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CC Sofronas of Pacific Shaving Company: “Women bring a critical and necessary point of view to the table”

Women bring a critical and necessary point of view to the table. Equally important, there is supporting data that although men raise more capital than women do, women-founded companies perform better. I have found, anecdotally, that women are incredible collaborators and welcome hearing opposing views with the goal of being inclusive and recognizing different voices. […]

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Women bring a critical and necessary point of view to the table. Equally important, there is supporting data that although men raise more capital than women do, women-founded companies perform better. I have found, anecdotally, that women are incredible collaborators and welcome hearing opposing views with the goal of being inclusive and recognizing different voices. In addition — if a founder is also a parent, then they already have built-in multitasking skills — managing the kids’ needs with the family’s need.


As a part of our series about “Why We Need More Women Founders”, I had the pleasure of interviewing CC Sofronas.

CC Sofronas is the co-founder of Pacific Shaving Company, a leading manufacturer of innovative and effective grooming products for men, women and teens. She spent 20 years working in sales, marketing and product development in industries ranging from music, technology and culinary. An east coaster by birth, CC went west, and currently loves living in San Francisco with her husband, three kids and their dog Ivy. She is a voracious reader and is passionate about good food.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?

My earliest days started in the music industry, in distribution with a focus on sales & marketing. After a move out west, I joined an internet startup with a focus on D2C. After that experience, I segued into recipe testing and development along with teaching culinary classes. Currently, I develop new formulas, launch new product lines, and market to both traditional retail and e-commerce. Who knew that my three prior careers would offer me the best foundation for Pacific Shaving!

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Some of the funniest moments are not necessarily mistakes. Rather, it’s my interaction with our customers, which is one of my favorite parts of the job and puts a smile on my face. Sometimes a straightforward grooming question from a customer morphs into a lengthy discussion about life in general. Other times, a customer will ask my opinion about which shaving lubricant to use for shaving their ‘sensitive areas’. However, a uniquely funny moment came when a customer left an expletive-filled voice mail full of high praise that I had to return the call. When I did, he was a bit embarrassed by his colorful feedback but I told him I appreciated the enthusiasm! The bottom line is that being a family business is a feature, not a bug and talking with our customers is a highlight.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Without a doubt, my husband and partner, has been and currently is, my #1 champion. He offers unconditional support that applies to both my professional and personal life. He inspires me, helps me see things in a new light and is an excellent sounding board.

Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the primary focus of our interview. According to this EY report, only about 20 percent of funded companies have women founders. This reflects great historical progress, but it also shows that more work still has to be done to empower women to create companies. In your opinion and experience what is currently holding back women from founding companies?

I’d venture to say some of the challenges facing women from founding companies include lack of access to funding, opportunity, and exposure. These challenges can be overcome, but it requires focused determination and the gumption to carve out your own path if necessary. Thankfully, there are remarkable women who have founded companies that are excellent role models and can help inspire and offer insight.

This might be intuitive to you as a woman founder but I think it will be helpful to spell this out. Can you share a few reasons why more women should become founders?

Women bring a critical and necessary point of view to the table. Equally important, there is supporting data that although men raise more capital than women do, women-founded companies perform better. I have found, anecdotally, that women are incredible collaborators and welcome hearing opposing views with the goal of being inclusive and recognizing different voices. In addition — if a founder is also a parent, then they already have built-in multitasking skills — managing the kids’ needs with the family’s need.

Is everyone cut out to be a founder? In your opinion, which specific traits increase the likelihood that a person will be a successful founder and what type of person should perhaps seek a “regular job” as an employee? Can you explain what you mean?

Some of the traits that every founder should share are determination, flexibility, discipline, and problem-solving. Being able to balance work and personal life will be difficult but necessary. Just when you think you have all the answers, a new insurmountable challenge will knock you down. But if you have a sense of humor, that will help you navigate this roller coaster of a journey. With all of that said, it’s important to note that if you choose a “regular job”, there is still plenty of opportunity for showcasing your talent. As Abby Womach says when you “lead from the bench”, you can play a pivotal role in any organization.

Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me before I Started” and why? (Please share a story or example for each.)

A great idea is not enough. You may have something terrific, but without a plan of execution, it is not going anywhere.

A strong customer base is not a guarantee of success. Even when customers love your products and want to buy them, if you’re out of stock you can’t close the sale.

Distribution is paramount. If your customers cannot easily and readily purchase your products [whether online or at the local store] you will not garner the sales you want/need.

Working tirelessly to get your product on the shelves is only the first part of the equation. Equally important is the second part; working even harder to get the product taken off the shelves and into the customers’ baskets.

Being a founder translates to making your own schedule. It doesn’t mean you work less — you often work more and harder — but it’s on your own terms. This allowed me to always be in the audience or the sidelines for any of my kids’ daytime events. I wouldn’t trade that for anything.

How have you used your success to make the world a better place?

From the onset, philanthropy has always played a feature role with Pacific Shaving. Over the years, our business has donated resources including time and money to help build awareness and support many organizations and causes, ranging from the American Red Cross to the CDC in addition to regional organizations. Finding a way to help is not just something we believe, it’s something we do.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

What a question! One very simple suggestion, that is often difficult to implement, is saying no. This applies professionally and personally. Just because someone is asking, doesn’t mean you have to say yes. I know it’s hard, but the more you say no, the easier it becomes, and your mind and body will thank you for it.

We are very blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.

The incomparable Jennifer Garner. She is a master multi-tasker, a true philanthropist, a great cook, a founder with a fabulous sense of humor, and a fellow Denison alum. However, instead of having a private meal, I would prefer to cook dinner together starting off with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres.

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.

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