If you had an unlimited supply of cash, what would you do with it? Tam Williams and her girlfriends debated that question in 2013 over breakfast at a Cape May, N.J. restaurant. Williams’ answer: She’d put the money toward boosting women’s health, happiness and self-esteem. She wanted women to say, “She’s it,” when they looked in the mirror.
“As soon as the words were out my mouth, I said, ‘Give me a napkin so I can write that down,’” Williams recalls.
The next week, Williams registered She’s It as a business. “I thought it’d be a blog or some kind of side hustle,” she admits.
Five years and $300,000 later, Williams has released She’s It, a female-focused health and wellness app. The tech world is crowded with fitness apps, but the She’s It SHEapp is designed differently. Unlike Garmin or FitBit, SHEapp is not chained to a device—it works on mobile phones. It does more than count steps, calories or hours spent sleeping, focusing on “360-degree wellness.” The 15 topics on the app include exercise, health, diet, happiness, work, education and spirituality. “If you don’t have inspiration, spirituality, happiness and kindness in your life, you are not truly healthy,” says Williams.
She should know. A domestic abuse survivor, Williams had three children and a picturesque suburban life in New Jersey with her first husband, a high-powered executive. “Everyone thought I’d made it, but I was living a double life,” she says.
Behind closed doors, Williams withstood years of physical and psychological abuse. “I had a husband who said, ‘You want to divorce me? You’re black, have three kids and are skinny as hell. Who will want you?’ I believed it.”
After one harrowing night, Williams’ children crowded around her as she cried. “They said, ‘Mommy, why are we still here?’”
That was the turning point. Packing her kids and a few belongings into her car, Williams drove until she hit California. She didn’t know a soul there, but she stayed until her divorce was finalized. “I had to get as far away as possible, because I knew he would hurt me,” Williams says. “It’s by the grace of God that we made it out of there and were OK.”
That was 30 years ago. Williams is now happily remarried. She’s had a long, successful career in corporate America, plus ventures into radio and West Chester politics. She’s now 56, which may seem a bit old to be launching a tech-based company—but it’s really a culmination of her personal and professional experiences. “During my abusive first marriage, I didn’t really have friends, and there was no online community,” she says. “I was very alone, very isolated. If I had something like She’s It at my fingertips, I could’ve connected with other women. Even if it wasn’t about abuse, I would’ve had inspirational content that made me feel that I was worthy and powerful.”
That message is embedded into She’s It. It’s one reason why Williams chose an elm leaf as the company’s emblem. Elms are known as goddess trees, she says, partly because they are medicinal and nutritional. They can’t bear fruit until 15 years of age. An elm was also one of the only trees that survived the 4,000-pound bomb that exploded in Oklahoma City, Okla. in 1995, killing 168 people. It’s since been designated the Survivor Tree by the Oklahoma City National Memorial Museum. “It is alive—it is resilient and thriving,” Williams says.
Even so, birthing She’s It was difficult. Williams hired a designer and development team to bring her vision to fruition, only to be told it was impossible. “They told me I was trying to do too much with the app and it couldn’t be done, which I wouldn’t know because I’m not in tech,” she says. “I respect their experience. But I’m a woman, a woman of color and a baby boomer. I know what I want and I know what other women like me want.”
Williams was right. Since its launch in October 2018, She’s It and its app has millions of downloads, advertisers and product sales. Its corporate version—which features a private portal for human resources departments to release content to employees—has generated interest from local powerhouses SAP and Independence Blue Cross.
If Williams’ projections hold up, She’s It will generate more than $3.5 million by 2020. That’s not too bad for an idea born over breakfast.