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Arlingtonian starts company to connect ‘handywomen’ with women homeowners

Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow, Startup Monday is a weekly column that highlights Arlington-based startups, founders, and local tech news. Monday Properties is proudly featuring 1515 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn. 

Arlingtonian Akilah Beavers is all about empowering women in their own homes.

She envisions a future where more women pursue careers as independent “handywomen” and even those not pursuing such work professionally feel better able to replace toilet tank parts and install new backsplashes themselves — rather than leaving these projects to a husband, boyfriend or contractor.

After seven years of planning, last year Beavers founded My Favorite Fixer, handy service and home repair referral center, to realize both these goals. She says she hopes most of her service providers will be women, but finding enough of them is a tall order.

“I am doing my best to recruit more women,” she tells ARLnow. “It’s easier for me to, of course, recruit men but that’s not my goal.”

Right now, she is visiting local high schools and trade schools to find women who are handy with tools or who want to be. She is offering a scholarship to help them buy books and pay for tuition to attend area career and technical schools.

“It’s really frustrating that there are so few women in the field,” she said.

She sees this field as an empowering one, especially for mothers, students or anyone else who wants to work for themselves and not work a 9-5 job. The lack of representation, meanwhile, can be a potential safety issue.

Akilah Beavers, the founder of My Favorite Fixer (courtesy photo)

Beavers got the idea for My Favorite Fixer after experiencing an unwanted sexual advance from a foreman in her former home in Orlando, about seven years ago.

“He was on my body,” she recalled. “It was such an uncomfortable position.”

Luckily, a friend happened to call her, which gave her a way out. The experience also gave her new resolve.

“I don’t want another woman to feel like she can’t be in her own home without being creeped out or feeling less than safe,” she said.

Women should not have to take extra precautions — such as opening doors, calling friends or going into a different room — to feel comfortable, Beavers said. For this reason, My Favorite Fixer checks potential handy people for a history of violent crime or robbery in addition to good quality work and customer service.

Ultimately, she wants to see more women take on projects for themselves, too. My Favorite Fixer will kick off a series of free classes this June for women on “the basic stuff” like changing toilet tank parts, doing preventative maintenance, gardening and changing a kitchen backsplash.

My Favorite Fixer logo (courtesy photo)

My Favorite Fixer is a side-hustle seven years in the making.

“I have learned to trust the process and everything is not going to happen overnight,” she said. “I’m just learning to trust the process, listen to customers — the ones I’m developing relationships with — to see what their needs are and listen to other entrepreneurs.”

Beavers credits Arlington Economic Development for helping her stand up a website, provide advice and help her establish a business plan.

“I have to give a shout out to [Small Business Manager Alex Held],” she said. “He really believed in me… He’s always there to point me in the right direction.”

This year, she aims to get her name out there, recruit more contractors and find more “future fixers” to take advantage of her scholarship.

“It’s my passion,” she said.

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