The pandemic has highlighted – yet again – the importance of supporting and empowering women, and the real financial risks to excluding women from economic recovery plans. In this interview, Sall Grover outlines why she built a community, Giggle, specifically with the goal to connect and empower women and girls through all aspects of their life.
- What first prompted you to start Giggle?
I spent almost 10 years in Hollywood as a screenwriter, where I experienced everything the Me Too Movement stands against. It was a very isolating and depressing time in my life. All I wanted was to be a professional writer, but despite having professional success, I was inundated with harassment and abuse. I simply couldn’t take it any longer.
Eventually, I left Hollywood and moved to New York. There, I lived with three amazing women in a tiny apartment in Brooklyn and it changed my life. I was reminded of how much better life is with a strong female support network. I came back to Australia for a holiday and during that time, my Mum and I came up with the idea for Giggle. It was my mum who said, “There needs to be a way for girls to help girls!” Our plan has always been to create a platform where girls and women are there for each other, whether it’s for roommates, freelance work, emotional support or something recreational like a hobby or exercise.
- How did you come up with the name?
I actually was really struggling to think of a name, but as we were developing the app we started to centre it around girls being able to create groups. Whether it was a group of two or more. Eventually, I just Google’d “the collective noun for a group of girls” and discovered it was “giggle”. I thought that was quite fun and the writer in me liked that the app name was actually a double entendre. Incidentally, the collective noun for a group of women is “gaggle” but that is also the collective noun for a group of geese so it isn’t just “ours”. Giggle is.
- Why do you believe having women-only environments and spaces are important?
There are so many reasons why women-only environments are important and I don’t think we realise that importance until we are in one. Obviously, there are a lot of negative things women have to deal with in society purely because we are women. While these experiences played a part in me wanting to develop the app, I also spend a lot of time focusing on the fun of women-only environments. I don’t think we have to justify wanting them because of the bad things. I think we can say, “I just want to spend some time with the girls” and be done with it. I love girl talk.
- What has been most surprising to you about the uptake of Giggle since launching?
I always knew there was going to be some backlash, as standing up for women remains a controversial topic. So, in that sense, nothing has unpleasantly surprised me. The best thing I have seen, so far, is how open and honest women are in their profiles on Giggle. There’s a comfort that is rarely seen on the Internet.
- What’s next for Giggle?
We have so many exciting things coming up. We have a new feature on the app we are preparing to launch and I’m very excited about it. We are then heading into our next funding round, which we’re doing by Equity Crowd Funding. This means that unsophisticated investors – i.e. every day women just like us – can own shares in Giggle for as little as a few hundred dollars. I want to know that I am always working with and for women, and they are on the Giggle journey.
About the expert
Sall Grover is the founder and CEO of “Giggle” a girls/women/female only app currently used in 83 countries around the world. Prior to running Giggle, Sall earned her bachelors degree in film, a masters degrees in journalism & philosophy and worked as a screenwriter in Hollywood. Sall has a Pekinese dog named Puck who is adorable but 20% evil.
Image description: Sall Grover is sitting with crossed legs in a black t-shirt and blue jeans, looking slightly to the side.