Q & A with Marie - How do you build your community?

Marie

Marie is an indie maker from France, working on two main products: Threader, a Twitter client curating good threads, and Women Make, an open community meant to support women makers and put them at the forefront. Marie left Paris more than a year ago now to become a nomad and work on projects with her partner, Vincent.

Read on to learn more about Women Make and how she has built the community.

Why did you decide to create Women Make?

I created Women Make because I was struggling to find other women entrepreneurs, especially ones that were not VC-backed. At first, it was just a small group that I had personally reached out to on Twitter and Telegram. The main goal at first was to create a place where we could gather, as women makers, share what we were working on, and help each other.

Women Make is specifically for women, but other people can join as well. How do you make sure that the people that the group was intended for still have a voice within the space?

It’s really about balance. There are more women than men in the group and I am always very clear that this community is meant to support and empower women. On Telegram I always pin women’s messages and on Twitter I share women’s stories and updates, so I think the message is pretty clear; Men are welcome, but they know by joining that women are at the forefront.

Another side effect of the community is people contacting me because they need more women for their event, project, company, etc. While they may have good intentions, most of the time it’s people basically asking me to do their job. Recently when I wrote our guidelines, I added this sentence from a member of Women Make: “Women Make is not a token for women”.

Have you received any negativity for creating this space or other people trying to take advantage of it? How have you dealt with it?

A few months ago the community was growing fast and some of the men joining were not always leaving as much space to women as they should. Some of them used the community to just promote their products and launches. I banned those people and started to make the group less accessible to join to moderate the members entering the community.

What do you think is next for Women Make?

I want to work on the website to make it a useful tool for the community. Right now Women Make is a group on Telegram, with a Twitter account and a mailing list. I know there are more women who would like to join who don’t have Telegram or who are not very active on it and although I want to keep the Telegram group for real time interactions, I’d like to make Women Make a community accessible not only though this platform.

I’d also like to extend our membership to more fields outside of the Tech industry. Although every type of maker is welcome, the majority of our members are in the tech industry and I want to make it more diverse.

Do you think online communities are helpful? Why?

Of course they are! Online communities are an easy way to find link-minded people to connect with. Personally, I don’t really have friends in real life who are entrepreneurs so I can’t really share with them what it’s like. With online communities I found support and I made friends. When I need help or support I either go to Women Make or people I met via online communities and Twitter. Honestly it changed my life. I’m not saying you should spend your life on your computer and not have friends in real life, but it’s been a great help for me.

Thank you Marie or taking the time to let me interview you and share your insight. If you would like to support Women Make, become a patron. If you’re working on something and would like to be featured in a future edition of Society x Tech fill out this form here.