By Ryan Velez
While it may not be an issue that comes to mind often, women are extremely underrepresented when it comes to the fields of tires and auto maintenance. Two twin sisters are trying to change this perception. Marcia Pruitte-Coleman and Marla Pruitte are the co-founders of Pink Rubber Tires, and fresh off of pitching their business on Steve Harvey’s Funderdome.The two sat down with Black Enterprise to discuss their business as well as the show appearance.
When it comes to their intentions, Marcia and Marla see this opportunity as something much more than just selling tires. “We are always passionate about meeting a need, especially for women. They say necessity is the mother of invention, so our goal is not to simply open a tire shop, but to enter into a male-dominated industry serving a market that has been historically under-represented, tear down barriers for women and shatter the concept of the glass ceiling. We plan to show the world that we have what it takes as much as any man. Being women and mothers, we know the importance of helping others make it. This is about empowering other women; it is a movement!” they say. Buying used tires can save as much as $100 dollars, which can mean a great deal when you consider that some mechanics try to charge women more, assuming they know nothing about cars.
On Funderdome, Marcia and Marla managed to get $10,000, and while they mentioned that they were a little nervous early on, they did their due preparation and managed to come up big when it mattered. On top of the money, the two said the experience provided other rewards. “We learned that our idea is not only viable, but based on the serious response, there are many who are interested in making history in the automotive industry with us. The number of people that bought into our business concept, both men and women, and are interested in franchising is overwhelming and exciting. We learned that the world is ready for us and this is substantiated by research in the market regarding women and tire purchases. Women are truly an underserved market. We are committed to providing a top-notch product.”
Fast forwarding to the current day, the two still have plans to grow their business in 2017, and are currently dealing with some major interest. “Since the show, we have had to update our business plan and investor pitch as we currently have several serious investors interested. We are projecting a first-quarter opening and want to set a precedent for future franchises. The idea that we will be creating more women entrepreneurs empowers us and pushes us to make this a reality sooner rather than later. This is bigger than just the Pruitte twins.”