Erika Biddix, Girl Boss Offices
Erika Biddix knows the struggle of entrepreneurship better than most. She spent a decade working remotely before starting her own business, Biddix Meetings and Events, in 2016. Her office was her car, the dining room table, or her bedroom floor, all while she was managing major contracts from multi-million dollar companies. As she got to know more entrepreneurs -- especially women -- she realized the lack of professional workspace is a common issue for entrepreneurs at every stage of development.
That’s when Girl Boss Offices was born.
“There’s something powerful about women getting together and sharing their voices,” she says of her vision to give female business owners a connection point through shared office space. Tenants lease a desk or office for three, six, or twelve months, and they enjoy the benefits of community while they pursue their own endeavors. A professional address, private conference room, and shared office supplies are among the perks, but what really makes Girl Boss Offices special is the collaboration.
“Everyone is working on individual businesses, but we have a sounding board for bouncing ideas, providing resources, or sharing content to get feedback,” Erika says. While this diverse group of women may not be coworkers, the network and shared space make them colleagues.
“I want every woman to succeed in whatever way she wants to succeed,” Erika adds, and for Knoxville’s female entrepreneurs, Girl Boss Offices helps them get there.
Erin Reece, Bear Accounting
Erin Reece first heard about Girl Boss Offices through the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center, and as soon as she saw the space, she knew it was right for her business. As an accounting firm specifically tailored for entrepreneurs and startup companies, both the space and vision were right in line.
Bear Accounting focuses on helping leaders of young businesses set up a good financial foundational model, understand how finances are put together, and use that to make solid financial decisions for the life of their business.
“One of my favorite things about running a company is training and teaching other people to be competent financial leaders,” Erin says.
It’s that passion for training and investing in others that led Erin to start her own company with Bear Accounting. “Working with entrepreneurs feels like I’m making a difference, helping entrepreneurs have better lives,” she says.
Now with a dedicated workspace at Girl Boss Offices, Bear Accounting can continue to grow and invest in others. “Erika does a great job of curating community, and the people are my favorite part about it,” Erin says. Each Girl Boss has something unique to offer both professionally and in relationships. Unlike a corporate office where coworkers may be vying for projects or jobs, at Girl Boss Offices, everyone helps each other without competing. As a business owner, Erin says, “my hustle translates into whatever I want it to.”
Halee Sprinkle, Czech Yourself Marketing
Having spent years working in corporate marketing, Halee Sprinkle saw a need in the market for services aimed at small businesses and nonprofits. She stepped out of her corporate job to found Czech Yourself Marketing in October 2017. Since that time, she has used her creativity and diversity of experience to help small businesses grow and achieve their goals.
“As a small business owner myself, I know how exciting every milestone is,” Halee says, “so being a part of that for someone else makes me beam.”
Tired of working from her kitchen counter or local cafes, Girl Boss Offices came at the right time for Czech Yourself Marketing. “Having that home base helps with my work efficiency,” says Halee, “but it also validates my business when I can say ‘come to my office’ rather than trying to save tables at a coffee shop,” she adds.
Girl Boss Offices also provides a way for Halee to get to know other business owners and learn best practices as the fellow entrepreneurs share ideas and resources. “This community of resources is good for my business, and it also helps my clients.”
Megan Cook, Cook Creative Consulting
Before she had even launched her business, Megan Cook knew she needed Girl Boss Offices to make her dream of entrepreneurship a reality. The nonprofit consultant knew having a community around her would push her to succeed and grow her company. Officially launching her business on the same day that Girl Boss Offices opened their doors in November 2019, Cook Creative Consulting helps nonprofit organizations with grant writing, communications, marketing, and fundraising.
“The common thread is storytelling,” Megan explains. Whether in a grant application, visually in a brochure, or curating content for an organization’s website, Cook Creative Consulting tells the stories of nonprofits and the work they do. Megan’s compelling narrative style helps her clients garner support, recruit volunteers, and build capacity for them to expand their work and meet the needs of their communities.
Megan loves running her business from Girl Boss Offices because the community of women helps broaden her circle of influence. “Everyone is open with their network, helping build connections, and social capital,” she says. “That community piece is tremendous for growing a business in the early stages.”
Kathryn Frady, Marble City Opera
Finding her place in a new business niche is familiar territory for Kathryn Frady, founder of Marble City Opera. The nonprofit organization brings opera to new audiences using innovative spaces, modern English-language productions, and convenient time frames to make the theatrical experience more intimate and digestible for both newcomers and longtime fans of the art form.
When Kathryn heard about the new kind of shared office space that is Girl Boss Offices, she knew she would fit right in. Although managing her organization from home had been working since she launched in 2013, having an office leads to increased productivity, more effective collaboration with other organizations and entrepreneurs, and a sense of legitimacy for Marble City Opera. Even the simple benefit of an address and phone number has made a difference for Kathryn. Having previously used her out-of-state cell phone for ticketing and information, now having a phone number with a Knoxville area code makes the organization feel more permanent and trustworthy for audience members and potential donors alike.
“When you feel more legitimate as a person and a business, other people see that too,” Kathryn says. “It almost changes the way you carry yourself, and people respond to that.”