As part of the 2019 Class Council’s Adulting 101 series on Thursday, the three Betches founders — Aleen Kuperman ’11, Jordana Abraham ’11 and Samantha Fishbein ’11 — spoke about what it was like to build their company, discussed what they learned from their time at Cornell and asked if anyone in the audience could get them into their old apartment in 312 College Ave (someone could).
Betches, which has over 6 million followers on Instagram, is a multimedia destination for “women who want to communicate honestly and unapologetically,” according to their website. Started during their senior year, Betches was just a WordPress blog where Kuperman, Abraham and Fishbein could post anonymously about things their friends were talking about.
“The blog was a reaction to the lifestyle and culture of what our friends were doing, and what we were doing,” Kuperman said. “We didn’t realize we were talking about the female millennial before she was called that.”
In addition, the blog was also inspired as a counter-reaction to both macho “bro culture” and “fratire” — a portmanteau of “frat” and “satire” — which is a literary genre that “unapologetically lets men be men,” according to an opinion piece by coiner Tucker Max in the Huffington Post.
“We sought out to create a female counterpart [to fratire] where we could laugh at ourselves and our behaviors, and those of our friends and the world around us,” Abraham said at the talk in Phillips Hall.
Today, female empowerment and being a strong female millennial are still very important parts of the Betches’ brand.
“We feel like this is a really important time for women to be out there with their voices and with their opinions, and to be able to make a mark on society in a way that we haven’t always had the opportunity to do,” Fishbein said.
After graduating from Cornell, Kuperman, Abraham and Fishbein decided to see if they could turn Betches into a full time job, which they say was very hard at first.
“There were definitely certain days in the beginning where we wanted to quit,” Abraham said. “We were not making any money, and we were living in our parents’ homes after we graduated — it can become stressful. We definitely had our moments of ups and downs.”
“It was really hard to tell our parents what we were doing,” Kuperman added.
However, Forbes estimated that the Betches brought in nearly $5 million in revenue in 2017, and the company has grown over the years to have an online shop, podcasts and videos with collaborations from celebrities like Keke Palmer and Kelly Ripa.
At the same time, even though they work with a lot of celebrities, Abraham stated that they do not think of themselves as being famous at all.
“We know each other, so we know how lame we truly are,” Abraham joked.
“And we are always there to remind each other,” Fishbein said.
When asked about what advice they would give to future entrepreneurs or themselves back in their Cornell days, the girls stated that they wished they could tell themselves to be open-minded of their own strengths.
Fishbein, who originally planned to be a lawyer, stated she would tell herself to “be more observant of my own experiences, and what I’m actually good at rather than just assuming, oh, I thought I was going to be a lawyer and charging forward with that.”
Kuperman agreed, stating that although she was a biological sciences major at Cornell, her least favorite class was genetics, while her favorite class was actually outside of her major.
“I took a web design class in this very room senior year and I noticed that it was the only class I actually liked,” Kuperman said. “It’s crazy because it is the only class that has actually helped me in my career.”