Amanda Arch is the Co-Founder and Global COO of Kasha, an e-commerce and consumer insights platform that is revolutionizing the way that women in East Africa buy their health and personal care products. They provide their customers the ability to confidentially order products and have them discreetly delivered to a location of their choice. The platform is built to be widely accessible - no internet or smartphone required.
Kasha is a purpose-driven business focused on promoting women's empowerment for health and self-care while providing direct access to quality products and information. Their vision is to one day serve millions of women around the world, serving as the go-to place for women's health and personal care products. Since launching in 2016 they have delivered over 50,000 products, secured a partnership with Unilever to leverage their platform, and been awarded a grant from the Gates Foundation to expand into Kenya.
We asked Amanda to share with the Tribute community a bit more about her, and why she decided to co-found Kasha.
How old are you? I just turned 30 : )
Where were you raised?
I split my time in childhood living in Urbana, IL during the school year, and Sammamish, WA during the summers.
What you want to be known for?
I want to be known for making it easier for women to get the resources they need to control their own destinies.
What made you decide to start your venture? Tell us about YOUR WHY.
A few factors contributed to me deciding to join my co-founder in starting this venture.
First, I deeply believe in the long term vision for our company, that all women should have access to products and information that enable them to make the best choices for their lives. In thinking through how Kasha could help achieve this outcome, I felt compelled to try. I had to get off the sidelines and stop assuming that someone else was going to make this happen. It was really easy to say, I'm not qualified, I don't have the experience or connections or whatever to pull this off. That was coming from places of fear, insecurity and scarcity. When I stepped back and thought through what I could do today to meaningful move this idea forward, I had a lot to offer. In that sense, I believe we really are the ones we have been waiting for.
Second, many things came together from a timing perspective. I have always wanted to work in the global development and emerging market tech space. As my 30th birthday was approaching I felt the weight of the clock ticking saying when are you going to take the plunge? I had flexibility and support both financially and emotionally to quit my current job and explore options - including potentially joining another company in the space. When I connected with my co-founder and heard her idea for what would become Kasha, I immediately knew I wanted to help make this exist in the world.
Did you leave a cozy Corporate job? Or start a side hustle?
This is my second start up experience so had already made the decision to leave my 'corporate job' at Microsoft a few years earlier. I felt as prepared as one can be for the uncertainty, discomfort and struggle that is the first few years of starting a new business. It was still so much harder than I possibly could have imagined.
What inspires you to keep going when the going gets tough?
It is a huge privilege to have the opportunity to work on something I am very passionate about. I am so grateful for the family, friends, supporters, advisors, mentors, investors, employees, partners and especially our customers who are with us on this journey. A quote I try and reflect on during the tough moments is from Randy Pausch, the author of the Last Lecture, “The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.”
And finally, we asked Amanda to answer these three questions.
My favorite self-care routine is...
Holding space in my life outside of the business for other passions. And sleeping.
The last book I read was ….
I always try to read a mix of non fiction and fiction so will share both. Non Fiction: Dear Madame President, An Open Letter to The Women Who Will Run the World by Jennifer Palmieri, Fiction: The Sense of An Ending by Julian Barnes.
My best advice to fellow female founder is…
No one knows exactly what they are doing. Everyone is figuring this out as they go along. Some are better at faking it than others. You are not alone and the universe will rise up to meet you when you make the choice to pursue the life of your wildest dreams.
To learn more about Kasha and support Amanda on her mission, visit Kasha’s website, follow her on Twitter (@_AmandaArch) or email her at Amanda@kasha.co.