"STEM nonprofit Girlstart partners with fashion tech company La Maison Steel"

Girlstart, an Austin-based nonprofit celebrating 26+ years of empowering girls through STEM, announces a new partnership with fashion-tech company La Maison Steel. Through November 16, La Maison Steel will donate 20% of all SmrtKuff® sales to Girlstart to support its After School, Summer Camp, and Community STEM programs. 

STEM challenges need new ideas and solutions, yet half of the world's population, girls and women, are not invited to the table. Women are dramatically underrepresented in STEM majors and careers, constituting 48% of the total workforce, but only 34% of the STEM workforce. Girlstart seeks to change this through its comprehensive After School, Summer Camp, and Community STEM programs, which introduce STEM careers to girls who have been historically marginalized. These evidence-based programs reach girls during the critical 4th-8th grades and provide the confidence and awareness they need to pursue STEM interests in elementary and middle school and beyond.

“We are thrilled to partner with a tech-forward company like La Maison Steel,“ said Girlstart’s Executive Director Shane Woods. “Their commitment to innovation and empowering the next generation of women and girls in tech hits right at the heart of our mission. We can’t wait to see what we accomplish together.”

La Maison Steel is at the forefront of the fashion-tech industry. Their mission is to connect fashion with the value of blockchain technology and digital authentication. During Paris Haute Couture Week in July 2023, La Maison Steel introduced their new line of Apple Watch accessories, known as SmrtKuffs. The luxury connected cuffs aim to fight against counterfeiting while bringing more people, especially women, into the world of blockchain technology.

"We are honored to partner with GirlStart as our missions align so closely. When I set out to create an original fashion accessory compatible with Apple Watch®, I could not imagine how heavily I would lean on my STEM foundation. Not just for the design, but to work through the multitude of challenges along the way, for example: Newton testing for strength, which is why we invented a new connector, and the implementation of blockchain technology for authenticity. If I had not been supported in a solid STEM education, I do not think I could have worked through all the issues and bring the SmrtKuff® to life. GirlStart provides critical programming for girls to learn they can problem solve and find a path forward. I hope our designs and brand will serve to inspire STEM learning to remind young girls in their formative years that nothing is impossible, and you can be smart and stylish.”