This Engineer Quit Her Job to Build an Online Community for Women
  Ladies, choose a Saturday night plan: hitting the bars with your girls or staying in with a good book, Netflix queued up and a face mask. If you chose the latter, we have a community for you. If you chose the first, you go...
by Heather Ash


Ladies, choose a Saturday night plan: hitting the bars with your girls or staying in with a good book, Netflix queued up and a face mask. If you chose the latter, we have a community for you. If you chose the first, you go Glen Coco (and can we borrow some of your energy?). If you have felt burnt out, depleted from the week and like you just need to stay in, you aren’t alone. We live in a world of more is more from our work responsibilities to social commitments, and feel the weight of it all increasingly often. It’s ok to need a social, mental and physical break now and then. Plus, haven’t we learned that we can’t do it all?

Alisha Ramos felt all of this at the beginning of 2016 while she was working full-time as an engineer, balancing a social life and keeping up with her personal life. That’s the she decided to quit her job and start Girls' Night In. She envisioned a community of like-minded women who need to take pause, stay in and recharge. Girls' Night In started as a newsletter "for women who'd rather stay in tonight" with tips, book suggestions and funny anecdotes, and has now grown into a place for women to connect, online and offline, over shared interests, chilling out and, of course, the ever growing book club.

We chatted with Alisha about her path to creating GNI and got some of her top tips that every woman can take part in for their own self care routine. Oh, and GNI hosts a bunch of cool real life meet ups for the book club. The next one is November 7th in San Francisco at The Assembly: learn more here.

Photography: Hannah Yoest

What is your background leading up to starting Girls Night In?

Prior to starting Girls' Night In, I worked in tech! I worked as a product designer and front-end engineer. I didn't study computer science or design in school but taught myself after college after realizing that combining art (design) and science (engineering) is like my dream job.

Photography: Kara Scab | Girls' Night In

Where did the idea come from and how did you go about making it a reality?

I launched the first newsletter a few months after the 2016 election. I created the concept and branding around a "girls' night in" because in difficult times, my friends have always been there for me, and I love hosting girls' nights at my place by cooking dinner and just hanging out. I wanted to capture that sense of warm, friendliness and special moments of meaningful connection in a brand and a newsletter, because I felt it was really missing in today's world.

How did Girls Night In evolve from an online community to regular meetups and book clubs?

Our offline community gatherings came about very organically. After a few months of publishing the newsletter, we would regularly get comments or emails from readers who'd say, "Hey, I read a lot as part of my 'staying in' practice. What about a book club?" The book club started online, then we realized that our readers wanted to meet other readers in her city. And the rest is history.

Photography: Sloane Dakota Tucker

What has been the most impactful part/moment of this journey? 

There have been so many, and all of them are from our community members. Our inbox is regularly filled with emails from women who've always felt alone in their need to "stay in" and take a bit of a break. It feels good to know that we're helping women feel better about taking care of themselves. One other impactful moment of this journey has been to see the offline connections and friendships formed between our readers. I know of a few groups who've created their own book clubs after meeting at a Girls' Night In event, and we love that and encourage it. Creating new connections in a disconnected age is what we're all about.

Photography: Girls' Night In

What's your favorite way to chill out that all women can partake in?  

Cooking interesting, complex recipes is a form of self-care for me. I'll usually browse through Bon Appetit or one of my cookbooks (I love Smitten Kitchen) for a recipe that uses seasonal ingredients and spend time in my kitchen. I love taking a break from my screens, and having one thing to focus on. It's very relaxing, and get a delicious treat at the end :) 

Photography: Girls' Night In

What's next on the horizon for GNI?

We're growing! We're starting to grow our team, and next year you can expect us to continue our self-care content as well as double down on our mission of helping you relax, recharge, and form more meaningful connections.

Find a Girls' Night In event near you →

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