1. Dear Cathy, I am very pleased to be able to introduce you and IN WOMEN'S HAND as part of our Female Founder Community. Please tell us a little about yourself and your company.

Dear Lisa, I'm really happy that I can introduce myself and my company here on your blog, thank you very much! My name is Cathy Lieberei and I am the founder of IN FRAUENHAND. I am a mother of two cool children, who are 6 and 9 years old and I live in the Ruhr area in Essen. I founded IN FRAUENHAND GmbH last year. iFH is a platform seal and movement in one. We make women-owned businesses visible. Because there are still too few female founders. Because there are still too few large, successful companies run by women.

2. How can people imagine your platform?

iFH is an affiliate platform where women-owned companies can register that are majority owned, i.e. at least 51%, by women. The companies are listed there by industry and location and so consumers can specifically search for the companies and buy from them. We then receive a commission for each purchase made, which means we offer companies an additional sales opportunity. At the same time, we also want to ensure that companies outside the platform can be recognized at first glance as women-owned companies, so that value-oriented consumers can recognize them directly. Companies can use our licensed brand for advertising purposes. That means, for example, if you walk through Berlin and see the IN FRAUENHAND licensed brand in a shop window, you know that this company is owned by women and has been checked by us beforehand.

We want to make consumers aware of their (female) buying power. 80% of household expenses are determined by women. This means that women have enormous power to help shape the economy. Because anyone who buys from women-owned companies automatically invests in a diverse, equal, sustainable and innovative economy. We want to be the interface between women-owned companies and value-oriented consumers. We offer women-owned companies visibility, through our platform and our seal, but also through our own podcast and newsletter, and offer new distribution channels. We also organize pop-up events and other events to connect companies with consumers.

3. What motivated you to found IN WOMENHAND? Did your previous career influence you?

I am an economic geographer by training and I worked for more than twelve years in a consulting firm as a consultant for sustainable development. I lived and worked in Tunisia, Morocco and Madagascar for several years and was already committed to gender equality in my work back then. But since I became a mother, I have noticed particularly clearly that gender equality and equal opportunities have not yet arrived in Germany as I actually thought.

I always asked myself how I could live female empowerment myself. It's actually best to buy from women's companies in order to strengthen them economically. But how do I know at first glance and without much research whether a company is owned by women? This is not always so clear. I wanted to make this as easy as possible for consumers and then quit my permanent job at the beginning of 2023 and founded IN FRAUENHAND with the aim of making the economy in Germany more parity. Believe in women - buy women made.

4. What specific challenges do you currently see for women-led companies (as opposed to male-led companies)?

Women's companies often face completely different challenges than those of men. And these challenges are actually almost all structural. This means that women, for example, often have poorer access to financial resources, loans and contacts with banks. Their networks are often not as extensive or developed as those of men, although fortunately a lot is happening there. On the other hand, women - compared to men who run a company - are often far too involved in care work at home. So this is also about the issue of compatibility and division of care work.

5. What can we all do together to support women-led businesses and encourage more women to start their own businesses?

Yes, what can we do together: above all, we can support each other. Women need to stop being each other's biggest critics. The days of “there can only be one” are over. There is room for everyone at the table, but that has to get into people's minds first. We have to learn that competitiveness among women is no longer appropriate today, even though we have often been socialized that way. But only together can we ensure that gender equality is achieved everywhere in society.

Everyone always talks about female empowerment. But what does that mean specifically? What can I do as a person? It can just mean that I buy from women-owned companies and spend my money in such a way that women are economically successful. The more women-owned businesses there are, the more parity our economy will become. And the more influence women have in the economy and/or in politics and society, the faster old structures can change. And we can all support that together. Because that’s how we create role models, of course. I can't remember any well-known female entrepreneurs when I was a child. Except for Beate Uhse, she's the only one I have in mind right now (laughs). I mean, that is of course currently changing, there are already some well-known female entrepreneurs who are essentially role models for young women. But there just has to be a lot more.

To show other women that you can start a business as a woman, and one that can grow big and not just serve as a small side business (which of course is generally okay). From a political point of view, the framework conditions for women in business simply need to be set up differently. For example, there is no maternity leave for self-employed women. That can't actually be the case. Fortunately, there are now initiatives that are committed to implementing this politically.

6. Last but not least! Can you tell us your 3 favorite companies? Run by women, of course!

Oh dear, that's a really difficult question. On my journey I have now gotten to know so many great companies run by women. And there are already so many exciting companies on my platform... So I can't actually answer that objectively. But if I “have to” make a decision here, then it is, on the one hand, the company Badesofa, because it has not only developed cool products, but above all because it was founded by two absolutely great women who have built up their company with great success , and lead it in such a way that family and compatibility can be lived absolutely. Next up is “Super Sprinkles.” I love them above all because of their super creative and funny social media channels and because the founders are just super friendly and have built such a great, big company. And last but not least the SISS BLISS because this company is an absolute role model for me when it comes to marketing, branding and community building.



If you would like to find out more about Cathy and IN WOMEN'S HAND, please take a look here:

To the website: www.infrauenhand.de
To Instagram: @ in_frauenhand