Were you aware that the Toast is in fact, a business? A business that is in the habit of making money? That Nicole and I are not just a pair of gals who decided to start a fun, free club in our spare time, but in fact Women of Business who self-funded our own media network? Rebecca Greenfield at Fast Company knows:
If The Toast were a typical Silicon Valley startup, and not a feminist website that analyzes the lesbian undertones in Grease and imagines texting convos with literary giants, it might position its growth story as something like this: millions of users in one year, massive engagement, and profits. And this week, The Toast announced its first major expansion, hiring Bad Feminist author Roxane Gay to lead its spin-off site, The Butter.
But because The Toast is not a typical Silicon Valley startup–it has no office and its three founders, two of whom are female, reside in three distinct cities–founder and star writer Mallory Ortberg sells her site’s success story with a Twitter joke:
*I wander the landscape of media journalism carrying a cup* anyone want to hear the tale of two women who bootstrapped a profitable business
— Mallory Ortberg (@mallelis) September 10, 2014
Feminist commentary wrapped in jokes is Ortberg’s signature style, and what draws over a million unique visitors (per Quantcast) to The Toast each month. Only a little over a year old, the site was profitable just after three months. And, as Ortberg and her cofounder Nicole Cliffe (formerly of The Hairpin) like to point out, unlike so many of the high-profile media startups today–Vox, 538, First Look–they succeeded without any financial commitment from men.
Look, go read the whole thing. It was lovely, to see The Toast taken seriously as a business instead of a Free Joke Factory, and I highly recommend more people do it.
Mallory is an Editor of The Toast.