Patrice Banks

October 3, 2023
Patrice Banks and Michael Cirillo sit down to chat at ASOTU CON 2023.
Listen On
Apple Podcasts IconSpotify Icon

Patrice Banks and Michael Cirillo sit down to chat at ASOTU CON 2023.

Patrice Banks is the Founder and Chief #she-Can-ic of Girls Auto Clinic.

Thanks to Effectv for making ASOTU CON Sessions possible!

Paul Daly: 0:02You're listening to his soda concessions by effective live from a soda con 2023.

Michael Cirillo: 0:14

Hey, welcome back to this episode of assume concessions for effective I'm Michael Cirillo sitting down with my pal Patrice Banks. She's the founder and CEO of girls auto clinic and the she Kanak brand. Thanks so much for joining me today.

Patrice Banks: 0:27

Hey, how's it going? I'm excited to be here.

Michael Cirillo: 0:28

Awesome. Hey, we're excited to see you. You bring so much positive energy with you wherever you go.

Patrice Banks: 0:33

Yeah, I'm just really excited about what I'm doing. I'm really passionate about it. Now, I

Michael Cirillo: 0:37

don't know if you remember this. But years ago, years ago, I had you on my podcast, the dealer playbook. Wow, this is how long it's been, how long it's been. And I was just as in and now we're doing this in person isn't in zoom. You're a real person. You don't just exist from here? Because that's all like because Yeah. I want to ask you though, just as a as a bit of a recap of the see the

Patrice Banks: 1:01

hills this time, right? You get to see the red heels this time in person. I get questions about the red heels all the time. Is that part of it? The red heel here? What's my logo? The Red Hill with like the wrench? Yeah. Everyone always wants to know the story of the red heel. Yeah,

Michael Cirillo: 1:15

we're gonna talk about that. Yeah, I want to start off. How did you even come up with this idea again? Yeah, industry all that. Yeah.

Patrice Banks: 1:22

So, you know, I was just looking to solve a problem in my life. And that's kind of where I started. I actually an engineer, I worked for DuPont for 12 years. And I called myself an auto airhead. And I was I panicked anytime something happened with my car. I thought I needed a guy to help me. Right. I always felt taken advantage of. And for that reason, I didn't have good experiences with my car. I didn't make good choices. I waited to the last minute to take things in. And I usually was frustrated. And I thought that was insane. Being an engineer. I'm like, I'm an empowered woman. I don't need a man. Well, yeah, I did. All right. And so I started looking for a female mechanic, I thought, I'm gonna find a woman who's going to help me with my car. Right? She's gonna help educate me. So I feel better about my choices. I don't feel so helpless or powerless. And I couldn't find one I Googled female mechanic. And the first thing that popped up was the 10, top stock images of women mechanics, and you know, women are bikinis. Yeah, and next one muscle car woman like holding a pipe wrench standing next to the tire like and smiling with grease on her cheek, just an authentic, and I couldn't believe I couldn't find a woman mechanic. Right side note, if you if you Google female mechanic, now girls auto clinic pops up first. So because I couldn't find a mechanic, I decided I'm going to become one, right, I'm gonna go back to school, I'm going to learn how to work on cars. And I'm going to create the services, the products, the resources that women need, you know, to have better experiences with their cars. But then also, as I'm kind of learning about cars, and I'm getting more into the automotive industry, I'm realizing women are the number one customer in the automotive industry, we have the majority of the buying power, but we feel powerless. And as an engineer, I'm thinking, why is that? What is the root cause of this problem? And I believe it's because there's women that don't work in this industry. And they're not in positions of influence and power. And so if we want to understand the emotional needs, that drives a woman to buy a car, or approval, repair service, or be engaged, have better experiences, we need women to work in this industry. And so girls auto clinic came more of about, we're not just trying to provide like an auto repair center, we can work on women's cars. But the whole purpose is how do we solve this problem? Which means how do we get women into the industry? And how do we get them in positions of influence and power? So that's everything girls auto clinic, and she can it does is it's geared towards women and that main goal, so we do the auto repair center, we hire and train women mechanics, there's a nail salon there to get your nails done. So women really look forward to coming. Right I know, I didn't look forward to taking my car and when I had an oil change, but now if I don't get my nails done, I'm like, Oh, I can't wait to go. Right, right. And then we educate them on how to make the best choices with their cars, how to feel confident with their choices, how to be you know, confident drivers, smart consumers. I know for me, I never felt good about the choices like go into a repair center, and they say you need this, this and that. I didn't know, right. And I left thinking did I make the right choice. And that's insane. This is our money, we should feel good about it. And we should know how to take care of our cars. And so you know, I teach women that and they're really excited to know that it's not rocket science. They don't need a guy right? We do Car Care workshops where they learn on their vehicle. They're learning how to pop their hoods. A lot of women don't know how to pop their hoods and you know how much shame is around that? Really Yes, and they're scared to ask questions because they don't know even small little basics right and I get it I wasn't auto Airheads so I come in saying Don't feel ashamed about this

Michael Cirillo: 4:45

question Am I gonna know that pedal makes me go forward or backward

Patrice Banks: 4:50

given like the secret away and given away guys because I find they are too but they don't present themselves in that way or it's not something men are supposed to say right? You're like Yeah, I know about cars.

Michael Cirillo: 5:02

Sisters, I fortunately no brothers, they're like you can be vulnerable. And yeah, think

Patrice Banks: 5:07

about cars. Yeah, they probably may even know more.

Michael Cirillo: 5:11

And if you do pretend we're gonna hit you over the head with.

Patrice Banks: 5:13

No, it's interesting as we get a lot of men that come the people say, you know, do you have male customers? Absolutely right. Even we've had men come to the workshop because they want to know, right, they want to learn about their cars. And just the the days of having like, you know, the shade tree mechanic or just being able to work on your own car is really limited. So a lot of men don't understand the basic knowledge. I call it like, turn the key and go, right. That's all we really know about cars. And they don't know basic things like how to change a tire or even put an air in your tire, checking your oil, right? What does it mean if a dashboard light comes on? And how do I decipher that? I actually had a girl called them emojis a dashboard emoji and now I'm gonna start calling them emojis. I love that she sent my old James emoji came on the other day.

Michael Cirillo: 5:56

Awesome generational two. Gentlemen, we're gonna start. I have two things based on what you've been talking about. Yeah. Questions for you. One's kind of the easy one. You said the word mechanic several times? Yes. And I kind of think I know where you might go with the answer. But in an industry that's like, how dare they say mechanic, we are technicians. But I also heard you say engineer on the other side of that, yeah. What's your thought process around that? Like, should we even be caring so much about the semantics of mechanic

Patrice Banks: 6:23

No, just like SEO or titles, right? title doesn't matter. What you do, what you produce, what your skills are, whether you call them a mechanic or not, I use mechanic because again, you want to meet people at their level. And a lot of people in this country, if you say I'm a technician, that could mean a ton of things. Even when you sit down tool hygiene or Yeah, right. And then you say, auto technician, and people will like, Oh, what is that? And what really is a technician? And is there a difference between a technician and a mechanic? Right? You know, I don't know. But I know that if I'm talking to people on I say, mechanic, they're thinking auto mechanic. If I say, technician, they're not thinking that. So it's just being able to talk to people at their level, it has a lot to do with it. I don't care if you're like, we're supposed to be calling them technicians, because that's what's going to help people become technicians. No, it's not. No, it

Michael Cirillo: 7:08

may be your website would also rank higher if you just leaned into the whole mechanics.

Patrice Banks: 7:12

Well, and and leaned in the just people where they're at and saying, Well, we want people to be technicians. And I get maybe they're saying that because I do believe that automotive technology is a part of that tn stem. But when we talk about STEM, we usually mean engineering, right? And tech is like coding, it's like the Facebook people, right? The software, the SAS stuff, is not people who work on machines, right? Because a technician is like, it could be an Electrical Technician or somebody that's like, you know, working on computers or other even small engines or small machines. So it does have a really like broad meaning where I don't think mechanic does so yeah, I'm gonna call him mechanic. And so I I want to, and now I'm gonna call him she can't, because I'll come up with my own name. Yes, exactly. Because name doesn't matter. Right. Ultimately,

Michael Cirillo: 7:59

I love how you phrase that. The second question is, the the brilliance of what you've done here, in my opinion, is the the market segmentation of it. You started here with this segment and just drew in a community. But now you're saying, oh, there's people that were, you know, I don't want to call them off segment. But for lack of better words, there off my original segment of empowering women that we have, we have men coming in and we have I want to maybe speak to the brilliance of the the marketing behind that. Because I think so often in our industry, we are too afraid to segment because we're like, but we want everyone improving. Yeah, well, I can start here, but actually, people are gonna decide for themselves. Yes.

Patrice Banks: 8:40

It's actually a great question. And I think it's actually harder to market to such a large audience because we are becoming such a global economy. sure that it you, you're not going to, you're going to cast this wide net, but you're not going to get as much engagement or feedback, right. It's now about smaller communities and micro communities, and how you can market to these communities to reach them, because they're looking for real organic engagement. They don't want ads from this big company. They want the micro influencer that they follow on Instagram. That's the person that they trust now, right? So it's important moving forward as a business big or small that you're finding these communities, or you're creating these communities, and then you're going to market to them. And a lot of times they are niche. Now we have a niche community with women. And the thing about empowering women is its intersectionality. So we're finding that the LGBT community is now like, they want to come work for us. They want to come support us because now they have a space that's safe, but also minorities and black and brown people because you don't see a lot of black and brown people as owners in the automotive industry, and they're coming and want to work for us because they feel like it's a safe space. Right? And so, if you have a niche, right and you're finding that audience, you can it's not even just about pivoting It's providing something that people need. And I, as a woman saw that women needed this. But as you start providing things that people need, it opens it up to other people's needs, and you're open to so many other communities or audiences that you didn't see. Right. And so I think it is important to, to kind of start out small to find a community to find a niche, and then grow it from there, because it's gonna, you're gonna get organic, you're gonna find like, my she can a community 15,000 women, these are my true fans, right? They follow me wherever I go, they're gonna buy whatever I say, right? And then you expand that. And ultimately, I believe, like, for businesses to be successful, you just need your 1000 true fans, right? And you and they're going to talk about you and they're going to help share and get your information out. Right. So that's what we did. And now our marketing is word of mouth. And we don't even need to do ads. You know, people are hearing about us everywhere. Yep.

Michael Cirillo: 10:55

Yeah. You know, it's brilliant. You you have business for years and years and years to come. Because you built a community.

Patrice Banks: 11:00

Yep, exactly. And I was, nobody saw that, right. Like when I first started out, I'm telling people in my car care workshops, they are extremely popular women will travel from all around the country to come. I've had women drive from Atlanta from Toronto to attend these workshops, right, because they're just extremely popular. But when I first started doing them in 2013, two women would show up, right? And then I do on the next month, and maybe three women would show up, but I never stopped doing it every single month. And now they sell right? That's exactly and now they sell out and now women are like how can we get it here? And businesses are like how can we have you come to a workshop and I'm training other women to host my workshops now so we can reach more women. Right, so

Michael Cirillo: 11:43

awesome. This is so awesome. Patrice Banks thanks so much for joining me how can we keep listening or watching get in touch with you learn more about your brand?

Patrice Banks: 11:49

Yeah, yeah, well obviously can go to our website girls auto And follow us on all of our social media all of its at girls auto clinic, we're on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, we do have a YouTube channel. But if you are a woman and you're on Facebook, please join our she Canna community. It is a closed group with just women and women mechanics. You go in there, ask questions about your car, get buyer beware, you know we share memes, everything. It's women redefining the automotive industry in our own terms. We don't really need the guys for this help, right? We're sharing. We're growing and we're learning together. So join and be a part of it. You'll be blown away. Thank you. All right.

Paul Daly: 12:30

Thank you for listening to this a so to concession by effective if you want more content like this, you can check out our other podcasts we have a daily show called The automotive troublemaker Monday through Friday. Here on podcasts also live streamed on YouTube, and LinkedIn and Facebook. We also have a long form podcast called Auto collapse, auto collapse. And if you just want to go a little deeper into this community, you should sign up for our regular email we put our heart and soul into it. You can get it for free by going to a We'll see you next time.

Get the daily email that makes reading the news actually enjoyable. Stay informed and entertained, for free.