“Pink Collar” Businessmen Start Websites for Women

Women are big business on the internet. They spend more time and money online than men. In fact, 61 percent of online transactions are conducted by female consumers, according to a 2010 comScore report. No wonder, then, that the past few years have seen a spate of online businesses targeted at women.

Whether or not this is a good thing is, of course, another question. Jodie O'Dell of Mashable and Venture Beat started a firestorm on the internet when she suggested that these "pink collar" businesses were embarrassing. Later, she clarified that her concern was that, by focusing on traditional female areas like fashion, shopping, and babies, women in business weren't "making the best use of their time & skills to change the world."

Maybe she should have been more worried about men taking over these spaces, because the recent boom in sites and services geared toward women are, by and large, created and run by men. Take for example, these female-focused sites:


  • Pinterest: The big story in social media right now, Pinterest is significant because its audience is largely female. Founded by Paul Sciarra, Evan Sharp, and Ben Silbermann in 2010, the photo sharing site is already a top 50 web property.


  • ShoeDazzle: Kim Kardashian may be the face of this online personal styling venture, but the other founders are all male: Brian S. Lee, Robert Shapiro, MJ Eng.


  • Gilt Groupe: Although Alexis Maybank and Alexandra Wilkis are publically celebrated as the founders of the company, some sources claim they were recruited by original founders Kevin Ryan, Mike Bryzek, and Phong Nguyen after the fact.


    None of these businesses are all-male ventures, of course, and many have a heavy female presence on staff. (Does it matter, for example, whether Maybank and Wilkis were at Gilt from the very first meeting?) But still, it does make you wonder if the real problem isn't that there are so many businesses for women, but rather too few started by women.

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