In 2001 Alex Beauchamp (left) launched Girl at Play, a personal blog site that chronicled her journey from the corporate world to freelance writer/artist. The name came from the quote “What did you do as a child that made the hours pass like minutes? Herein lies the key to your earthly pursuits.” Her almost daily writing and transparent details of what it really took to leave a steady, successful, day job for the unknown was enthusiastically received by thousands of people each day. Realizing that there was a need for more stories like hers to be shared online, she called on her other creatively self-employed friends to help her create a new site in which more stories of successful, creative, self-employed women would be told.
In 2002, Another Girl at Play was launched at first with just a handful of female entrepreneurial stories (there wasn’t that many people online, period, yet alone creative female entrepreneurs). Claire Robertson was one of the first and also donated her services to create Another Girl at Plays first logo (right)! But as the readership and participation in the web grew, so did the number of Another Girl at Play participants. By the end of the year it had over twenty creative entrepreneur stories and a readership of over 15K per day.
In 2003, Another Girl at Play was nominated for a SXSW Web Award, along side 4 other companies like Nike! This was a huge accomplishment as all other nominees were companies with marketing, creative and development teams. Another Girl at Play was built by one person with basic HTML skills! The amazing thing about this nomination was that it was truly felt but the site’s community – they raised $2500 to send the founder, Alex Beauchamp and one artist, Andrea Scher, to Austin Texas to be part of the the web award show. And although the site did not win the web award, it won something else – community.
In 2004 a community mailing list was set up so that like-minded women who were either beginning on their creative path or who had been self-employed for years could share information, resources, tips and simply connect. The web was still relatively new and online resources hard to find. This was a step to bridge the gap.
tBy 2006 the site had grown to almost 30 artists. There were talks of a book being written and ad companies wanted o sell space on the site but Alex felt strongly that the site, as simple as it was, was all that it needed to be. It continued to receive thousands of visits per day without marketing or promotion because the featured women and their stories were universal and evergreen – they didn’t need to be more than what they were. It was at this time Alex decided against turning Another Girl at Play into a for-profit venture.
In 2007, a group of women from the site joined forces to speak at a SXSW panel entitled, “The Boss of You.” Alex Beauchamp, Emira Mears, Jenny Hart and Lauren Bacon shared their knowledge and personal experiences of being self-employed. You can listen to the presentation.
In 2008, Alex made a decision to no longer do the monthly newsletters or to accept new artists until she not only could devote more time to the site, but find a way to reinvigorate it. And so the site stopped updating although the number of new visits did not thanks to years of word of mouth and Google!
In 2010, she found a way thanks to inspiration from the movie, “The Holiday.” The movie talks a lot about ‘gumption’ and a woman’s struggle to find it (and to be the leading lady in her own life). That idea was the backbone to all the stories shared on the site and Alex realized that the site was no longer just a spin off of her site, but had its own unique identity. And it was not just about being creative – it was about being discovering a passion, being bold enough to chase it and turn it into a business. It was about having gumption. She decided that fall that early next year she’d get the site updated (not only with content but the backbone of it with coding, social sharing & a refreshed look) and reinvent it in a way.
2011 is here and things are a’changing! The first? Another Girl at Play officially changed its name to Girls Got Gumption. The second? The site will begin accepting applications in April 2011. The third? There will be a new charity & community component to be announced June 2011. However, some things will stay the same: it will continue to be free and it will continue to share stories of successful self-employed creative women (with updated questions!).
And beyond that? Well, the future is wide open and you’ll just have to come along for the ride.
A history of Press:
- Three “Girls Got Gumption” artists (Jenny Hart, Lauren & Emira), and site founder Alex Beauchamp) created and spoke on a panel called “Boss Lady” at the 2007 SXSW Interactive.
- A great write up on us on Blogher.
- A SXSWi 2003 Web Award Finalist.
- We’re chosen as Bust Magazine’s Link of the Week.
- Featured on Seventeen Magazine’s Web site.
- We’re chosen as “Link of the Week” by the National Association of Women Writers.
- Featured in The Intelligencer Newspaper’s “Life” section on May 05, 2003.
- We’re chosen as a “Yahoo Pick of the Day.”
- Around Maine (a division of Time Warner Cable) chose us as Site of the Day!
- Featured on Indie Entrepreneur.
- Bust Magazine mentions us in their December 2003 article, Mind your own Business.
- Dreamhost chose Another Girl at Play as site of the month! Monday, August 19, 2002