Monday, May 22, 2006

“Sex and the City” meets MySpace. That’s how local entrepreneur Allie Savarino describes her latest venture,, a social- networking Web site at which women of all ages are invited to share thoughts, photos and conversations on topics such as parenting, business, television shows and skin care products.

“It’s unthinkable to me that nobody went down this path initially. There’s just something innate to women that they want to share, they want to contribute, they want to stay in touch,” said Ms. Savarino, 34, who was named one of Fast Company magazine’s Fast 50 business leaders last year.

“This audience is so ripe for the Internet,” she said of her targeted demographic of twentysomethings through middle-aged women.

Users of, who may register free of charge but must be at least 21, have the option of limiting their interaction to private groups of friends or forming open “Sister Circles,” where others with similar interests can participate.

The company was a product of friendship: Ms. Savarino met Sally Rodgers, Sisterwoman’s co-founder, while going through a divorce from her husband of three years. Ms. Rodgers was having tough times of her own. With each other’s help, the two women made it through.

“My life was being turned upside down, and we shared that experience,” Ms. Savarino said.

The friends identified the need for a site that would allow women to keep in touch with friends at their own pace.

“Almost every woman will tell you, as the demands grow in their life, one of the first things really to go is the time they spend with their girlfriends,” Ms. Savarino said. Sisterwoman “allows for a relationship to exist even when our life gets in the way.”

The site debuted April 19 after nine months of consumer testing. It has attracted 200,000 members, and Ms. Savarino and the rest of the company’s 18-member staff — including former employees from the MTV and E! cable channels — hope to expand that to 1.2 million by the end of the summer. In addition, the company plans to take its offerings to other media, including wireless, television and publishing.

Ms. Rodgers said Ms. Savarino’s advertising background has been an asset to the company.

“She not only brings a wealth of experience, but also the steadfast dedication necessary to bring something like this to life,” Ms. Rodgers said.

Ms. Savarino, a former senior vice president at Unicast Communications Corp. in New York, stressed the site’s unique appeal to advertisers, who receive feedback as their products are discussed by users.

“Women are seen today to be the drivers of almost all purchase decisions and outside of the home, so there’s a huge number of advertisers who want to reach those women,” she said.

Ms. Savarino said her company is perfectly suited to her interests.

“The Internet from its infancy was the perfect ‘white board’ for consumer behavior — one that is not dictated by a medium or an advertiser, but one where the consumer is really leaving the bread crumbs to follow,” she said.

“The challenge I’m drawn to is that kind of dance, paying very close attention to what those bread crumbs mean and then creating solutions that leverage technology to best meet them.”

Ms. Savarino lives in Northwest.

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