Witschy, an Etsy-type online marketplace for women selling and buying art, was founded by two female entrepreneurs in 2016 and has, since its launch, sold art to a total value of over $200 000. It’s a success story created by Penelope Gazin and Kate Dwyer, two female artists and entrepreneurs. Oh, and did we mention “Keith”? This third — male — co-founder may only exist in our minds (and in investors’ inboxes) but he’s managed to get deals and star treatment that Gazin and Dwyer never got until he “came aboard.”
This story is making headlines and viral waves at the moment, but way back in May, BUST talked to Gazin about Keith — and the reason behind him.
“We created Keith out of necessity since we had to project manage building a really ambitious website from scratch essentially. We were having some issues with developers talking down to us so we created this character named ‘Keith’ to be our ‘boss.’ We noticed he commanded more respect,” Gazin told BUST in May.
“One person we worked with would address Keith by name every time there was an email exchange and never questioned his decisions, whereas when that same developer spoke with us he never addressed us by name and there was a different tone. It just made everything go a little bit smoother, because the people we worked with paid us more respect,” she said at the time.
The sad, but real, conclusion to be drawn from these female entrepreneurs’ story is how difficult it still is for women to get ahead in male dominated fields like the tech industry, and to gain respect from male peers if they choose to go by their own, female, names. And the tiresome realization of how it always seems to be, quite literally (or should we say “virally” ?), just one man standing in between you and your goal.
Read the full BUST interview with Witchsy co-founder Penelope Gazine here.
Top photo of Kate Dwyer and Penelope Gazin, courtesy of Witchsy.
More from BUST