Women at the Helm 2015

Meet 16 dynamos who are true models of success

Co-Founder, Butch Basix and Clubhouse Caravan Charters

“Why should we have to pick one of two genders in order to go shopping? I don’t like that,” says queer-identified Ames Simpson. Sensing others might feel the same, she (along with Susan Donaldson) founded Butch Basix, an online store offering masculine-style clothing, accessories and other items for all genders. In addition to fighting gender-based clothing boundaries, Butch Basix is proud to be environmentally conscious. “We focus primarily on sourcing merchandise that comes from local vendors who follow sustainable and eco-friendly practices, use either organic or upcycled materials, and support artisan craftsmanship.” Simpson and Donaldson also run Bay Area-based green company Clubhouse Caravan Charters, which allows people to rent old trailers and use them as mobile event spaces. “For me, becoming an entrepreneur was a matter of survival,” she says. “As a genderqueer butch, the safest thing for me has been to navigate my way through the margins of the professional world as my own boss. Early in my working life, when I was offered a traditional, corporate job, the expectation was that I would have to conform to traditional feminine expression and presentation. Choosing to work for myself has allowed me to preserve my identity and to not sacrifice the whole of who I am.”

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