Girls drop out of sports at 6 times the rate of boys in high school. According to the CDC, only 25% of girls in 12th grade engage in regular exercise, compared to half of boys, and only 1/5 of U.S. girls have daily PE in school. The reasons for this sharp decline in athletic participation typically begins around puberty and include: low self esteem, poor coaching, and gender norms around the ‘unfemineinity’ of sports. As a result, we now see more childhood obesity, bullying, and an overall unhappiness in young girls. Atlanta-based startup Prissy Tomboy wants to combat this trend with their new digital platform. They recently presented at One Spark, the world’s largest crowdfunding festival, and we caught up with the company’s founder to learn more.
Founded by Tracey Pearson, “Prissy Tomboy fills an unmet social need: a nationwide community of female athletes and girls interested in an active lifestyle,” explains Pearson. “Through our empowering community that allows unprecedented access to professional athletes and lifelong sports lovers, we teach girls that it’s possible to stay in sports without sacrificing grace, strength and individuality. More importantly, it teaches them that being athletic doesn’t make them any less of a girl. Instead, it promotes confidence and camaraderie.”
“We do this by featuring a guide to resources, gear & equipment, fitness & adventure opportunities & health & beauty information,” she continues. “This digital guide offers advertisers, from locally-owned mom & pops to national brands, the chance to speak directly to their target market through banners, sidebars, editorial inclusion, email newsletter placement & social media postings. Advertisers can even create their own dedicated pages on the portal to feature products, blog content, calendar & event registration, and e-commerce. We also offer our Championship Program. Prissy Tomboy Ambassadors can choose to pay a membership fee to create a page on the portal to spotlight their athletic accomplishments, videos, calendars, stats & academic honors for college recruitment. These Champions also have an opportunity through our portal to crowdsource funds needed for athletics with a percentage coming back to Prissy Tomboy.”
Pearson has led a successful entrepreneurial career in the fashion and beauty industry for more than 15 years and also spent 5 years as a fitness instructor. Throughout that time, fitness always has been one of her keys to success. “My passion is to build confidence and strength in women and girls,” she says. “Working mainly with women, I realized that self confidence stems from our youth. I found my confidence being a healthy and athletic teenager even when I was faced with family financial problems, family members who suffered from drug addictions, a parent fighting cancer, and dealing with the pressures of being a teen. The confidence that it instilled stayed with me for a life time, which allowed me to persevere through the obstacles and challenges. When looking at teen girls today, I realized the pressures I once faced are magnetized by social media and lack of support. I took all the obstacles I faced to be healthy and provided the resources for teen girls to have guidance to find their confidence and recognize those girls to change the stereotype to a healthier, stronger future female leaders.”
Tracey was born and raised in Atlanta. “This is where I started my athletic journey from softball, rock climbing, hiking, skateboarding, etc,” she recalls. “Our first launch was at the softball fields I played at as a child. By starting Prissy Tomboy in Atlanta, I want our youth to change the culture in the city to experience more of what it has to offer and create a lifestyle around it. Atlanta has a strong female entrepreneurial community that is very supportive of Prissy Tomboy’s pursuit to empower our young future leaders.”
While Prissy Tomboy has been bootstrapped up until now, “we are looking for $150,000 to expand our team to take Prissy Tomboy to a national level,” says Pearson. “We are also looking for a fundraising/sales team, account manager, marketing and public relations specialist, and ambassador coordinator.”