Why did youcreate Miss O and Friends?
I founded Miss O and Friends (www.misso.com) in 2005 when I was 16 years old. After witnessing my younger sister, Olivia, and her friends start dealing with problems such as cliques, boys and body image starting at the age of 8 (terrifying!), being the older sister, I wanted to create something that would help them through middle school. That is when the idea for Miss O and Friends came about and I created a space place online for tween girls.
Tell us about the Miss O community and why it’s so fabulous!
Miss O and Friends and our 100% safe socialization app, the Girl2Girl Wall, is a place where girls can ask questions, get advice and talk to other girls without all the scary stuff parents (and kids!) are worried about in a social network. Nothing gets posted on both the website or the app without a real human person reading it and approving it. This way, we can screen for not only identifiable information, but also bullying, hate language and content that wouldn’t be appropriate for the 8-14 year old girl. Our registration process is completely COPPA, and we never ask for the last name or address or other personally identifiable info from the girls when the sign up. Our users create a screen name, which serves as their identity on the site and the app. We take both the physical and mental safety of our users very seriously and in the 13 years we’ve been in business, we’ve never had any sort of breach.
Our website is also totally by girls, for girls and its our amazing community of girls who are responsible for all the incredible content you see. Our community is all about girls being able to honestly express themselves, and it’s important they feel comfortable and safe when asking those awkward questions knowing they aren’t going to be criticized or bullied. Unlike other social media apps, there are no likes, followers or photos. Instead, the Girl2Girl Wall is a judgment free-zone where girls can get advice from other girls their age for IRL situations. Our mission has always been help, empower and build self-esteem in young girls and we do this by giving them a platform to express themselves, ask questions, get advice and have fun. Girls helping girls is really powerful, and by creating an environment where it’s cool to do that, just imagine how much good can come from it.
What’s been the biggest lesson you have learnt in your journey creating Miss O and Friends?
Running your own business is tough and you have to have thick skin (something which I’m working on!) It’s not hard to take everything so personal, when in fact it is so personal to you. There will be a TON of ups and downs, and it’s something that you have to learn how to manage. It’s important to surround yourself with people who support you and believe in you, because they can help build you up when you need it the most.
Now, we need to know all about this fantastic You Tube Premium Original series called Hyperlinked? What inspired you to create it? (www.missoandfriends.com/watch-hyperlinkedepisode- 1 / )
Hyperlinked is inspired by the story of Miss O and Friends and follows 5 girls in middle school as they build a website (MissO.com) to help other girls, while navigating middle school. The series has a heavy focus on STEM, coding, entrepreneurship and positive female friendships. Hyperlinked stars girl band L2M and each episode also has an original L2M song and music video. It was so cool to see my real story come to life and very surreal at times! Season 1 has 10 episodes and we’re hoping to make more seasons.
Do you have any exciting projects you working on that you can share with us?
We’d definitely love to continue with Hyperlinked, so we are looking for new partners there. We are also developing an animated series for younger girls (ages 5-8) that would be based around the Miss O and Friends IP and have similar themes from Hyperlinked, while focusing more on Olivia and her friends. We recently launched our socialization app, the Girl2Girl Wall, which I mentioned before. It’s a free app and available in both the App Store and Google Play. We’re in the process of releasing a new version of the app, which will have new updates and features. Overall, we’re really looking to grow our tween girl media brand and excited about all the ways we can help empower and inspire girls!
Come visit us at:
web – www.missoandfriends.com/
instagram – @L2Mofficial