West Tenth: Where Women and Wealth Meet
PROVO, Utah – Feb 03, 2023 – From completing junior core projects together to sharing a one-bedroom apartment in New York City with two other girls and a Great Dane, Sara Sparhawk and Lyn Johnson have been through a lot together. Since graduating from the BYU Marriott School of Business, they have become cofounders of West Tenth, an online platform that enables women to easily market and sell their home-grown talents and skills. These 2004 School of Accountancy (SOA) graduates find joy in bringing entrepreneurial opportunities to women everywhere through their unique business model.
Sparhawk and Johnson started as classmates by chance and have remained genuine friends by choice since the SOA junior core. Both women interned at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in New York City. “Sara opened my eyes to the possibility of New York, and we ended up loving every second,” says Johnson.
After the internships and graduation, Sparhawk and Johnson accepted full-time offers at PwC, and they stayed together in New York for another four years. They eventually parted ways to pursue other opportunities.
Through her graduate school research at the University of Oxford, Johnson learned that the time women take out of the workforce to raise families plays a big role in the gender wealth gap. One day Johnson texted Sparhawk, saying she needed help starting a business to tackle this issue. “Sara responded in minutes and said, ‘Let’s do it!’ without even asking me what the idea was,” Johnson says.
In 2020 the two women set out to create an option for women to be home with their families while staying involved in the workplace, says Sparhawk. She and Johnson knew women who were already addressing the wealth gap by starting home businesses that capitalized on the skills they developed as stay-at-home moms, such as home organizing, decorating, cleaning, event planning, and others. However, the friends found that social media alone, which many of these women depend on, does not attract enough customers.
With this in mind, Sparhawk and Johnson created West Tenth. The company provides women with an accessible online platform that extends the reach of what would otherwise be mostly social media marketing. “We're serving a new category of consumer services, the category that has to do with the inside functions of the home,” says Johnson.
By catering to what they call the “softer side” of home and family services, West Tenth opens up more opportunities for women to expand their reach. “If stay-at-home moms are offering a valuable service, they want to be selling to their local communities,” says Johnson. Selling locally fosters direct interactions between sellers and buyers, which allows for more personalized services and also grows the network of home-based businesses.
Both Sparhawk and Johnson enjoy watching each other grow and learn through this entrepreneurial adventure. Sparhawk appreciates how Johnson brings clarity and precision to the business operation. "It’s amazing to watch Lyn work,” Sparhawk says. “She does an amazing job of connecting the dots across all functions of a business.”
Johnson values the energy and passion Sparhawk adds, explaining, “We've learned from each other that starting a business is a journey. If you have a terrific cofounder, such as Sara, and the support network you need, you can do incredibly hard things.”
As they move forward, Sparhawk and Johnson look back with gratitude on the experiences that brought them success. Their incredible journey, Johnson points out, started when they “took their dream and made it into a springboard for bigger dreams in their future.” For Sparhawk and Johnson, watching women everywhere make their own dreams come true through West Tenth makes all of the ups and downs worth it.
Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Samantha Clinger