Thursday, March 28, 2013

Chick Sticks: Empowering Young Women Surfers

Lola has always had a passion for surfing, a sport mostly dominated by men. However, she found that the typical surfboard were too bulky and difficult to manage, and didn’t meet the needs of female surfers. So she began to order custom-shaped boards that worked better for her body.

Lola quickly learned that she was not alone and that many other female surfers wanted a surfboard more proportional to their build. Girls at the beach would ask her where she got her board—sometimes literally buying the board out from under her arm. Lola saw the need in the market and started Chick Sticks, a company dedicated to producing custom surfboards and surf and skate gear for girls. Since starting operations, she’s expanded to a second factory location where her team of employees cut, shape, paint and glass the boards in-house.

Lola recently came to Accion for a $10,000 Kiva loan to purchase inventory, allowing her to produce boards ahead of the influx of orders she receives for custom boards. She will also be able to embark on her new line of athletic wear for girls, which will provide them with surfing wear and gear designed specifically with their needs in mind.

What sets Chick Sticks apart is Lola’s energy, creativity and commitment to empowering young women. Before being painted, each board receives a written message of encouragement from Lola herself. She also sponsors a surfing team of over 20 girls, providing boards and gear to those who cannot afford to compete. With every board she makes, Lola hopes to empower girls to surf and skate alongside the best of the boys.

To purchase a custom board or more information about Chick Sticks visit: www.chicksticksbylola.com. Also, watch a video interview with Lola on her Kiva profile: www.kiva.org/lend/539419.

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