Radical Womxn is an award-winning creative studio that is owned by its workers and operates as a cooperative since launching in 2019. Its worker-owners are based in Los Angeles, Seattle, Chicago, and Detroit, and the studio hires creative professionals and artists for large-scale production shoots. Its clients range from non-profit organizations like The Social Impact Center to major brands such as Apple, for which it produced a project for Trans Awareness Week in November.
Often the studio will work with a brand to tell a story and partner them with a social impact or nonprofit initiative. They always hire people from underrepresented communities to create content and tell their own stories in order to mobilize and inspire audiences.
“Our mission is to create change by bringing socially impactful projects to life that help people and our world through art, media, community, and events, and so we work at the intersection of racial justice, gender justice, sustainability, and cannabis justice,” says Lauren Kruz, the Los Angeles-based co-founder and director of Radical Womxn.
Kruz and her partners are seeking to address the roots of systemic oppression through digital webinars, art, video installations, photography, content creation, and building spaces for connection.
Co-founder and Director, Radical Womxn
“Melio is a great tool for small businesses because it's very easy to use and it's free for us to handle our accounts payables, which is priceless for a startup, especially on big projects where many people are being paid out.”
Before starting Radical Womxn Lauren worked for an agency. “What often happens at these agencies is creators wait between one and two months to get paid, because the big companies who hire the agencies often have large accounts payable departments and they have systems that hold up payments 60-90 days,” Lauren says. “It's frustrating to creators because they’re freelance and rely on this income. The work is often done on a tight timeline and production is often very rushed; the big brands want everything done yesterday but can’t be nimble with paying people.”
With Radical Womxn, Lauren and her partners seek to bring added value to their creative community and a big part of this is paying people as quickly as possible. Many freelancers struggle to make ends meet and need their money in their hands as soon as possible.
Another challenge for Radical Womxn has been the impact of the Covid pandemic, especially on the non-profit groups that work with the creative studio. Many of the people behind the non-profits are not tech-savvy and during the lockdowns, they needed to move toward digital marketing and fundraising in order to keep raising money for their projects, Lauren says.
Radical Womxn started using Melio from day one to pay team members and vendors. “We use Melio to pay everyone that works for us, all of our contractors, anytime we have a production or a project. It's been such a seamless tool for us to get people paid quickly and to track invoicing,” Lauren says.
Melio also helped with the challenges facing the non-profit groups. “We’ve been able to help people transcend into a new digital realm,” Lauren says, noting that as a free service Melio is an invaluable tool for non-profits.
Melio has saved Radical Womxn 7.5 hours per week in time spent on making payments as well as 100% of the costs of using an accounts-payable platform. Moreover, its contractors get paid 75% faster than before.
Radical Womxn also manages artists and since the studio is a co-op, artists share in the profits. They plan to expand this business and part of that management includes helping the artist members set up their own businesses. “I envision in the future that we're managing a lot more people and that we're providing them with a welcome suite of tools to get started, and Melio would be one of those tools,” Lauren says.