Jessica Earnshaw '20, Entrepreneurship Graduate helped to create Betty Boarders organization during the pandemic.
Jessica Earnshaw ‘20 recently completed her final semester this fall and had the rare opportunity to apply concepts from her course, New Venture Marketing, to a real-life business venture called Betty Boarders. The organization, founded by Earnshaw’s closest friends Emma Thomas, Dom Conlu, and Claire Garlington, sought to create community, resources, and now a very successful brand, for women who are passionate about surfing or learning how to surf.
Over the months spent in quarantine this summer, Jessica and her roommates had passed the time surfing socially distanced waves at San Diego’s prime beaches in La Jolla. It was there on the water that they came up with the idea to build a women’s surf club that would provide connection and a supportive space for women who like to surf or would like to try. Betty Boarders now provides a community forum via slack (and a soon to be website with portal access) for all members interested in catching the next best wave in San Diego. With a $10 per quarter membership fee, members have access to forums about surf conditions and capability recommendations, as well as the opportunity to join “Board Meetings”. This signature Sunday surf meetups not only drive socially distanced connections, but they also feature a safety officer on site (typically one of the founders) to provide instruction and help to newcomers. Most important of all, membership provides access to free surfboard reservations at their board meetings. Removing this barrier to the sport’s entry is made possible by the reinvestment of membership and the partnerships made with local board suppliers.
From left to right: Emma Thomas, Jessica Earnshaw, Dom Conlu, & Claire Garlington
What had started out as a pitch for a UCSD club by Earnshaw’s friends who attend the university, quickly grew to a larger idea and organization due to high demand for membership outside the campus. The founders, a mix of media and engineering majors, had a firm grasp on promotion, but quickly turned to their good friend Jessica to help with the business side of operations to maximize membership, online merchandise sales, and coordination of partnerships with local surfing businesses. Their first merchandise release featuring the retro brand sold out in days and the team is hard at work securing new apparel to launch another round of sales. With a strong social media presence, Betty Boarders is already being approached by local industry players for promotional partnership and the organization is in the beginning stages of establishing non-profit status. It is obvious that Betty Boarders’ mission to, “spread the stoke (not the germs)”, is resonating strongly with women in the San Diego surf community. Fortunately, a team of entrepreneurial young women are identifying a need in the isolated market and fulfilling that need with sisterhood between sets.
When asked to reflect on how her experience at CSUSM has affected her aspirations post graduation, Earnshaw said, "COBA has far exceeded my expectations. I'm graduating a proud alumni, and look forward to using all I've learned in my first entrepreneurial venture, Betty Boarders! My senior experience advisor, Professor Tasooji, has especially motivated and inspired me that I have what it takes to start a venture that can help people in the San Diego community."