Sharon Schneider is founder of Aim Local: Chicago, a monthly service that delivers boxes of gifts to subscribers.
The boxes are filled with three to five items from local small businesses.
“It’s a product for customers that want to do local,” Schneider said. “We’re in love with this tech startup idea of huge growth and chasing unicorns, but the way our neighborhoods thrive is when our small businesses thrive.”
Aim Local launched in March 2016. Schneider previously founded Moxie Jean, formerly Good Karma Clothing for Kids, as a place for moms to buy high-end, gently used kids clothes online. The company was acquired in August 2015 by Schoola, a marketplace for gently used women’s and children’s clothes. Schoola says it donates 40 percent of proceeds to more than 13,000 schools.
“We were both mission-focused, and for me it was been bigger than just selling used clothes,” Schneider said. “It’s been about the idea that if we can make resale mainstream, we can change the way that Americans consume new material, which has hugely problematic consequences for the rest of the world.”
Schneider is also a leading voice on the issue of women in technology and the challenges they face. She is a co-founder of Women Tech Founders.
“The good news is that this climate forges women founders who are tough. The bad news is that women who are tired of the daily fight for credibility decide to take their talents to a less wearying industry. And that’s a loss for all of us — consumers seeking solutions to our problems, tech executives seeking talent, investors seeking high-potential startups,” she said.
Moxie Jean was a 2012 graduate of accelerator program Techstars Chicago, then known as Excelerate Labs. Schneider serves as a member of the city’s Technology Diversity Council and was a founding adviser to the Impact Engine accelerator program for businesses that address social and environmental challenges.
Previously, she was a philanthropic adviser to private foundations. She lives in Mount Prospect with her husband Billy and their three children.