Who is Hilary Rowland?

10
Mar
2014
Entrepreneur Hilary Rowland

Hilary Rowland

In a two-dimensional digital world, I’ll do my best to give you an idea of who I am.

  • I’m a country girl at heart, living a city girl’s life.
  • My father is a professor of philosophical thinking and ethics, and has passed along those two strengths (obsessions) in me.
  • I was a dork in high school (kinda still), and had a hard time fitting in.
  • I’m very happily married to my soul mate (they exist!)
  • I wish that the world were like Shallow Hal, and that people’s outer representations would reflected how much love and empathy they have in them.
  • I have green eyes with a ring of amber, and I’d love to use that eyelash enhancing stuff, but I’m afraid it’ll turn my eyes completely brown.
  • I love animals and know that my life wouldn’t have been the same without my super lovable cats. (Rescue, don’t buy!)
  • I have way too much clothing, though I bought it almost all on eBay. I love a bargain 🙂

I’ve been an entrepreneur since I was 14. I run a number of businesses and am working on several new ones. Yeah, it’s a lot, but my brain is always running and if I wasn’t super busy I’d probably be bored silly.

I grew up in Canada. In the middle of the woods outside (yes, not even inside) a tiny town with one street light called Welcome  (I’m not making this sh*t up, I promise), which is 15 minutes from a town called Port Hope, where I lived until I was nine. My parents are what I like to call intellectual hippies. At the dinner table, we’d have nightly discussions about philosophy, ethics, religion and politics. Now that I’m married, my husband and I often have these discussions as well. Mostly because we can’t believe the crazy circus this world is. But I digress.

What do I do for a living? Here it is. I’m a bit of a nerd.

Ever since I was old enough to remember I’ve had, and loved, computers. My brother and I used to race home from the school bus to see who could be the first to get to the computer. We had wars over who got to use that thing. I love what the computer lets me do. I love design. Like Web design, for example. I taught myself to code and build web sites by trial-and-error, because it was fun, creative and instant-gratification. Hence, nerd!

My friends affectionately call me a computer geek from time to time. I don’t mind it. When I was a kid I used to spend a lot of time on the computer writing or occasionally–and I hate to admit it because, wow, what a time-suck!–playing games like Warcraft and Sim City.

I launched the first ever online magazine back in 1994/95. It’s called Urbanette Magazine. Starting in 2013, Urbanette went into print (twice yearly). I founded Urbanette magazine when I was 14 years old because, as an equal rights activist, I wanted to help educate and inspire women on the critical issues of self-esteem and female leadership. In keeping with these goals, I decided to turn Urbanette into the first 100% volunteer-run magazine, and donate 100% of our profits to Women in the World Foundation, as the charity’s values and goals are exactly in line with ours.

Shortly after, I invented online casting and portfolios, under the name New Faces®, to help models and actors network and freelance. I’ve since founded Project Migration, which sells fashion accessories and apparel to raise funds for water and medical supplies to aid those living in extreme poverty. It was one of the very first social enterprises (charity-focused businesses). It’s got some pretty cool supporters, like Sting, Richard Branson and Adrian Grenier. These two projects are on hold though, because I’m focusing on a new startup at the moment.

For a while I also had a pop-up contemporary photography and art gallery in SoHo, NYC, called SoHo Loft Gallery. 100% of profits from the gallery went to fund the growth of Project Migration. To be honest, I had no idea it’d be so tough to sell photography! It was a fun venture though, and who knows – maybe it’ll pop-up again at some point. For now, it’s just online.

As if all that wasn’t enough work, I’ve got a few other projects on the go (I’ll let you know when they launch), and in 2013 I started Be The Kindness, a monthly Think Tank with some of the greatest entrepreneurial minds in the country, focused on innovative solutions to improve the lives of animals around the world. All ideas are welcome!

If you want more than that, I wrote a bit more about my career here.