Happy New Year lovelies! We're kicking 2020 off with a 20 minute sit down with the Founder of The Coven, Sapphire Bates. The Coven is an online community for female founders, freelancers and entrepreneurs.
We love that you’re reclaiming the traditionally derogatory idea of witches to build a kick ass community of women who are lifting one another up. What inspired you to start The Coven?
Loneliness! I started my own flower studio in my very early twenties after backpacking in Northern Thailand for a while (I was meant to travel and fell in love with Pai!) and went from being surrounded by people all of the time to spending every day in flower studio on my own, going home to bed on my own and getting up to do it all again. It was so isolating and I craved connection. I couldn’t afford to have employees at that, I used a pool of freelancers for all of our events but I only really saw them for big events on a Friday. I wanted people to talk too! I decided to start a platform that would bring anyone, no matter where they were in the world, together so that people could feel they had a support network around them. I chose the name The Coven, and used the terms witches for our members because there is nothing wrong with being a powerful woman, there is nothing to fear.
What does being a member of The Coven entail?
So much goes down within The Coven community, it’s mad! Being a Coven member gives you access to things like our online community where you can chat with all of our members at any time, ask questions and receive a ton of answers. It also gives you access to a library resources and workshops to help your business, an online book club, a directory to search members by location and industry, live online workshops each month, a weekly email written by me, discounts to various brands and goodies, virtual networking events, member’s blog and so much more. That’s only our bottom tier!
If you sign up to a higher tier you also get access to accountability calls to keep you on track and monthly coaching calls with me. We are adding a series of online yoga and pilates classes in January which I’m HYPED about. So many business owners and freelancers spend so much time at their desks and rarely make it to the gym so we’re bringing the gym to you.
How does your mentorship programme work?
It’s super simple. You choose your membership tier dependent on how much support you need. The higher you go, the more 1 on 1 support you receive from The Coven team. All of our resources are accessible 24/7 and for our members to dip in and out as they like. The great thing about our membership is that we are here for you when you need it. Many of our members have really busy lives but they like knowing that The Coven is there for support when they need it.
What are your plans for The Coven’s future?
I have so many ideas that I really want to bring to life. 2020 sees our online gym classes, virtual roundtables and something printed… can’t say too much about that just yet but it’s going to be REALLY cool. We are launching a free beta version of our platform in Australia this year too with the full platform coming in 2021. I’m very excited to meet lots of witches across the pond.
What do you think are the biggest challenges facing women today?
This is such a hard question, because everyone has their own individual challenges going on, no two battles are the same. I don’t think it’s the biggest challenge but I’m really keen to see the gender pay gap lessen until it’s equal. The statistics are shocking and it’s so unbelievable that a woman can be paid less purely for being female.
What is the best thing about being a woman in 2020?
We’ve come so far in the past hundred years. Having more freedom than ever, we aren’t there yet though and there are still so many females that are yet to see the same level of equality as I myself am as a white woman. I think we forget how recently it was that women didn’t have so many rights. I mean up until 1974 banks required single, widowed or divorced women to bring a man along to cosign any credit application, regardless of their income. That’s crazy!
What advice would you give your 20 year old self?
Stop panicking, you can’t see it now but you’re on the right path, everything is going to be so great so just keep doing what you’re doing. Maybe take a few more days off once you start your business in a couple of months and sleep a little more.
What makes you feel empowered?
Doing the things that make me happy. Believing in myself. Leading a life that I am proud of. Owning myself, my mind and my body, loving it regardless of what anyone else may think of me. Earning my own money and supporting myself single handedly. Coming home to a space I call my own and knowing that it was my business that paid for me to be here.