportunities and respect and funding between men and women. I felt like I was being told - work was good for women, but business is for the big boys thank you. This was my third lesson in business - women aren’t always welcome.
But I persevered. WAH Nails was built for the people, but it completely took me by surprise how hard it was and how poor I would be. Being an entrepreneur is not only lonely, but those early bootstrapped days meant that all my savings would go on the business. Our son was born in 2011, and when wanting a separation, my finances were a big factor. I hear often about how women choose to stay in relationships because they simply don’t have the finances to leave. I’ve been there.
Even though I finally had some resources to maintain some physical independence, I did not have mental independence. In fact, I would say that I was extremely oppressed. During my time living in Wolverhampton, I was essentially depressed. I sought all kinds of healing through philosophy, coaching, religion and reading. I tried to use a mix of science and spirituality to figure out why I was the way I was. This intense self-development period saved me and the journey never ends. My next lesson? I cannot reach my full potential without self-development. While much is free, money gives you faster access to the tools to become your best self.
The Stack World is the result of these lessons. It’s my way of supporting women to reach their next milestone because I’ve been there.
Your milestone may be co-parenting happily, it might be raising capital for your business, it might be healing your trauma, it might be getting your first 1000 customers. Whatever it is, I know that without network, our content, our workshop and our platform, you’ll get there. Believe in yourself as I do.