Welcome to Changing the Game, a Modern Rebel blog series where we talk with professionals in the who are using their platform to diversify the industry’s image, give back to their community, and challenge the idea of what something “should” be.
This week we talked with Letitia Elizabeth, the Founder of Solo Girl Squad, a mobile app + matchmaking social club that allows womxn to make friends no matter their circumstance. For more of their work, you can find Solo Girl Squad on Instagram @sologirlsquad.
What is Solo Girl Squad?
Solo Girl Squad is the first and only digital matchmaking platform that connects like-minded womxn to best friends they haven’t met yet. Solo Girl Squad is an anti-swipe app. We don’t tolerate or have room for swiping right on beautiful potential friendships. Judgement has no place in our squad. Instead, we carefully crafted a platform that blends tech with an actual human touch; introducing you to womxn we know you’d love to meet and hit it off with. What birthed as a community exclusively for female founders who wanted to combat their struggles of isolation, is now an inclusive platform for female friendships aimed at any self-identifying woman that seeks local connection.
What inspired you to launch this company?
Womxn who are new in town, find it rather extremely difficult to make friends, so we created a mobile platform that curates + delivers personalized friend matches for womxn to friend date and have a squad to call home. Honestly, just about five years or so ago, I was someone who desperately needed this, and still do to this day most times! Those times when chasing our career and romantic relationships and the almighty dollar seem most important above all other. So I needed that sisterhood, support, and sense of interconnectedness; someone who would make me feel as though I wasn’t alone at certain times when just hearing that is enough to revive yourself from the depths of stress and “standard” living. Losing most of my twenties to debilitating social anxiety and depression to put it mildly, I had the desire to make a change that would benefit others going through the same things, I just didn’t know where to start or what to expect. At the height of what I call my invisible illness (because mental health is mostly still invisible and stigmatized) I was unable to work, leave the house, or undertake even the most basic acts of self care. Brushing my teeth, showering, and feeding myself felt like heroic tasks that always needed to be postponed. In a fed up state, I started researching the reasons that would cause this like I was researching for a doctorate dissertation! When community and sense of belonging kept coming up over and over again, I finally founded Solo Girl Squad to prevent others from feeling isolated as I had. Whoever you are, whatever your reasons – you are welcome here. We aim to offer womxn opportunities for local connections through organized social events or personalized friend dating for those who prefer intimate one-to-one experiences.
How does the matchmaking process work? What do your matchmakers look for when matching potential "girl squads"?
Ha! I can’t give it all away, the recipe of our magic includes some secret sauce. Solo Girl Squad is a members-only community, which helps keep the community vetted and safe. When you’ve logged into our member app, there is a Friend Match form you fill out once that will grant you access to unlimited friend matches based on your personalized preferences. Once you’ve filled that out, your only job is to sit back and relax and await a notification for a scheduled friend date to hit your inbox. Our magical team of friend matchmakers will carefully screen through all our members personally to ensure the compatibility of each profile and improve the quality of your matches over time. You and your match are both notified inviting you to connect with each other in person. Details with a time and suggested venue conveniently located to your address on file will be delivered via email and text, along with a mini intro for the matches. A feedback loop is built in, with members being able to discreetly review their friend dates after. It is a completely stress-free, judgement-free, and rejection-free zone. There is nothing else like it out there. A lot of people want to diminish our work and say it’s the Tinder of XYZ. I balk at that. We are so far from the destruction Tinder has unleashed on our social skills! Our matchmaking is in a sense, a form of healing or anti-dote to modernity. Matchmaking is an art form as old as time. There’s no need to swipe through hundreds of profiles until your eyes bleed, just to gain a reason to leave the house and meet someone who enjoys your company.
In your opinion, why is female friendship so important?
Oh gosh! How much time do you have? How about I keep it short and sweet - for anyone that believes in their holistic physical, mental, and spiritual wellbeing, the ONLY way to harmonize all three is through community. Community comes in all forms, and as a witness, I have seen single-handedly how powerful friendships are to cultivating your own local community. One that supports, embraces, and uplifts you. And there is nothing more powerful than womxn. So female friendships is where it’s at!
What challenges do mothers face in building/maintaining friendships after having children? How is your app addressing these challenges and offering solutions?
Ahh, we actually have so much data on this after years of matching and connecting womxn, but since I am not living with the gift of motherhood just yet, I don’t want to speak out of turn on a collective experience I haven’t lived through. I will say, as reflected in even our testimonials from members, that being an inclusive space doesn’t just mean all backgrounds, ages, and creeds. Motherhood is a life altering, soul shifting event. I personally chose to honor that from the very start by doing everything I possibly could to understand motherhood and its effect on social situations, isolation, and desires for support. Mothers feel the most guilt and judgement, and for that, I make sure our language, our events, and every other touch point tells them, “I see you.” Gatherings are child-friendly. The app allows experiential customization for friend matches, down to weekly schedule and if they are looking to playdate or escape and pretend they don’t have babies for a day! It’s a constant improvement and evolving process. I can’t wait to become a mother soon and add even more insight to the process.
What are the trials, tribulations, + benefits of being a female entrepreneur? Why is it important for womxn to hold entrepreneurial roles?
Again, I could speak on this for ages. In an effort not to chat your ears off, I will just say that the struggle for lack of funding, resources, et al...is nothing in comparison to the internal and external damage that a lack of human support and connection can do to a woman with a dream and no one to cheerlead her way up the mountain. Yes of course, I wish I had more funding, I wish I had blonde hair and blue eyes for certain meetings where I’m profiled, I wish I had a computer engineering degree that wasn’t part of such a boys club, but community can lay groundwork and create resources from thin air where none would otherwise exist. Trust me on that! Womxn need to hold these roles now more than ever so diverse voices are heard and acknowledged. We are by nature, maternal problem solvers. If a businesses roots stem from solving pain points in society, who better to do that than womxn? I mean, aren’t we all wishing for a female president right about now? Smh.
What advice would you give to womxn looking to start a business?
Seriously, my advice would be to call or email me! Avoid every mistake I made. Honestly, this may seem silly, but I would literally google that infamous phrase - “things I wish I knew before…” and just spend a weekend, or a week, reading through the results. I didn’t do that until I was bashing my head against the wall making the same mistakes repeatedly. Finally podcasts came along and saved me. Voices and stories were being shared. It occurred to me I couldn’t possibly be that inadequate and making mistakes in a vacuum. Hearing lessons from womxn on what they would tell their younger selves gave me the courage to simplify, become a minimalist in my approach to life and business, and not feel so alone during those inevitable pitfalls. Also, I advise you to stop reading all those books. Stop buying all those courses. Stop bookmarking. Stop, stop, stop with the content absorption. “Gurus” and marketing experts are preying on your weakness to feel “less than” at any given moment. Invest all that cumulative money in a trustworthy mind-blowing business coach instead. TRUST ME. If you don’t trust me, ask Oprah! Marie Forleo is a good start if you must fulfill your content addiction.
Lastly, and most importantly: If you could have dinner with a famous female-identified badass, who would it be and why?
I can only pick one!! Are you kidding? Elizabeth Warren. Coco Chanel. Virginia Woolf. Oprah. Mother Theresa. Rosa Parks. Nina Simone. Maya Angelou. Eleanor Roosevelt. Any woman who knew what real grit, grace, and courage was made of. And who served others selflessly, tirelessly, to make the world better than when they entered it. I couldn’t just pick one. Can it be a dinner party??
Letitia Elizabeth is an award-winning writer and natural born entrepreneur hailing from NYC with a noteworthy background in journalism, new media publishing and design. A true triple threat, this NYC lady in tech has used her sharp storytelling skills, business brilliance + eye for style to transform society’s biggest cultural pain points into socially responsible brands that are catalysts for change.
Meet Letitia and get ready to transform your social network at www.dearfuturefriend.com