Meet Aria Joughin

Meet Aria the Founder & Owner of MakeWith Collaborative and MakeWith Hardware & Learning Center

Founder & Owner of MakeWith Collaborative and MakeWith Hardware & Learning Center. Read our interview with Aria about their experiences with Xcelerate business advising (Capital Readiness, Sales & Marketing, Retail).

What inspired you to start your own business? 

I was inspired to start my own business as a way to contribute to building the world I want to live in. The freedom, flexibility, and creative control involved in having your own business allow me to explore different ways of working that are better for me, the planet, and my community. 

What are some of your key goals that you worked with Xcelerate on this year? 

At the beginning of the year I worked with Xcelerate to grow my accounting and financial projection skills and to develop a sales strategy for my consulting business. 

In the second half of the year I began preparing to launch my new business, a brick and mortar hardware store and learning center, and needed support working through financing options and some of the specifics of retail businesses.

How has your identity as a woman and any and all other intersectional identities impacted your business? 

As a queer non-binary person, I think about business differently. I was motivated to start MakeWith in part because my and my community's experience revealed something wrong with how we access DIY education, supplies, and services. So many people are kept from learning important skills because someone decided they weren't worth teaching or that they should already know. Making space for folks to develop new skills requires being curious, empathetic, and intentional about what you build, inside and out. These are qualities I associate with the women, queer, and other marginalized folks I know, and they have the power to change how businesses operate for the better. 

What were some of the challenges you faced this year and how did working with Xcelerate help you to overcome these challenges? 

I've worked for myself for almost 10 years and like to think I am very good at managing the financial aspects of self-employment. Working with Xcelerate this year enabled me to take those skills to a new level, helping me to create stronger financial projections and a more streamlined accounting system. 

As I started the planning process for my new business, one of the biggest challenges I faced was understanding the various funding mechanisms. My Xcelerate coach helped me to sort through the various options and figure out which were right for my specific business. 

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