Gender Vender

vending machine pop-up and box project advocating for the stories of Seattle women business-owners

what I did lead web development
tech/tools Vue.js Prismic Netlify TamperMonkey
timeframe 2020 - present

Project history

Gender Vender is a project to raise awareness in supporting local businesses run by women, sparking dialogue on gender inequality and enabling change. In 2018, it was originated as a design capstone project in University of Washington Bothell. Now in 2020, as more partners have joined, this project has extended beyond the vending machine pop-up on campus.

my role

My primary role is to collaborate with the team members to deliver a re-vamped web experience in 2.0 version that provides stories exploration, project information, product discovery and order request.

project background

Understanding that gender inequality still very much exists, the team's previous research has discovered that there are always donors seeking for ways to develop communities with causes they care about. There are ~13 million women-owned businesses in the U.S. and they’re growing at a rate of 5% every year. However, over 7.5 million small-businesses are at risk of closing due to challenges in scaling and growing in the rising trend of business digital transformation.

To narrow down the scope, the team started within our local women-owned business community. From the studies of millennial charity trend, we discovered the around 58% millennial women are more likely to participate in non-traditional giving forms and make purchase decisions with branding values that create meanings in the society.

How might we build a giving system that uplifts women-owned businesses and women support organizations in interactive and educational ways?

From amplifying stories to giving

We partnered with Seattle's local women business owners. We created an interactive giving system starring their products. The supporters "buy" these products through vending machine or boxes, however, 100% of the sales were donated to the Pacific Science Center Girls & Women Breaking Down Barriers in STEM non-profit.

From vending machine to curated boxes

In the beginning of 2020, the team was funded by Seattle Pacific Science Center to feature the vending machine pop-up. When the COVID-19 restrictions started, we faced a challenge where the vending machine pop-up was not feasible. After more preparations, we pivoted from vending machine to curated boxes, same goal, different form.


In early 2020, the website needed a re-vamp for project phase 2 as more business owners partnered up with Gender Vender. Some of the challenges we faced include:

1. The v1 website was not collaboration-friendly for non-dev team members. The hard-coded content made parallel workflows difficult (content creation vs. web development).

2. As the project expands, the website needs a scalable way to publish and display partner stories.

3. With the amount of time we have, how do we integrate a way of placing orders without security risks?


I built the website in Vue.js and Prismic that allows parallel workflows for more efficient team collaboration. The front end was set up with consistently styled layout templates, which allows other team members to design, create and modify content without the need of code change. This creates a more scalable way to publish future content.

Without implementing payment services directly on the website, we decided to collect payments through common payment services such as Paypal and Venmo. We simply wired up the order requests data from the website to our cloud documents.


In 2020, with different launch events (website, social media and partner supports), we sold 51 boxes since the boxes and raised a total of over $4000 by the end of the year.