We had the good fortune of connecting with Rebekah Bastian and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Rebekah, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I started OwnTrail after writing a book called Blaze Your Own Trail, which is a choose-your-own-adventure style exploration of the decisions and pathways that women take through life. I wrote the book to help women embrace the fact that there is no one right path through life, and that we’re all connected by shared experiences, even when they don’t get talked about openly.
After I had signed with my publisher, I started exploring what I thought would be a cool book launch website. But it ended up taking on a life of its own and becoming an entire platform for women to visualize and navigate our life paths. On OwnTrail, women can own and share their authentic stories as Trails, see people who look like them in the places they aspire to, and help each other through obstacles and opportunities.
The thought process behind leaving my comfortable corporate executive job and starting a company was basically: “I can’t not do this.” I felt like everything I had learned and experienced up until that point had led to starting OwnTrail.
What should our readers know about your business?
OwnTrail is an incredibly values-driven company. We see ourselves as the antithesis to mainstream social media. By creating a safe space for women to share their authentic journeys on their own terms, and to connect with each other in meaningful ways, we’re putting an end to doom scrolling, popularity contests and highlight reels.
Staying true to our values isn’t always the easiest path, but it’s the only one for us. Fundraising took more work because we wouldn’t compromise on finding values-aligned investors that represented the diversity of our community. We’ve switched banks and lawyers to ensure we’re partnering with people and companies that fit our values. We’re not willing to employ growth-at-all-costs tactics, and so we’ve grown intentionally with the help of our community. These are all decisions that can feel like more work, but are 100% worth it.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
In terms of my entrepreneurship journey, I can’t imagine building OwnTrail without my co-founder, Kt McBratney. She keeps me focused on our vision and values, brainstorms wild ideas with me, and gives the best pep talks ever. The whole experience would have been less fun and successful without her partnership.
Lisa Elliot for main photo and photo of me holding book. Green Photograph for picture of me in white surrounded by flowers.