Expat Entrepreneurs - Elyse & Ashley from Bravery

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1. Where did the idea for Bravery come from? 

We both had different experiences with our daughters that led us to believe that our kids could benefit and love learning about the stories of brave women. As parents living in a society of princess culture and male-dominated children's books, we were frustrated by the lack of resources available to teach our children about brave, smart women who did hard things. We wanted to provide other options for our kids besides princess dresses and fairy wands. We wanted to introduce them to strong female role models- REAL women who have done real, brave things. We wanted a resource we could do together with our children beyond reading books with them -- something interactive that was also beautifully designed, fun, and empowering. 

2. How did the two of you meet? Why did you decide to work together? Was Bravery your first idea or have you run your own businesses before? 

We met about 7 years ago at church! We have been good friends since then and have always had dreams of doing something fun together. In fact, when we first met, we and our husbands wanted to start a shaved ice business. It never worked out, but we've always had ideas in the backs of our minds. Neither of us have ever run our own business, but when the idea for Bravery Mag came to us, we just ran with it and figured things out along the way.

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3. You are both Brave to start a business of your own - what have you found to be the most challenging aspects in getting started? 

Starting a business is scary! Navigating the ins and outs of meaningful representation and inclusion have been such an important learning aspect for us. It's also difficult to know where to start and what to do - how to grow, when to hire, etc. But we've found that reaching out to others for help is so important. There are so many wonderful people who are willing to give advice or even just commiserate with. We've been so uplifted by the small business community and hope to be able to pay it forward. 

4. If you were to do a kick-starter campaign again - how would you do it differently?

We were really happy with how we ran our Kickstarter campaign. We reached out to lots of influencers and successfully spread our message faster than we had even hoped for. We met our funding goal in just under three days, and at the end of our campaign had raised double what we had initially planned to. It was a surreal experience and super fun. I think we would have liked to be a bit more prepared for the fulfillment stage and possibly have a little more connections with local news outlets and other PR opportunities, but overall, we were very happy with how it all panned out.

5. There are many different ways for us to teach our children to be brave and have courage, why did you decide to create a magazine? 

Ashley has always loved magazines and has had a dream of working for one someday. We tried other options for our idea (like a subscription box), but the logistics just weren't working for us. We decided to create a magazine for a few reasons. We wanted something tactile that children could hold and touch, something that wasn't a screen that also included hands-on activities and would encourage interactions between parents and children. We also wanted to create something geared towards a younger audience that was beautifully designed and aesthetically pleasing. Although it is a magazine, it's not like typical magazines you may have experienced. There are no ads, and the paper is printed on thick, quality paper with beautiful illustrations and color. We see Bravery Mag as more of a book than a magazine. It's something of a keepsake that we hope our readers will collect and treasure for years to come. 

6. How did you decide what features and focus would be to create the magazine?

There are so many brave women with incredible stories we could feature. When choosing a woman, we have to take a lot of things into account. We have to make sure that there is enough documentation about her life to create 64 pages of content around. We have to make sure we have access to licensing photos of the woman, and that it's age appropriate and applicable. Once we find a woman that meets all of the criteria, we brainstorm and think of all the different activities and aspects of the woman's life that we could expand on -- and then it gets fun! We create content and activities that center around her life and work, and it comes together in a really cohesive, beautiful issue by the end. 

7. Who are your children’s favourite role models? Why?

Elyse's daughter Vivian loves Jane Goodall and Mae Jemison, mostly because those are the first role models with context she has been exposed to. She's loves Mae Jemison because she never gave up on her dreams to go to space. She loves Jane and wants to be like her when she grows up "because she was brave when she was exploring the jungles and because she loved bugs and animals". 

Ashley's daughter Hazel loved Rosie the Riveter for a long time. She loved pretending to be strong and build airplanes like Rosie. Her interest in Rosie actually is a big reason why we started Bravery in the first place. 

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8. Will we find any fairy tales in the magazines? Fantasy and Fiction has a been proven to have many positive effects on our mental health. Do you agree? How do you think we can access those benefits without it being too harmful?  

Because of the nature of the content, there are no fairy tales in the magazine. Everything is based on fact and centers around the woman we are featuring. The stories of the featured women are kid-friendly and easy to read, and follows their lives from childhood to adulthood. That being said, we also believe in the power and benefits of imagination, and try to incorporate a lot of space for kids to use their imaginations and creativity throughout the magazine. In fact, our tagline is "a guide for dreaming and doing". We believe that all big accomplishments start from dreams and imagination. Learning about strong women, seeing where they started and how they became who they are, and then providing opportunities for children to explore their own interests will help empower them to pursue their own dreams, no matter unreachable they may seem. We absolutely believe that fantasy and fiction has a place in our children's worlds and have many positive affects, but we are choosing to focus on other aspects of positivity. 

9. Is the magazine specifically for girls, or do you hope it will appeal to boys or become gender neutral? 

We've created our magazine specifically with girls AND boys in mind and strive to make it gender neutral and interesting to both genders. We feel like it's a misconception that boys aren't or can't be interested in stories of women -- girls learn about the stories of men all the time! We wanted to bring these stories of brave women to the forefront and show how interesting and inspiring they can be for all kids. 

10. What do you think is the biggest challenge girls will face in society as they grow up? 

Girls face a lot of challenges, but I think a big one is self-confidence. A lack of self-confidence because of comparison, social media, the way society objectifies and pressures women, or just a general lack of strong role models can all contribute to that. We hope to combat a small part of that by trying to teach kids at a young age that they are brave in their own unique ways and that they can accomplish anything they set their minds to. 

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To check out Bravery go say hi here:  Website | Instagram | Facebook

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