Businesswomen in Hays County say they face less challenges in starting their own businesses than in the past.
Women in previous decades faced major hurdles in business, but Kyle and Buda have seen a wave of female-owned businesses opening up shop in the area.
“I’ve seen a lot of women-owned business coming in. I think that it’s more recent. Over the past few years, you’re seeing an incline in women-owned businesses,” said Julie Snyder, CEO of the Kyle Area Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau.
According to the Texas comptroller’s office, Texas is second only to California in its number of women-owned firms, and the number of women-owned firms in Texas rose by 63 percent between 2007 and 2016.
There may be a variety of reasons for that, Snyder said. Along with more women seeking secondary education at business schools, she thinks local women like the freedom in being their own boss.
“I think for women, especially those with families, the freedom of being able to balance their family and own schedule on their terms is an appeal to them,” Snyder said.
That does not mean being a woman in business is without its challenges. Ashley Chandler owns a Buda-area yoga studio which opened in 2015. She said there is still a stereotype that men own and operate businesses, not women.
“Some people still have the idea that men are breadwinners, that kind of thing,” she said. “I think that’s a stigma in our culture, but it doesn’t have to be.”
Snyder said that whether a potential business owner is a man or a woman, the same set of skills is important.
“I think that women shouldn’t be afraid. I think that the best skill any business owner should have, whether male or female, is how to operate a business,” she said. “Male or female, don’t be afraid – but know what it takes to be able to make a profit, or at least break even.”
As long as women persevere through challenges, they can be successful in business, Chandler said.
“Success is there, and waiting for you, based on your definition of success,” she said. “I get to go to work and do what I love every single day. That’s success to me.”