Lauren McCabe Herpich was approaching her 30th birthday when she began to reflect on what made her the woman she is today. Upon realizing it was a number of life experiences and adventures — rather than material possessions or job titles — that made her the happiest, she began to search for a community of women with which she could share these empowering experiences.
After finding no all-encompassing group or club, she embarked on yet another adventure: starting her own. And that’s how her inspiring website Why Not Girl! came to be, where Lauren shares a multitude of uplifting women’s stories and encourages others to explore the world around them.
We had the chance to sit down with Lauren to talk about how the site (which was ranked among the 100 best websites for women in 2013 by Forbes) came to be and the logo she snagged along the way.
– Tell us a bit about the website’s purpose. I launched Why Not Girl! in 2012 as a website that serves to empower women to try something new and feel accomplished no matter what your age or interest.
– Seems to be doing the trick! What makes Why Not Girl! so unique? Especially now, there is a great discussion taking place about women and leadership – and I love it! As a girl whose Barbie was a CEO and an astronaut, I am so glad that we are talking about women breaking through the glass ceiling. But what I absolutely love about Why Not Girl! and what I believe sets us apart is the notion that being someone to look up to doesn’t have to just be defined by our careers. It can be just the simple act of trying something new and living life, however we want to do that.
Lauren Herpich; photo by Aparna Paul Jain
I believe it is the beauty of our mission, as depicted in our logo, that could inspire many women to just say, “Why not,” whether that is aiming for that promotion, starting your own business, running your first mile or just trying sushi for the first time.
– What did you learn about branding while running your logo contest? I learned what type of initial ideas and thoughts come to others’ minds when they hear the words “Why Not Girl.” Not surprisingly I initially received a lot of designs that used pinks and light purples. While that more feminine look wasn’t what I was looking for, it really helped shed light on what people’s first impressions of Why Not Girl! would be.
– I noticed you have multiple social media outlets on your site. How much of a role has social media taken and how much of a role do you expect it to take in the future? Social media has been the main channel in getting the word out about Why Not Girl! during this initial phase of the company.
Like most businesses, I believe, it’s all about tapping into your own personal networks and Facebook has been a key tool in that growth. But what has been interesting is the influence that Pinterest has been able to give us. Little by little I saw that Pinterest was being our third greatest traffic driver. It makes sense. Women love Pinterest!
– What’s a noteworthy experience you or someone you know has done that embodies the Why Not Girl! persona? Any favorite featured Why Not Girls? I love this question because I get to answer it each week through our Why Not Girl! of the Week column. So far I have been able to interview almost 100 women who embody the Why Not Girl! spirit and share their stories on the website. I am so honored to feature all of these women as I believe that telling the world about them will hopefully inspire more women to get out there and say Why Not!
But I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t say that my favorite Why Not Girl! is my mom. She was my very first Why Not Girl! and a woman who I truly think is the embodiment of a Why Not Girl! At 58 years old, my mom is tailgating at concerts, organizing annual wine weekends with her girlfriends, and after 25 years of being an executive assistant she went after a non-administrative job she knew she was qualified for – and got it! My mom is proof that, at any age, you can go out there and live life to the fullest!
A collection of Why Not Girl!’s of the week, from left: travel writer Toni Dibella, ballet dancer Kelly Ann Sloan, and celebrity event planner Rachel Hollis
– What’s your advice for others looking to start a business? Not to sound too self-promoting, but ask yourself, “Why not?” I’m not saying that everyone should just quit their jobs and start a business. There are a lot of factors to consider. But if you have an idea, at least take that first step in researching what you need to do to make it possible. Learn as much as you can.
The beauty of technology and the Internet is that you can start building the initial blocks for relatively little money and see where it goes. I started Why Not Girl! for only $500 (the majority of that going toward my logo design) and a lot of resourcefulness. If you at least try and scope out whether or not your idea will work, you’ll never have any regrets.
Whether it’s starting that business you’ve been dreaming about or taking a solo trip to that spot you’ve only seen in pictures, I think it’s safe to say we can all take a page out of Lauren’s book (or website!) when it comes to taking a step outside of that good ole comfort zone and trying something new.