Inbal Claudio of Like Minded Collective: “Empower your daughters to know that anything is possible!”

Empower your daughters to know that anything is possible! I grew up with a father that always told me I would succeed in any field I chose. Being a software engineer, he always encouraged me to do programming, science, math problems, but always made it fun for me. We actually used to do math problems […]

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Empower your daughters to know that anything is possible! I grew up with a father that always told me I would succeed in any field I chose. Being a software engineer, he always encouraged me to do programming, science, math problems, but always made it fun for me. We actually used to do math problems for fun while on road trips!

As a part of our series about “Why We Need More Women Founders”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Inbal Claudio, an entrepreneur, military spouse, and mom from Southern California. In 2019, Inbal started researching influencer marketing tactics for her small business, but the platforms she discovered were completely out of her budget. Inbal’s own experiences lead her to decide to do the next best thing which is to create a platform where everyone is welcome.

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?

Before my husband and I got married in November 2017, I knew that I wanted to start my own company prior to moving across the country for his job. After about 6 months of prep and getting everything together, I launched my candle company, GOLDWICK. The company was doing very well. I was in retail stores, doing tons of shows a year, and then when I had my daughter in 2019, I realized that I had to cut down on in-person events and focus more on the company’s social media presence and online sales.

I started looking into influencer marketing but quickly realized that it was something that I couldn’t afford to do. The platforms I was looking into required a few hundred dollars a month to utilize their database and some of them wouldn’t allow me to join because my business wasn’t large enough. I decided to use Facebook and Instagram to search for influencers myself, but the search function is not user-friendly and I couldn’t search for specifics (location, industry, follower count, etc.)

I came up with the idea for Like Minded Collective in November of 2019, a few months before my husband deployed (he’s in the Marine Corps), and immediately started brainstorming and talking to influencers, small business owners, and brands that I knew. The response was incredible, which motivated me to make this a reality.

My husband deployed in February 2020, so my 6-month old daughter and I went back to California to stay with my parents and I started working on Like Minded full time. I found developers, hired a branding agency, and got the ball rolling!

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

I don’t know if it’s interesting, or sad, but I had to fire my first developers and it took me about 3 months to find a replacement. They outsourced the work, which wouldn’t have been an issue, but I didn’t know that from the beginning. The project manager/owner of the company was the middle man between me and the actual developer, but he had no experience with programming, so he was unable to answer any question I had. Every question took 3 days to get a response since the developer was in India and not in our timezone.

The communication was horrible, and he kept telling me that I was searching for perfection when that wasn’t a thing and couldn’t be attained. After many frustrating months, I decided to pay him for his work, which was only about 60% done, and call it quits.

Like I said, it took me 3 months, but I eventually found a great company to take this project to the finish line. I expressed my issues about the initial developer, so he knew exactly what I expected this time around and the communication has been amazing. He is outsourcing the work as well, which he let me know right off the bat, but is managing it perfectly. Like every launch, there are setbacks, but as long as the communication is there and solutions are brought up for problems, I’m happy.

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?

I feel like I’ve made so many mistakes along the way, but I try to learn from each and every single one of them. I think the initial mistake was thinking that Like Minded would take 2 months to build out and launch once I hired the developer. If everything goes according to plan, it’ll be 12 months since I hired my first developer to when we’ll be launching.

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?

My dad…100%! He’s a software engineer by trade and retired a few years ago, so he’s been helping me from the beginning. He was my first “investor” and funded the first round of development for Like Minded. It meant a lot for so many reasons, but the biggest one was that he believed in my idea, even coming from someone who has ZERO experience in the influencer and social media space. He saw the potential right when I initially told him my idea. Since then, he’s been on calls with me, helping me problem solve when it comes to the backend portion, and overall a great mentor. He’s still my dad, so we’re very open and honest with each other. Sometimes his advice is not what I want to hear, but I listen to (almost) everything he says and then make my decision accordingly.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

I’m much more of a podcast listener than a book reader, but Guy Raz has both. “How I Built This” has been instrumental for me as a businesswoman. The stories that people share, whether it be about Spanx or Instagram, have lessons to be learned. I always find it inspiring to hear what people did in order to get their product or service in front of people. Sara Blakely, the founder of Spanx, was telling a story about how she pitched her product to the buyer at Neiman Marcus. Right when her pitch was going south, she took the buyer to the restroom to actually show her how her white pants fit with and without the product. She did whatever it took to get it done, and I love that!

Do you have a favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life or your work?

I recently heard this quote from Dori DeCarlo, the host of Word of Mom Radio, a podcast I was on. After I got done telling her the story about my developer, she said that it reminded her of a quote she loves … “Either you win, or you learn”… and it’s stuck with me ever since. I try not to let setbacks get the best of me, but sometimes they do. I give myself a day to feel sorry for myself, and then it’s time to get back to work! I won’t ever make the same mistake twice though!

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

The one thing I knew before even starting my candle company is that I wanted to give back somehow. I couldn’t come up with one non-profit that I was passionate about, so I decided to donate every month or every quarter (depending on the time of year) to a different non-profit. Overall, GOLDWICK has donated to 16 non-profits! I’m hoping to start donating a portion of Like Minded sales once the platform is up and running.

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 honestly believe that there are so many amazing women founders currently that are paving the way for other women, and there are a variety of resources out there! Tons of VC firms are only investing in women-owned companies. There are many podcasts interviews with female founders, masterminds, accelerator programs, facebook groups dedicated to female founders, you name it! I think the only thing holding women back is the lack of knowledge of these amazing resources. I found out about the resources I listed after I already had the idea for Like Minded and started doing more research. It wasn’t something that was readily accessible, or even talked about.

I also think that because tech is a male-dominated industry, it can be a little intimidating. For the most part, the developers you find (which is a huge portion of your business) will be men. You have to know what you’re talking about, which I definitely didn’t in the beginning, or else they can take advantage of you not understanding what they are working on.

Can you share with our readers what you are doing to help empower women to become founders?

Like Minded is intended for everyone, but the initial push is really for women. I want women to connect with other women and expand their businesses, expand their client base, make a name for themselves, and grow with the help of other like minded women.

It’s a place where women can post their questions for other female founders to answer and start building a network. If someone is questioning whether or not to start a business, or trying to find what resources are available, they can ask on the platform and have other founders give their insight.

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

I think there are so many qualities that really make for a great founder and leader. One reason why I think women should become founders is that we are out-of-the-box thinkers. Our perspective on how we solve problems can be very different from our male counterpart’s approach. Also, having a female perspective in many industries that are male-dominated can be extremely helpful, especially at an executive level! Another reason why women should become founders is that most of us are great communicators. It has been said over and over again that women are great listeners and respond well to verbal and emotional factors/situations.

Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. Can you please share 5 things that can be done or should be done to help empower more women to become founders? If you can, please share an example or story for each.

Talk about what you’re doing! Tell anyone and everyone that you can do it and you may inspire someone!

Empower your daughters to know that anything is possible! I grew up with a father that always told me I would succeed in any field I chose. Being a software engineer, he always encouraged me to do programming, science, math problems, but always made it fun for me. We actually used to do math problems for fun while on road trips!

Get involved with women’s organizations or college clubs.

I think it’s very important to always set a good example of integrity and passion as a woman founder. You never know who’s watching and who you could be inspiring.

Be a mentor for other women founders. Passing on knowledge is the best way to continue the momentum of women entrepreneurs.

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.

I think there should be more entrepreneurial courses in high schools. If you’re a female founder, take the time to reach out to high schools maybe even your alma mater, and offer a lecture if possible. More people need to see successful women bosses.

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.

Through my research, I just recently started binge-listening to podcasts with Jesse Draper. She owns Halogen Ventures, an early-stage VC fund that focuses on female-founded tech companies. She saw a need for more women founders and women in tech, and so she started her VC firm. On top of all that, she’s a mom, absolutely crushing work, and it would be a dream to eventually pitch Like Minded to her!

How can our readers further follow your work online?

Instagram — @like.minded.collective

Facebook —

Website —

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

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