To celebrate Intentionalist’s four year anniversary we sat down with our Main Street small business evangelizing, ice cream loving founder to get her thoughts on where we’ve been and where we’re headed.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
What are some of the milestone moments that come to mind as you reflect on the past four years?
In many ways, the past four years have felt like so much longer, which makes it hard to pick just a handful of moments, but here are four that stand out in my mind:
- We piloted the concept for Intentionalist at the 2017 Net Impact Conference in Atlanta. This was when we first received feedback from both small business owners and conference participants that gave us the confidence to move forward and bring Intentionalist to life.
- In March of 2020, we created our Gift Certificate Marketplace, making it possible for businesses with physical gift cards and no e-commerce solution to be able to sell their gift cards online. This stands out in my mind because of the business owners who let us know that community support through our Gift Certificate Marketplace helped them through the early phase of the pandemic. Now our Gift Certificate Marketplace supports 130+ small businesses selling their digital and physical gift cards.
- Spend With Pride – In June of 2021, we partnered with Seattle Sounders FC, Seattle Storm, Seattle Seahawks, Seattle Mariners, OL Reign, and Seattle Kraken to encourage and incentivize fans to #SpendLikeItMatters at LGBTQ-owned small businesses throughout Pride Month. This year, we are so proud to be continuing our partnership with these Seattle professional sports teams to highlight the importance of diverse small businesses as part of our history and heritage month celebrations.
- Intentionalist was recently selected as a member of the inaugural cohort of the Equitable Innovations Accelerator. This is a huge opportunity for us to learn with and from an incredible community of founders and funders, and it comes at a time when we are ready to take our initial proof of concept to scale!
Intentionalist’s community includes thousands of small businesses, community-based organizations, professional sports teams, and people who #SpendLikeItMatters. Who is important to acknowledge as you reflect on your growth and impact to date?
As I think about our impact today, there are a handful of people and organizations who saw and believed in the potential of Intentionalist back when we weren’t much more than a webpage with just a handful of small business listings.
Small business owners are incredibly busy, which is why I will always be grateful to Chera Amlag of Hood Famous Cafe + Bar, Lillian Rambus of Simply Soulful, Alyssa Anderson of Piroshki on 3rd, Tracy Gates of the Busy Bee Cafe, Donna Moodie of Marjorie, Linda Di Lello Morton and Tamara Murphy of Terra Plata, Jeannie Liu of Miro Tea, Diana Naramore of Sip and Ship, Kryse Panis Martin of KRYSE, and Dani Cone of Cone & Steiner, and Kristi Brown of Communion. They took the time to connect with us, share their stories, and contribute to what would become Intentionalist long before our platform had reach and resonance beyond my immediate family and friends.
I also want to acknowledge our earliest advisors and champions including Yoko Okano, Ravi Grover, Steven Stevenson, Bryce Horwood, Puneet Tandon, Shaula Massena, Susan McPherson, Ruchika Tulshyan, Louise Chernin, Nourah Yonous, Britt Provost, Amy Nelson of The Riveter, Karen Okonkwo & Joshua Kissi of TONL, and Beto Yarce of Ventures. Their guidance and support helped make the earliest versions of Intentionalist possible.
Intentionalist has been honored by sports teams like Seattle Sounders FC and OL Reign, recognized by publications like Seattle Magazine and Puget Sound Business Journal, and won the Social Ventures Fast Pitch competition. What are you most proud of?
While I am incredibly proud of Intentionalist’s tiny but mighty team and the incredible impact of our extended community over the past four years, what I am most proud of is the trust that we have built along the way.
Intentionalist is a Seattle tech company that has earned the trust of Main Street small business owners, and that is something that we do not take for granted.
From the beginning we have coupled our good intentions with action, leading with our values, determined that there is a different, better, collaborative way for all of us to contribute to a more connected, inclusive local economy.
Four more years! Four more years! What’s next?
This is a big year for Intentionalist. With the support of our extended community, we are excited to not only continue to extend our reach and impact, but also to better resource our technology and growth.
Intentionalist is a testament to the power of we, and what is possible when each of us is just a little bit more intentional about everyday decisions about where we eat, drink, and shop.
And yet we have barely scratched the surface of what’s possible.